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Sean Kegel
Sean Kegel

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What I’m Reading - January 2024

RSS, Modular Laravel, React Complexity, Dev tooling, and Event Sourcing

We finally made it through January! It always seems like such a long month and it was a busy one for me. I’ve been working on a large project at work, freelancing, side projects, and this blog.

This is the first of my “What I’m Reading” posts that I hope to do monthly. This was inspired by some articles I read by Chris Coyier and Cassidy Williams about RSS feeds, personal blogs, and reading what you think is interesting or what other humans think is interesting versus what the social media algorithms want you to read. So with that, let’s get started!

RSS and Blogging

I’ve been an avid RSS user since the time of Google Reader. After that was shut down, I moved to Feedly, and then on and on and on. I now use Readwise Reader which I have been enjoying quite a bit for both RSS feeds, read later, and combining it with Readwise itself to track highlights. RSS feeds are still my preferred way of discovering new articles directly from the sources I follow. This is why I found the following articles interesting and hope they help lead to an RSS resurgence.

Please comment if you have any interesting RSS feeds you’d like to share.

Modular Laravel

This one was more of a watch than a read, but I found it extremely informative. It was a course on Laracasts about Modular Laravel by Mateus Guimarães.

Mateus does an excellent job talking about modularizing a Laravel application. After finishing the course, I want to build a simple Laravel package to create modules, but I know there are already a few of those and do I have the time to take something like that on?

Productivity and Maintainability

Speaking of not having time, I read an interesting article from Dave Rupert where he discusses having only one big project and one little project at a time and pushing everything else off to the side. It is an interesting idea for someone like me who has a lot of unfinished side projects lying around. I’ll be interested to see a follow-up and whether or not it worked.

Another Dave Rupert article I read was about how quickly a project can go south and end up with a lot of tech debt when trying to move too fast. He says:

a key factor of sustainability is making sure maintainability stays on par with growth

A fun read and it discusses the current trend of AI for everything.

If you’d like to hear more from Dave Rupert, he co-hosts the Shop Talk Show with Chris Coyier. I’ve been listening on and off for a few years now and always enjoy it.

React Complexity

Here’s another Cassidy Williams post. This time about React and how confusing it has become.

In the last year or so, I’ve been primarily focused on the backend in Laravel, but before that, I was doing quite a bit of React, and I enjoyed it but I always felt like it made it way too easy to get into a bad state with poor performance, too many re-renders, etc.

Recently, I’ve been working on a project using Vue 2 and it has been so refreshing. I’m not sure if I am enjoying it because I really like Vue or because I’ve been so focused on backend work. I have yet to work on a Vue 3 project. If you have worked with Vue 3, how do you compare it to React? Are you using the Options API or Composition API?

Dev Tooling

It’s hard to resist trying out shiny new tools as a developer and two I came across recently are the Helix editor and Aspen HTTP client.

Helix is a cool little terminal editor similar to Vim/Neovim but with a lot of helpful features built-in like LSP support. It’s nearly ready to go out of the box, you just need to install some LSP’s using npm. The keybindings are different from Vim, so that takes some time to get used to but they seem mostly straightforward. I am a PhpStorm user primarily but I like to work with other editors from time to time and getting Helix working was so much easier than my Neovim configuration using LazyVim, though some things are missing and Neovim is still a lot more flexible. As much as I want to like Helix, since I use Vim keybindings in all my editors, I likely won’t make the switch until I see Helix extensions in JetBrains, VSCode, etc.

With the recent changes from Insomnia, a lot of people have been looking at other HTTP clients. Insomnia is still my primary but I’ve been trying out Hoppscotch and using PhpStorm which you can read about in my post: Simplify API Testing with PhpStorm HTTP Requests. Aspen is fast and has a nice interface, but I can’t find anywhere to save variables and requests outside of the history it stores. It’s a good first start, but it will need some more before it can become my go-to HTTP client. However, I did recently see it can take the response to your request and turn it into a DTO for a variety of languages. This will save me a lot of time.

Event Sourcing

I have recently started diving into event sourcing. I haven’t actually done anything with it yet, but I am very intrigued. I started to look into it with the announcement of Verbs for Laravel by Chris Morrell and Daniel Coulbourne. Verbs isn’t quite ready for production usage yet and though it looks great, I decided to dive into a few other packages to start to learn more about it.

I can’t wait to try out event sourcing, even at a small scale. Have you used any of these packages or event sourcing in general? What do you think about it?

That’s a good chunk of my reading from January, I hope you found this informative and entertaining. Comment with any interesting links or RSS feeds you’ve come across lately. Thanks for reading!

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