•    Laracon EU 2017 is Announced 

    The Laracon EU has just announced the dates and early bird ticket pricing for the 2017 conference. This year it will be August 28th through the 30th and will continue its multi-track with training, talks, and networking.

    The first day will feature workshops and then the remaining two will be presentations that will bring your team up-to-date with technological changes and practices and provide ample social opportunities to enhance support and discovery networks. Another unique feature to this year’s event is the ability to design your own conference badge.

    Tickets are on sale now and if you purchase before February 28th the pricing is €349 which is €150 off the regular price. For more information check out the official site.

  •    Laravel Dusk Alpha Is Now Available For Testing 

    Laravel Dusk, the new end-to-end testing driver, coming to Laravel 5.4 is now available for Alpha Testing.

    Of course, people have wasted no time in starting to test it out and Bobby Bouwmann already has a sample app ready:

    You can download and start using it today. Just visit the repo for instructions.

  •    Finding Suitable Work: Landing the Job 

    Suitable is defined as “right or appropriate for a particular person, purpose or situation.” Suitable work means thinking about more than just skill level. It’s about the strengths you possess beyond the technical talent. How much communication is involved? Are you comfortable with that? Do you have to face clients or lead a team? Will you be performing in a group or working as a solo contributor?

    Suitable work as a software developer often means you must put more weight on the non-technical aspects of the job than the technical ones. To land the position that’s most suitable to your entire skillset, you must also consider where you are in your career and what managers need to see from you to hire you.

    Your Early-Career Job

    If you’re looking for your first or job as a dev, focus on the actual process of the code. Most companies don’t expect junior developers looking for their first or second job to be as proficient as someone with several years—or even one or two years—of experience. They want someone who is thinking the right way and willing to learn. To that end, smaller companies are going to focus more on the ability to learn and be taught. That’s why highlighting your thought process is so important.

    Most companies hiring junior developers expect to invest a decent amount of time into leveling them up. When you are doing your technical interview, walk through how you would solve the problem and explain why.. Don’t be too put off if you don’t know what the answer is; the hiring manager knows you’re a new dev. What they want to see is how you would solve the problem.  

    Another thing managers are going to take into account is your trajectory. We live in a time where people are more prone to job hop than to stay somewhere ten, or even five, years. Know what your goals are, and know how those align with the company you’re interviewing with short and long term. Most managers don’t expect employees to be with a company for the long-haul, but they do want to bring people on that have an idea of where they want to be in five, ten, fifteen years, and beyond. With that in mind, let’s talk about the manager job.

    Your Manager Job

    Being a manager requires more than just a great handle on the technical aspects of the work. To be a people manager, you need to know what your people are capable of and how to get those capabilities out of them. Before we get into the specifics of what makes a good manager, here’s a few stats I want to point out:

    • Companies fail at choosing the right talent for open positions 82 percent of the time (according to Gallup).
    • Only 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged at work (worldwide, that number drops to 13 percent).
    • About one in ten employees have what it takes to be a good manager.

    These numbers are important because they highlight how difficult it is to find a good manager; how hard it is to be a good manager; and how many actually have what it takes to manage people. Companies fail at choosing talent so often because managers have a difficult identifying potential employee’s strengths and their current employee’s weaknesses. Perhaps they can’t see those weaknesses because there is a high rate of disengagement. It’s also possible, though, they were promoted to a manager position and are part of the 90 percent who are ill-suited for it.  

    What do those ten percent have that the other 90 do not? How can you be a good manager? According to Gallup, great managers have the following talents:

    • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.
    • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
    • They create a culture of clear accountability.
    • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
    • They make decisions based on productivity, not politics.

    Notice that nowhere in those five traits does it say “be technically sound.” It’s obviously crucial to have a grasp on the technical work you’ll be overseeing. Great technical managers, though, know that the code is king. They need to be articulate and patient leaders. To land that job as a manager, you need to demonstrate those qualities.

    When you’re in the interview, emphasize your ability to build relationships and engage in open dialogue. Show that you are capable of motivating others to work together more efficiently and you aren’t afraid to confront conflict with compassion. Talking to people, especially when the conversations are difficult, is imperative to being a successful manager.

    You Can Be Successful as an Individual Contributor

    Maybe becoming a manager isn’t for you. Maybe you want to continue to climb the ladder, but don’t want to have direct reports. There is a huge misconception out there that you can’t be successful without leading a team of tens, hundreds, or thousands. Let’s debunk this right now: you can absolutely have a wildly successful career as an individual contributor.

    If you do choose this path, keep in mind the communication skills discussed in the post are still in play. You are going to have to talk to people. Often, they’ll be non-technical, and you’ll need to explain technical work and ideas. You’ll have to occasionally work with people which means you’ll need to be a good collaborator. Individual contributors need to work just as well with others as managers do.

