From WordPress to Laravel with Zuzana Kunckova

In this episode, I talk to Zuzana Kunckova of Larabelles about moving from WordPress to Laravel. Zuzana is doing some really amazing community work with underrepresented developers in Laravel. Listen in to hear about some of the differences between WordPress and Laravel.

In this episode, I talk to Zuzana Kunckova of Larabelles about moving from WordPress to Laravel. Zuzana is doing some really amazing community work with underrepresented developers in Laravel. Listen in to hear about some of the differences between WordPress and Laravel.

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Transcript of this episode (automatically generated)

Today, I'm really excited to welcome Zuzana Kunckova onto the show. Zuzana is most known for her incredible work with underrepresented developers within the Laravel community through Larabelles. However, she does have a background in WordPress development and today Zuzana and I are going to talk about what it's like to move from WordPress and into Laravel.
You can find Zuzana on Twitter at zuzana_kunckova. And I strongly encourage you to check out Zuzana's project larabelles.com. Before we begin the episode, I want to tell you a bit about branch. Branch is my business, and the sponsor of this podcast. It's the simplest way to set up automated deployments for your WordPress sites.
We've got your back with the recipes for all the common workflows that WordPress developers need making it super easy and fun, honestly, to build out your deployment pipelines. It's continuous integration and deployment without the learning curve. And it's free to get started. So go check it out. And if you open up the live chat widget and identify yourself as a listener of this podcast, we'll double the amount of free deployments on your account. 
Yep. Twice as many deployments without paying. You can sign up for free on branchci.com. I started this episode by asking Zuzana to take us back to when she first discovered Laravel. Okay. So that was about two years ago. So back then I was working for a digital agency and it was mainly WordPress jobs, but they also had, I think, a couple of bigger Laravel based projects.
So I was doing my, the WordPress side of things, but I got a chance to look into another little project at that point. I knew nothing about Laravel. I mean, I only knew WordPress and I knew it's a bit of JavaScript, but I didn't even know what a lot of it was. So I bought the Laravel up and running book and I started reading that and I watched a few YouTube tutorials.
I knew about Lara cars, but for me back then, it assumed too much previous knowledge for me, Lara, because at the beginning it just wasn't the right fit. So that's how I found out about a lot of it. Like I was taught. Larva is a framework is PHP framework, and this is our project. And do you want to try to.
Do this feature for us. I was like, well, okay. I can try. And yeah. Took it from there. I mean, it wasn't easy because it was so different than anything I knew because I didn't know any other, I don't even know chelas good frameworks or personal frame. I didn't know any backend frameworks, so I didn't learn well.
So for me, everything was. That's really interesting, actually. So I'm created a poll on Twitter or recently where I asked among like my followers that are WordPress agencies or freelancers. How many of them also do other kinds of projects besides WordPress? And one of the options were larval and almost 50% of the people who answered that survey.
And I think it was about 200 people answered that they were also doing level projects. So I think. It's a really big trend. I'm seeing where agencies aren't exclusive WordPress agencies, like they're taking advantage of some of the other newer frameworks that are around. Do you have any sort of idea about why some projects were liable and not WordPress?
Like what was the difference between those projects? I think it was the size. I mean, you can build anything with WordPress pretty much, but if you do want to go. Baker gala, you use a lot more plugins and you will have to do so much customization that at that point, you might as well just do it in Laravel instead of trying to use WordPress for something that was not intended to in the first place.
I mean, you can do, I think pretty much everything in WordPress, but. The question is, should you use WordPress? So I think, uh, once you have a bigger project, when you want some sort of dashboard for the client admin, I mean, yes, we also have WordPress, but WordPress has a look. It has a certain style and the way they do things, and yes, you can customize it slightly, but not too much, not enough.
So if you want to have anything more custom, but you might want to reconsider whether using WordPress sister, right. Choice. Yeah. One of the things I've kind of like experienced, if you would try to do a really big project with WordPress, either, as you said, like you're just stringing it together with a lot of plugins and like, you just hope that they are good plugins.
They're maintained well kind of like crafted, but then like it ends up at as almost like a vanilla PHP project then like, if you really try to customize stuff, like you have to go really bare bones anyway. And it's kind of like start from scratch. You have to see that different tools are right for different kinds of projects, especially with WordPress.
