A few thoughts on recent events in the Laravel ecosystem

The following are personal thoughts and key takeaways I wanted to share (in no particular order) based on recent interactions with other members of the community, I'm by no means claiming these to be absolute truths, however, in the event that one of the following statements is true, it doesn't mean that another statement is false, two things can be true at the same time.

* Absolute positions lead to narrow views and toxic communities
* Laravel is a great Framework and Taylor is an amazing developer
* The commercial offerings of Laravel are great, they ensure the ecosystem stays afloat
* The larger the Laravel userbase is, the larger the pool of customers for Laravel related products/courses is, and this is fine.
* Taylor's contributions have changed many lives, including my own and for that I'm grateful
* Raising an opinion about a small part of the ecosystem, doesn't mean that one is demeaning all the other parts or contributions.
* Some of Taylor's responses to some opinions (including one of my own) were really inappropriate.
* People who said that we were simply criticizing free software, did not really understand the problem.
* Laravel is a business, not a charity. Not only for Taylor, but for anyone whose business depends on it and this is fine, only by being financially successful can a project like Laravel thrive.
* The simple change of removing the deprecation notice in laravel/ui's repo actually helps because it leaves on the table an official auth scaffold alternative for those of us who don't like Jetstream.
* `php artisan make:auth` was one of the deciding factors for a lot of people who were evaluating frameworks at one point. That's the reason this whole topic was so sensitive.
* Most of the opinions about Jetstream were not personal attacks agains Taylor and should have never been treated as such.
* Yes, anyone can fork/build their own auth scaffold and ignore Jetstream, but this raises the entry barrier for people that don't fell confortable with Tailwind/Inertia/Livewire.
* Raise the entry barrier of anything and a percentage of potential users will flock to an alternative.
* Paying for one or more of Laravel's commercial offerings is a way of contributing to the ecosystem, PR's are not the only way.

I may have missed a couple that don't come to mind at the moment, but most likely the most important personal takeaways are there.

If you are going to comment, you may agree or disagree (it's fine), I'll only ask you to be polite.

Cheers, and a great week for everyone!

18 thoughts on “A few thoughts on recent events in the Laravel ecosystem”

  1. Agreed. I got blocked by Taylor for simply saying some of the criticisms with Laravel 8’s auth scaffolding were valid.

    He has built an echo chamber of yes-men and it’s sad to see that valid negative criticism sets him off to personally attack people or block them out right.

    Edit: looks like he blocked me here too

    Edit: looks like he deleted his account again

  2. Instead of Jetstream, Taylor should promote Fortify first. Some actually want Fortify instead of Jetstream but they don’t know it.

  3. I can see a real split in the community and I feel both sides aren’t listening to each other. It’s really hard to watch it happen as I love the community and both sides do have some very valid points but it’s now turned into a lot of snarky point-scoring and has become very tribal in nature.

    I’m hoping it blows over soon and we can get back to killing it more than any other PHP community.

  4. Don’t get me wrong, but you sound like “I want pull and run solutions that are designed for me in particular”, what is wrong with forking/building your own part if you are not satisfied with given one? What does it mean to “rise the entry barrier”, if you are not willing to learn/adapt to new features and new ways, don’t bother in programming, it’s one of the field where more than half of things can change very quickly.

  5. I have a different take on this: Taylor needs to get some therapy.

    By all accounts, Laravel has made him wealthy, he has a wonderful family and ~~millions~~ hundreds of thousands use his framework for their livelihood and are mostly grateful to him.

    Yet he can’t take a bit of criticism which is bound to happen if you have a gazillion users. He engages in petty arguments with random users, deletes his Reddit account (twice so far) and acts like he’s quitting Laravel on Twitter. His behavior and those of his followers is overly dramatic and cringey.

    Taylor, some people don’t like your product, so what? The vast majority do. Just get off social media and keep doing your thing. Or get some help to grow some thicker skin.

  6. >Yes, anyone can fork/build their own auth scaffold and ignore Jetstream, but this raises the entry barrier for people that don’t fell confortable with Tailwind/Inertia/Livewire.

    This will sound critical but I’m trying to put this the best way I can without being condescending but basically there’s some bias in the statement as it comes from a very developer centric view of how we used to make web applications.

    A lot of people come to use Laravel, not because they’re already developers but instead because they have an idea of something they want to build, often a business idea. Laravel has often focused on giving people things that are low barrier to entry for businesses rather than for developers. An example is Forge, I was critical when it came out because it used what in my mind was a very old school system for setting up infrastructure. I felt this way because as a seasoned Dev I knew enough about AWS and things like elastic beanstalk and RDS. The thing is, forge was built for people in a “if you need infrastructure and you’re not sure what’s right, use us” approach. And it worked, the service is very popular, I was very wrong at the time.

    As a developer, you feel that using the UI package is the right way to do things because that’s what you started with and likely continue to do. In my opinion the approach of the UI package is pretty flawed for a number of small but important reasons. Most people want more powerful Javascript front ends to build SaaS type apps really quickly and Jetstream does this really well even if it’s a bit experimental still. It’s what a lot of more business focused people will want out of the box so they can get started. The amount of times I’ve used the UI package and then reconfigured a lot of it right away shows how dated that approach is becoming.