    The main takeaway to finding suitable work is that it isn’t only about technical ability. You must be a well-rounded contributor and look for work suited to your strengths.  

  •    Laravel Uptime Monitor 

    The internet has become indispensable and the revenue source for a lot of people. It’s not acceptable for most web apps to be down even for a few seconds.

    Spatie released a very handy package called Laravel Uptime Monitor, which aims to provide an easy and powerful way to monitor your website uptime and SSL certificate expiration date; it will notify you when your site is down using the flexible Laravel 5.3 notification system. Also, when your website goes up again, the package will kindly notify and inform you about the downtime period.

    Let’s take a look at how this package can be set up and used.

    Installation

    First, install Laravel Uptime Monitor through Composer:

    composer require spatie/laravel-uptime-monitor
    

    Add its service provider in config/app.php:

    'providers' => [
        ...
        Spatie\UptimeMonitor\UptimeMonitorServiceProvider::class,
    ];
    

    Then, to publish the config file, run the following command in your terminal:

    php artisan vendor:publish --provider="Spatie\UptimeMonitor\UptimeMonitorServiceProvider"
    

    Run the following command to migrate the monitors table to database:

    php artisan migrate
    

    Finally, open app/Console/Kernel.php file and schedule monitor:check-uptime and monitor:check-certificate commands like this:

    protected function schedule(Schedule $schedule)
    {
        $schedule->command('monitor:check-uptime')->everyMinute();
        $schedule->command('monitor:check-certificate')->daily();
    }
    

    Be sure you added the Laravel Cron entry to your server to enable Laravel Uptime Monitor commands to run repeatedly:

    * * * * * php /path/to/artisan schedule:run >> /dev/null 2>&1
    

    Usage

    After installing the package, you can add the websites you want to monitor by using monitor:create command. If you add a URL beginning with https:// the package will also start monitoring the SSL certificate:

    php artisan monitor:create https://laravel-news.com
    

    Optionally, it will ask you if you want to look for a specific string in the response of the website. If the string does not appear, it will consider the uptime check as failed.

    After few minutes, run php artisan monitor:list

    It will show a list of all the monitored websites and the result of the uptime and certificate checks with some details about the SSL certificate.

    There are also monitor:delete, monitor:enable, and monitor:disable commands. The first is for deleting a website from the monitoring list, the other two commands are for enabling and disabling the monitoring for the provided website URL:

    php artisan monitor:delete http://example.com
    php artisan monitor:enable http://example.com
    php artisan monitor:disable http://example.com
    

    Overview

    If you open the config/laravel-uptime-monitor.php configuration file, you will see the Laravel Uptime Monitor package has a lot of configurations and is highly customizable. Please take note of the following important options:

    • First, you can customize the notifications option to add your notifications channels for each event the Laravel Uptime Monitor package will fire (it provides six different event types). You can easily use any channel Laravel 5.3 notification system supports like Slack or mail, etc.

    • If you use Laravel Uptime Monitor from multiple locations, you can use the location option to distinguish between different locations, as the location will be sent with each notification.

    • The resend_uptime_check_failed_notification_every_minutes option is for specifying the delay time between the reminding notifications that will be sent when your website is down; the default is 60 minutes.

    • Then, there are two options; one is for specifying the mail that will be notified by the package, the second is for specifying the webhook_url for the Slack if you used the Slack notification channel.

    • The run_interval_in_minutes option is for specifying the delay time between uptime check. Note that if an uptime check fails the package will ignore this option and starts checking that site every minute.

    • The timeout_per_site option is for specifying the period in seconds that the check process should wait before giving up, the default is ten seconds.

    • The fire_monitor_failed_event_after_consecutive_failures determines the number of failed uptime checks before it fires the Spatie\UptimeMonitor\Events\MonitorFailed event, the default is two.

    • Then, you have options for fire_expiring_soon_event_if_certificate_expires_within_days, which will fire a SslExpiresSoon event when the remaining days in your SSL certificate are less than the number of days you specify for this option.


    If you want a powerful way to monitor a website’s uptime and SSL certificates expiration date, give the Laravel Uptime Monitor a try.

  •    Laravel Cashier, PHP 7.1, and domPDF Issue 

    Laravel Cashier includes the ability to generate PDF invoices through the dompdf PHP package. A bug has been discovered in dompdf when used in PHP 7.1, and it causes an “A non-numeric value encountered” exception.

    Based on the issue report and the subsequent pull request a fix is now in their develop branch. However, Cashier requires ^0.7.0 so the fix is not available yet through the typical Composer workflow.

    If you are utilizing Cashier invoices and are thinking of upgrading to PHP 7.1, it’s best to wait until this fix is merged into their next stable release. In the issue tracker, they haven’t given any sort of ETA and if you are affected by this is would be a good idea to subscribe to that so you are instantly updated.

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