It's important to keep that in mind, because I think work best became known as the tool to do everything with, but good to sometimes stop and thing. Should you really use it? Yeah. Okay. So you, you discovered Laravel and you mentioned Matt Stauffer's book, right? Laravel up and running. What was your firsthand experience?
How did you think about it? Like once you kind of like started getting your feet wet and tried adding some features. And I was like, Oh, it's so many files and folders. What do I do for that? I still remember the first time I got Laravel running on my back then windows machine. So I installed valet, which again, wasn't straightforward to use on windows and what's Valley ballet is the local development for level.
So that's up. So it's quite, once you have it installed, it's really easy. You just install, you know, a lot of a project and then it just works. You can have like a local security, so you can run negative BS websites locally. You can share your mess a lot to do with Valley. I didn't do it the easy way. I just thought, Oh, everyone's using valet.
Let me try to that too. What? I didn't realize that while I was meant for Mac OS while I was a windows computer. So yeah, but I've got it working at the end. First thing was like, Where does everything go? There's so many directories and I didn't understand what they meant. And that was still me looking at the vanilla Laravel installation with no changes to it.
So my initial feeling was like, there's so much, I don't know what to do. Kind of the philosophy behind. Laravel and WordPress are quite different. Like WordPress is a CMS and Laravel is I think most people call it an MVP framework, like model view controller. So it's just a different architecture. So did you have to like step back and kind of like understand the idea behind it or the architecture, or it was so different from WordPress because WordPress, you don't have to.
Think about some of the things because they are done for you. I mean, you can, if he wants to, but a lot of the things like authentication, you don't have to worry about it and routes, you don't have to worry about it in Laravel. You still don't have to worry about it, but you are more involved. Like you need to make the decisions yourself.
And yeah. So when I started reading about  and VC came up, I was like, what is MV? So then I there's a lot of rabbit holes you can go down through when it comes to learning something like Laravel like a backend framework. I knew PHP, but I knew WordPress PHP. So while I knew what classes I would objects, where I didn't necessarily have to write a lot of it myself, I would.
Customize a lot of things, but, and I was making my own custom themes in Iowa. So I wasn't just like customizing existing theme. So I did do some PHP work, but in Laravel it was, you know, it's all PHP. So I had to learn what is object-oriented programming? What are the solid principles? What is interface and factories and single sentence and all these things that he didn't need to know about WordPress work.
And especially for me, when I learned something, I need to know it well enough. To move on. I don't like to have just like the bank idea. I need to be able to explain it to myself at least. So yeah. I spend a lot of time looking into these fundamentals of PHB. The more I think about it. It's quite insane actually.
How many things you need to learn about like dependency, injection containers and serverless containers and like all of these concepts, like the more I think about it, like the more jargon and terminology there is, was all that covered in that book MedStar for road. I think most of it is, but I didn't read it from the beginning to the end.
So I started, but then the thing with reading a book, it's all very theoretical. And until you actually need something, need to implement something. At least in my case, I wouldn't understand. So when I read it, I understood perfectly, but give me a problem to solve. And I would be like, I don't know what to do.
So while I had the book, I then went back to YouTube videos and I did some YouTube tutorials and what those gave me, it was mainly just to build a, like a blog, you know, and create a course, a beta course, that sort of thing, but it gave me the bigger picture. And once I knew how things are supposed to work, then I couldn't go and digging into the other aspects and concepts that I didn't understand.
It's funny how a lot of the tutorials that when you're learning, Laravel actually teaches you how to build a basic blogging platform. Yeah. And not many take it further. Yeah. Once you do one, two, three of these tutorials and they'll say, okay, I know how to do a block. Now I know how to do that. Can you just teach me something else for a change so that I would appreciate if there were more tutorials, but not covering the basic stuff that you can find everywhere else or like to do up, you know?
And you learn from them. Like if you learn a view or react, every time you look into tutorials is how to build a, to do up. I don't want to build a two. Can you please show me another. Real life use case. Yeah. Do you remember what the first project was that you worked on with Merriville? So other than the one that agency, which I kind of joined, which was already up and running.
So when I started working on that one, they asked me to implement a log page. So it would be on the admin dashboard for the client to tell them whether we fix the bug or updated something or new features. So it was that sort of page. So I would say that was when I had to move on from just reading a book or watching tutorials to actually do something.