    Yes, Jetstream adds an extra layer of optional opinion on top but honestly, lots of people really just want to make modern and attractive apps. Yes, this means Vue got chosen for inertia over react and other popular tools, because doing both would take a lot of effort and Vue has been common to Laravel users for sometime. Equally I am sure someone will make a Laravel React Jetstream pretty quickly and yes it won’t be “official” but with enough users it will endure if not then it’s not popular enough so why should it be maintained by the Laravel team? Something being official doesn’t really mean much. Make a package of quality and people will use and maintain it.

    So my question after this is? Please explain in non technical terms why the UI package is a lower barrier to entry than JetStream is? If you can’t explain it without technical terms, chances are someone with little to no technical knowledge on webapps starting out, won’t care too badly about it.

    **TLDR;** You might just not be the target market for the solution

  7. > `php artisan make:auth` was one of the deciding factors for a lot of people who were evaluating frameworks at one point. That’s the reason this whole topic was so sensitive.

    if the argument is that you got the entire auth logic done, for free, with one command… then nothing changed with Jetstream. You get even more features.

  8. I hate how there are basically zero open bugs or issues because everything gets a lame excuse and closed or is assumed invalid

  9. The new frontend scaffolding reminds me of ‘great’ ideas Drupal7 had all those years ago that turned out to be a horrible pain in the long run.

    I hope history does not repeat itself. I really do. But I’m not gonna try it until I see if it’s still around a few years from now.

    But I just started a new Laravel project and am sticking to the classic Vue scaffolding.
    So as long as we don’t have to use Jetstream etc. With new projects and there is a functioning and well documented and supported way for more clasicle architecture I don’t care.

    And neither should anyone else. Innovation is great, just don’t break what works while trying it out.

  10. First of all laravel is not charity. Although it’s OSS. Taylor is smart enough to build eco system around it.which is good. But If you aren’t paying for product you are the product.And somehow it’s true with laravel (and many other OSS). I mean we use laravel for simplicity and eco system but you can’t deny that lot’s of laravel developers are walking billibords advertising laravel, nova, forge, envoyer. And what about starts and download counts? When any new developer search for popular framework and laravel popups we (as laravel users) are part of that starts and downloads. We as community is driving factor for new potential laravel customer. IMHP community is asset for OSS. Whether it’s PR or donation or being just some random dude in community we are helping laravel (somehow).
    Secondly sometimes stupid developers like me ask random questions on laracast and stackoverflow and somehow help upcoming developers to find that FAQ. In this way too we are helping community. And when I am not asking I make sure to answer one or two questions of my capabilities. Hence contributing to ‘pseudo docs’.
    Third I am buyer of nova, forge and subscriber of laracast. So believe I am helping Taylor to invest his time on laravel. So my expectations and disappointment towards laravel is totally valid. When referring to oss people says ‘begger can’t be choosers’. Well I would say every we (as laravel developers) are not begger but buyer. Paying laravel in different currencies whether it is dollars (paid products), starts, downloads, questions or simply being billboards.

  11. I think taylor and the laravel team is spreading it’s attention too thin. Too much big new projects and less core laravel refactor or features. If you see how much really in depth features symfony adds each major release. (5.2 for example) then youl notice laravel does more form over function type of things. Things that look and seem cool but are not substantial. The flashy stuff (which often us heavily opinionated) will impress starting or junior developers and I think that’s the core audience for laravel.

  12. Laravel the framework is pretty dang good. Some of the official extensions like Horizon are good as well. But some other Taylor-developed systems are rather poorly engineered. As an original owner of Spark and Nova licenses I ended up using neither of them as they basically over-engineered all the simple parts of an application and were sorely missing key functionality in the difficult parts of an application. What makes Laravel work best is when it allows for multiple ways to achieve the same goals, but when it centers on Taylor’s opinionated designs he seems to always make some really strange decisions that fail to consider alternative approaches. It would be fine if his opinionated decisions were objectively the best approach but in a lot of cases it seems like he is just chasing whatever new trend is hot at the moment and forgets the long-term approach that demands flexibility and an aversion to technical debt.

    One of the unspoken rules of open source is that either you take responsibility to improve the product or eventually alternatives will take its place, and that alternative could always be a superior fork. For some reason, a lot of open source developers get this idea that their centrality to the project makes them indispensable, when open source history has shown over and over that projects can and often do outlive their originators as long as the code itself still fills its niche in the ecosystem. So they need to drop this attitude that anyone owes them anything, as the instant you slap that open license on the code it is no longer only your baby, and the community that it serves is just as much a contributor of value as you are. After all, with no community, there is no demand, and with no demand, no value.

    Either way I’m appreciative of his efforts and wish he was less inclined to take criticism so personally. Just take it with a grain of salt and if the criticisms are valid than they’re valuable to helping you improve the product, and if they’re not than who cares.

  13. I kinda like the new changes. But I aggree that everything is going to crash and burn if the ecosystem keeps going down this path.

  14. To be honest, my first thought when I looked at Jetstream was basically, wow this is a needless change to how we do front end development (ie, Inertia, Tailwind, Livewire, etc). But I just decided I would not use it. Same as when I tried out the SaaS app scaffold product whose name I’m forgetting. I didn’t like how it mixed blade and vue, so I got my refund and went on my merry way without it. I still love using Laravel Forge and love the framework itself, so I’m not going to flip my shit when Taylor decides to pursue what I think are dumb changes to front end development. Laravel is a back-end framework at the end of the day.

  15. I agree with you, and at the same time I do need to leave the comment that drama over a framework is just plain childish.

    And FWIW, Jetstream is not Laravel. It’s just another offering in addition to Laravel, read the release notes. That’s like saying laravel-ide-helper is required to use Laravel.


Leave a Comment