That sounds kind of complicated as the first project. If I could go now and look at it, what I would think. I don't know. Cause I was like over two years ago, so I don't know if I saw my work now, what I would think back then, I felt so accomplished. I mean, it took me a while, but if I could display the page that was like, wow, I had no idea.
I could do that. Like, you know, Everything I did in Laravel. I kept surprising myself that I could actually do this. Cause again, if I can compare it to WordPress, I never felt that way because in WordPress, you've got a dashboard and because a lot of the things are done for you. Like yeah, you prefer the themes and the design, but you don't necessarily do much with it.
Work best dashboard itself, but in Laravel if I wanted anything, I had to do myself. So every time I managed to display a page or display a new text or fetch some info from the database, it was like, wow, I did that. And I think that's what got me hooked on Laravel because it's such an amazing feeling when you can do something and you managed to make it work.
Yeah. I can definitely relate to that. For me. It was Ruby on rails. When I started learning MVC. And, um, all the tutorials back then there was like a Twitter copy. So that was it for me.
I'm really curious. You have a background in psychology and how do you go from psychology and into web development? Well, I'm not one of those prodigy kids that started coding when they were like 10 and that's not me at all. I was very uncomfortable on computers for a very long time. I mean, we didn't even have computer at home when I was growing up.
We didn't. So the first time I. Started using computer was when I got my first job when I was in my twenties. And even then it was really just to using the computer, you know, turn it on, turn it off. So then I studied psychology. I already had two kids at that point. So they were four and six when I finished my degree.
And when I tried to look for a job, I mean, I, I really loved working with people, but the jobs were not flexible at all for me, for what I needed back then, because I needed to be flexible to be around the kids with the kids. You know, kids often ill and they have school performances and our holidays, a lot of holidays.
And my husband used to travel for work a lot. So it was mainly me being around the kids or having to be there for the kids. So when I finished my psychology degree, I actually ended up working in the school as a teaching assistant for like special needs children. But I knew that that's not what I wanted to do forever.
So I sat down and I look genuinely, honestly opened up the computer and I sit down and I Googled things you can do from home and web design and web development kept coming up. And my husband he's a social engineer. So I mean, I knew he was doing something on a computer or at work, but that's as much as I knew about his work.
And he told me like, why don't you try, you know, make a website? I was like, ah, I wasn't into design. I wasn't into computers. But yeah, I thought I try. And, you know, I think it was mainly beginner's luck that the first website I did, I used to bootstrap. I didn't even use WordPress. So I used bootstrap. We did the hosting, everything ourselves.
Certainly we bought the hosting domain. So, but we didn't use WordPress with a lot of, but things and as it goes, beginner's luck, it all worked. And I was like, Oh, that's not that hard at all. I made the form work, everything worked. So, and I think that's the thing. We've about development. You've got like instant gratification in.
A lot of cases that if it works, it works immediately. You don't have to wait for things to, you know, like when you work with people, often the results. If you're working with the children or adults, the results are not immediate. It's a long process, but on the web you do something right. And it just works.
And I was like, Ooh, okay. Maybe I can do it. And that's how it started. I just sat down at home and I started learning. That is really cool. You're right. Like the feedback loop is very short and then you discovered WordPress somehow and you realized you were doing work. You didn't need to do. Yeah. So most of the things like anything I did.
As a book developer, a lot of it was sold out. So like, I didn't, I happen to do WordPress because I knew that was work in WordPress. If I wanted to work remotely or flexibly. And I looked online. Yes, there's lots of web developer jobs and offices, but if you want it to be a fiance or flexible, it was always WordPress.
So at that point I decided, okay, I need to learn WordPress. So it wasn't because my website was based on where personal it was. Again, me looking, what can I possibly do? To provide for my family, for my kids that will still allow me to be there for them. And it all went from there. Really. That's great. So did you start out as a freelancer or did you find a job instantly as like a WordPress developer or so at that point I had my third child and he was a baby.
So I did a lot of things. I did lots of online courses and I did you just set a course? I think it was called mobile web specialist. So it was one of those courses that was funded by Google. So I got a scholarship for it, and I did the course. Anyone can do dusty courses, or I dunno if it hasn't changed since then, because that was like three years ago.
But back then anyone could do it for free. But if you wanted to get a feedback on your code and you would have to either pay or get a scholarship, so I got a scholarship didn't have to pay. But at that point I felt like, well, maybe it's not just me playing via the computer in the evenings. Maybe I can actually do something with it because I was getting feedback.
From somebody else. And I had assignments I had to do and things I had to build. Um, at that point, I think it was winter time and I decided. That I wanted to go out and meet other developers. Because up until that point, I was still just at home doing everything from home. I didn't meet anyone. I went, I checked out a meetup website and looked for some local meetup groups and there was WordPress group and there was WordPress and it was also JavaScript and PHP, but the WordPress group was on the right day for me.
So it was Monday evenings. It wasn't too big. It wasn't too small. And the topics like the past meetups. They seemed understandable to me. So it wasn't like completely something I didn't understand. So I decided to go to one and I think that was what kind of pushed me to think about myself as a web developer, because then I was at a meetup with other people and they ask you to introduce yourself so I could have just said.
Hi, I'm Susanna. I'm just visiting. Or I could say I'm Susanna, I'm a web developer. So the first few times I said that I felt like a fraud because of, I'm not a web developer, I'm a hobbyist at the best, because I don't have a job. I don't, you know, but if you say it often enough, you start kind of believing it.
And because of the psychology, I was really interested in web accessibility. So about three months later, I offered to do a talk and that word me subsided that web accessibility talk enough to death. Talk. I was approached by who ended up to be my boss. So this guy was sitting in an audience and he saw me give this talk.
And then he came to me. He said, well, I've got this agency, which would like to work for us. And that's how I got my first job as the WordPress developers. At that point, I didn't even do any WordPress work. I installed WordPress locally and I did some, you know, bits and pieces at home. That's a great story.
And I think it just underscores how important all the small WordPress meetups around the world are. Like it could be life changing potentially. I used to go to the WordPress meetup in Glasgow, and I think there's some of the same similar stories I heard from there. And it's just really a good way to get involved.
Like if you're interested in getting involved with the community, like fairly simple thing you can do is like getting involved with the meetup and the could have a big impact. It definitely did for me, because the hardest is to get your first job, because you've had nothing to show for your skills and he offered me the job.
Based on my talk only. So that was amazing. That's really cool. So now you're a WordPress developer and then you worked on WordPress for a couple of years or not that long. First I started working for them as a freelancer. Then I got employed. So I worked with this agency for. A year, something like that, then I was employed by them.
And even though it was part-time and pod remotes, I didn't have to be in the office every day, but I still had to be in the office. And even when I was working from home, I had to be at my desk at a certain time. And I still found that really difficult to deal with, like when it comes to the kids, the other thing is I kept feeling guilty.
So if I was working at home, I was like, I should really be with the case. And when I was with the case, I was like, I should really be working. So I made a decision to go properly freelance because at that point I had some experience with WordPress and the Laravel. Like I said, I am feeling guilty. I felt I couldn't give the job everything it deserved.
And I thought, I don't want to work like that. Like if I do something I want to do properly, and that sets such as didn't work for me. So I decided to go freelance. I have to say it was a split of a moment decision. And I do not recommend it to anyone because I be able to say, you know, before you go freelance, you need to have some clients and you need to have some income while I had nothing.
I just decided, you know what, I'm going to go freelance. And it goes, when I left, we left on good terms. It wasn't any bad blood. Like we asked her in touch and I just told him, look, I need to try to do myself. And if it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. So from January, 2019, I went freelance just before the global pandemic hit.
Yeah, it was interesting because most of the work I got was thanks to the people I met at the meetup. So again, what you said about how networking is really important, because basically all my jobs as a freelancer, I got either word of mouth or because I met somebody at the meetup or, you know, somebody to meet some new somebody, you know, so that's how I got all my work.
Have you ever gone to a larval meetup that isn't any around here? And I think there's before the pandemic, there was one Laravel conference in London was quite expensive. So I would have to probably go to London and then the tickets are never really thanks to the pandemic. Now we can take parts in the online ones, which is amazing, but I've been sort of word camps in London.
I went to two or three of them. Can't remember, but so these are great. These are like, you know, weekend things from Friday to Sunday and they are really affordable and you meet a lot of people. So I went to that. I haven't been to learn about one. I'm realizing now that, cause I was thinking like, what are actionable tips that we could give people who wanted to move from WordPress and intolerable and with your experience and the experience from my Twitter poll.
Like, it just sounds like the way to do it is to get a job with an agency that does both work prison level. And then you can see if you can sneak in on some of the level of projects, if you want to get your feet wet. I mean, they asked me what I prefer, but I prefer working with  and I said, I just like Laravel, but I know I was much slower in lava because there was so much more I had to learn.
But from the beginning, I just prefer Laravel and I can't, I don't know why, because it's not like I had something to compare it to. I didn't work this. I didn't know any other frameworks. Yeah, you're right. Like there's a lot to learn and I kind of wanted to talk a bit about some of the technical differences between Laravel and WordPress and it's like technical.
Differences. I almost want to say like technical barriers because WordPress is like always been famous for its five minute install, you know, like you just click, click, click, and then you have a WordPress site somewhere and that's not the experience with terrible. Um, so like the first thing that comes to my mind is composer understanding like command line stuff and compose, you must've run into that at some point I've been like, what is this thing?
And like, why do I need it? And what does it do? Compost and not so much, because at that point I knew about NPM composers, pretty much, you know, the PHP version of NPM. So I knew what MPM did, what it stood for and how it works. So I didn't find composer difficult at all. I think the first time I used NPM was like, so I'm supposed to use all these packages, like built by somebody else.
And what if these people are not good people like, you know, even to this day, I still think that we are, most of the web is built on. Work with somebody else that you don't even know who they are and hope for the best, pretty much, right. That's a good point. Another big difference is something that we already mentioned, which is desirable.
Like there's not an admin dashboard, like there's an WordPress. Yeah. So it's more of a blank slate, right? Yeah. You mentioned you worked in some dashboard with , so kind of like the thing is you have to build your own, right. Or you use a package or something like that. Yeah. I think the big difference that I noticed as a WordPress developer, you have a choice.
You can be. As technical as you want, or you don't have to be technical at all. You can still be a WordPress developer and all you can do is customize the dashboard and tick the boxes and install themes and plugins. You know, that requires skills and knowledge as well. Or you can then customize existing themes and then you can go and build your own, but it's your choice.
You have a choice. How deep you want to go, but Laravel, there is no choice. You have to do it all pretty much. If you want to be a lower level. But I think still the easiest way is to start with WordPress because WordPress, you do build your knowledge gradually, but in Laravel you just jump in and then you have to make it work.
And it's not easy because you have some of the things you have to think about, but also does some of the things you don't know. You don't know. And I think that was what tripped me up many times because like, how do I know things that I'm supposed to do when I don't even know about them? And there is no checklist, like, make sure you do this then that, so that was definitely a barrier to entry to Laravel development.
I have to say, yeah, you're right. Like with WordPress, I keep saying WordPress is the original, no code tool because you can just throw plugins together and pick a theme and customize it, but you're right. Like then you can slowly start to like, like you could create a child theme. If you want to like start coding a bit more, or you could create a pocket in for a simple use case for something.
And then you can start to do more coding. That's a good point. Like you could. Gradually like move in. And then when you feel like you're writing too much code, or it gets too complicated, like maybe that's a good time to try to see, like how hard would it be to build this and marvelous that at least in my experience, like if you decide to actually do the coding and write a lot of code, like you get a lot of help with level that you don't get with WordPress.
That's another thing, like a difference between WordPress and larval, I think is WordPress really is created for the end user, right? Like the user experience was focused on someone who locks into the dashboard and edits content, right. Because it's a content management system. Whereas with Laravel the whole entire focus when it comes to usability is for the developer.
So it's the developer experience. So I know WordPress is kind of like trying to focus on developer experience, but it's the other way around, like it's first, the end user and then think about the developer and like try to make it available. But if with Laravel there's no end user, at least not from like a larval perspective.
That's true. Now I'm starting to appreciate how good Lorimar is for developers. Because again, if you don't know, you don't know, you've got nothing to compare it to, but the more I work with now that I am comfortable in Laravel, I'm starting to see how other frameworks do stuff. So that's, at this point I can compare and contrast, see how lava makes things easier.
I saw on your Twitter stream that you were playing around with staff to make us well, which actually is a CMS, but it's terrible based. Yeah. What's your experience been like with a  based CMS? It's interesting because I'm much more comfortable in the code base now, so I know where to find stuff. So it's easier for me.
If I was a new developer. I probably wouldn't go for statistic because I think that there's a lot of assumed knowledge you should have already, but as a Laravel developer, I chose that domain because until now liability websites are running on tick. So the static site generator generate the check. So by title, which is also like, Laravel kind of inspired so very similar, but I wanted to have some dashboards.
And yeah, I could have gone WordPress Bibles. I'm already working with Laravel. It's about Laravel Laravel Laravel, you know, I'm not going to go on a little bit purpose. So instead of building a brand new Laravel project, what is a step down like something that I don't need to do everything from scratch.
And then they start to make, which is perfect. Yeah. I still requires quite a lot of, not in my, maybe this is how I look at it now, because I've lost the understanding what it's like for somebody who's brand new to development. Maybe they would understand it. But I think I would struggle if I picked up stomach instead of WordPress as I was starting out.
I think I would struggle. Yeah. That makes sense. I think I agree with you on that one. So that's technical differences and there's a lot more like technical differences between the frameworks and I encourage people to just. Honestly, read through the level of documentation because it's really good. And it might just give you an idea at least like, it'll give you a list of new words.
You can try to see if you can understand, but I thought maybe we could talk a bit about like some of the human differences or like the community differences. And you mentioned that you had been part of some of the online level community. Events that have been going on, but you're also like have experience with a WordPress meetup.
Are you noticing any difference like in the community? Well, Lara document is much more technical because WordPress committee is more diverse. You can have all sorts of people in the WordPress community. You can have the designers and developers. And like I said, developers that do. Theme customization.
And then those that build plugins. So there is such a diversity and because workplace is so I don't want to say old mature that is, people have been working with it for very long time. People who've been working with it for how old is WordPress, 10 years. No, it's more, it's like 2003 or something like that.
And I think I've been using it for 14 years or something. Okay. So people who've been using it for a long time and people who are just beginning, you said the community is so diverse. Well in Laravel not so much, although Laravel is also humble is Laravel. I think it was. Built in, was it 20, 2012? Maybe the first one, but by the time it got popular, I feel like it's newer.
So you don't get a lot of our developers have been doing Laurel for 10 years. No. And it's funny when you see people try to recruit for like 10 years of, of experience. I love as not at all. Yeah. But so I think that's a big difference. Yeah. But the other thing is in Laravel I think the people are paying a lot of attention to what are people like, how people communicate.
There is a lot of people, they emphasize empathy, for example, and they want people to be kind. And if you are not kind devil, you know, try to talk to you and say, okay, this is not on. In general, it feels nice to be part of this community because it's so big and there's so many different people, plus like, I dunno, WordPress has a bad name.
I don't know why, but when you say to people, your WordPress developer now like a WordPress or a PHP, you know, I think you've been there. We've all been there. Yeah. I can't complain about workers coming community, because like I said, it gave me my first job and it helped me as I was learning. Cause the worker Slack channel, it's amazing.
Every time I had problem, you know, there's always people would help you out with a lot of it. There's also that press community. It does an amazing job. I think being more inclusive and being, but it's really hard to compare really. Just a nice community, as you mentioned, like it's a very big community, so it's almost like the world, you know, like I've seen, like people are wearing political statements that you maybe don't agree with at word camps and stuff like that, but it's just so big.
So it was just like a broad slice of the world because, uh, also like WordPress powers, like 38% of all websites, which is. Quite insane, but yeah, that's definitely something I've noticed. Like communities feels like a big part of WordPress, I guess just when I realized I even was a WordPress community, I kind of got sucked into it a bit and like really enjoyed going to word camps and stuff like that.
The one thing that a lot of elk meat doesn't have. I think it's the diversity, but I think it comes with time and exposure and, but size as you grow as a community, it's going to attract more people. Well, for us has already had done that because there is no shortage of women. Anyone who works in WordPress could be part of the community.
Yeah. And you were working on this. So let's talk about that because now you're saying there's no shortage of women, et cetera. It's not only women, but. Just underrepresented people. If you look at what the so-called Laravel elite, I think people refer to it. Like it's not super diverse, but you're working on a really cool project that I think everyone should check out their bells.
And how would you describe it? I briefly described it in the intro, I think. But how would you describe it? It's a community for, so I don't want to say underrepresented developers because that's so huge. And I wanted to really focus more on the gender. So for women and anyone who identifies as a woman, Laravel developers, because like you said, the level elite while they're all really nice kind people, they are mainly white men.
And I've noticed over the last few, uh, Laravel conferences, they've tried to bring more women there and it's amazing. And I think more work can be done. And I think a lot of the time it's because people don't know the women working with Laravel. I don't know that many, I know many, many men, but do I know many women?
Not really. And I don't think that's because they don't exist. I just don't think that we know about them. Yeah. I mean, I've been in the larva community for six or seven years, and I honestly don't know a lot of women and it's bad. So I definitely. Love the project that you're working on. And I think it's almost like a, would you say like is almost could become like a repository for like women in larva?
Like there's no excuse to say that you couldn't find women for your conference. Well, once we have this running, that would be next to your right. So that's the whole point. I mean, yeah. When I sat on Twitter that I'm going to launch Laura, some people wondered. Whether I'm not damaging the community because liberal community is really good.
And I think it's one of the selling points of Laravel that that community is so welcoming and big in a friendly, and I'm not saying it isn't at all. I'm just saying we can do more. And like as a woman, even at the WordPress meetup or any meetup, it doesn't as hell. Kind and friendly demand. Oh, if I am the only woman there, I'm going to feel a little bit out of place just because, I mean, it's important for the community to be kind and welcoming, but at the same time, we need to encourage more women to come forward and be public about their work, because that will bring other women forward.
And hopefully we will kind of level out the field. I'm not asking to have like 50, 50% representation of 50% men, 50% women. I'm not asking for that. I'm trying to make it. Easier for women to be hurt and known about. So that's the whole point. I'm not trying to cause a revolution. And I'm not saying that the line of argument is bad.
It isn't, I'm just trying to make it even better. Yeah. I think that's what a lot of people misunderstood when you launched it. Like you can always improve and like, just because you want to improve something, it doesn't mean that you're saying it's bad necessarily. It just means that you care. I guess like, I mean, in WordPress we have these sort of.
Communities, I think at least there's more of it. And then there is in Laravel. So like, you could also just ignore it the Laravel community, but instead you choose to make a really meaningful contribution, which I think is great. We'll see how it goes. So when you mentioned like to have like a repository of women, that's what I'm working on currently and trying to involve as of next newsletter, I'm going to be featuring Laura Bellis.
So allowable member in each newsletter, one or two, I haven't decided yet just to. Let people know about us. And just me asking him on Twitter, if anyone knows about an era of us to be featured, I've already bet so many fantastic people that I didn't know about and I'm trying to find them. And then if you see companies looking for employees, level developers, then they'll have a list of women that they can approach.
And not just for jobs, for conferences, for me, it's as for anyone just to, yeah. So how's it. How's it going so far? So, um, Taking it slowly on purpose. Cause when I launched, I had no idea what caused such an uproar. I thought I was going to be grateful for a few lakes and a few comments, but I mean, the response was amazing at that point I was like, Oh no, I have to finish it.
And I have to launch it immediately because yesterday was too late. But I was like, no, this is a community. It's not a product that you want to launch and everything to be perfect. This is a community it's about people. So I am taking it slowly. So we currently have. A Twitter account that I think is already working quite well.
It's active. So we've done a few giveaways and we going to do more. If I hear about a woman that does something, I want to retweet her tweets or projects. And the other thing I have is monthly newsletter. I've sent out two so far and it was mainly about what's going on. So I'm building Larabars in public.
I decided to do it in public because again, it's not a product that needs to be. Close behind closed doors. No, I want people to know what I'm doing and how it's going. Cause I haven't built a community before. I don't know what I'm doing really. And there is no manual online to tell you to build a community of sort of this and that.
No. So I'm going to make mistakes. I'm learning, but it's all about people and it's already working. I mean, if it didn't the first week or two, I had a lady contact me saying that she actually got a job. Straight away that the company was hiring. They said they agree with Laura Bell's ideas. And they wanted somebody from like late woman Laravel developer.
So she got a job and she sent me an email saying like, thank you. And that was for me. But at that point I didn't even do a newsletter. I only had a Twitter account and it was my restless tweet that went out and it already made a difference. If that's all it debts, I'll be happy already because that changed somebody's life.
Oh yeah, totally. I want to offer a piece of advice here for listeners. Like if you're a WordPress developer and you're thinking about moving into the world of Laravel and trying out that yeah. And you fit into the sort of profile for Lara bell, maybe that would be a good entry community because they will be in the larval space, a community waiting for you like an inclusive space.
So instead of just like landing in the middle of. Whatever, like fight that's going on on get hub or Twitter, like look up layer bells. And maybe that's like a way to get into of could be a good idea. I'm hoping for it to be a safe space. Like there's no pressure is no membership. You know, you don't have to pay anyone.
It's just, just getting touch. And we are still in the early days. So now I'm working on the website, which will feature Laura bells. All the ladies and anyone who would like to be featured, but the other plants I have is pet programming, mentoring. So I had people approach me saying, okay, I'm not a developer, but I would like to offer mentoring, like management sessions, anything like if I can help.
I will. Why not? So as long as it's a little bit connected to larva. Yeah. I have to be careful. I try not to focus on two big group of people. I'm trying to be really focused on Laravel and women. And I went, who identifies as women because otherwise it would go too big and too crazy. And plus that already groups that do like women who code and then four pipes and jungle girls.
And for Ruby on rails, I think there are rail. Real life stuff. I think most of the frameworks have communities for women, which is, I was surprised that there wasn't one for Lauraville. Yeah, really. So two things, is there any way people can get involved with layer bells or help out with that? And if people in general are interested in kind of exploring Laravel, do you have any practical advice for where they should start or where they should look?
Yeah. So to get involved with Lara Bellis right now, It's mainly Twitter, but I'm going to be opening discord channel that's actually, which is just so for somebody to help me, because I will need moderators. I can't do it all. So I have my own job. So I do a lot of belts on the side, so I can't do everything myself.
So once I do open the discussion, I will need somebody to help me moderate it. But right now you can send me an email. You can send me a DM item, my personal one, all are those one. And if there's something you can offer to the community, Whether it's product and you want to do a good way, or if it's your skills, if it's something like mentoring sessions, please get in touch.
Because once we have the website going, I think we'll give it more structure to learn about itself. Like there will be calendar and I will start running. Hopefully regular sessions, but right now it's just get in touch. Let me know you exist. And if you are Laura Bell and you would like to be featured, please get in touch.
Because even if you're not looking for work, even if you happy where you are, just let the world know that we exist. Because I think that's part of the problem. People don't know about us. Like you don't have to be looking for work. You don't need to be looking for conference talks. No, let's just let people know that we are here and we do our work.
And what was the second question? If people want to dip their toes into Laravel and they're coming from the WordPress world, do you have any ideas for where they should start? I noticed a lot of costs, but for me, when I started with Loma that it was too much, I didn't understand because I think a lot of the videos, they assume previous knowledge.
So for me, I know a lot of people are happy with it, but for me it was too much. So I just went and started looking on YouTube. And then there's also MedStar style, first project on ramp, which is again, helping people too. Become Laravel developers and he has three pathways. So it's for a WordPress developer and then it's one for new developer.
And what's the third one, I don't know, but there's definitely one for a junior developer and one for a WordPress developer trying to get into Laravel. So that will be a collection of resources. So that's called on ramp. We'll link, all of that. And that just get involved the community, because I think there's so many tons of people who share their knowledge freely online in videos and podcasts.
And once you get to know who to listen to, and then it's like, you know, you can start connecting the dots. So if you follow one person, then you'll see, Oh, this person follows. And then you're just kind of get involved with the community. And I think that's great because if you have questions like there, wasn't a question that.
I had that wasn't answered in a nice, friendly way.
I hope this conversation has inspired some folks to at least check out Laravel it's right there next to WordPress PHP. It's a different way of thinking in the architecture and stuff, but there's a lot to learn and. Yeah, I'll encourage people to check it out and, um, Zana, thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation.
And, uh, I really appreciate it. Thank you for having me. emos 
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