Welcome to the first issue of my newsletter. My goal is to send a newsletter roughly every 2 months. The topics will be a mixed bag, it will contain stuff about Web Development, mostly WordPress & Laravel, as well as books I liked and some personal updates too. So let's get started.
I'm back building two WordPress sites for clients. It's exciting to see how the block editor has evolved in the last few releases. There is so much to discover. I'm not yet going to jump on the full site editing train, but I am building a few custom blocks and will be using patterns extensively.
In order to limit the options for the content creators, I needed a way to disable some of the core blocks. There are multiple ways to disable blocks, but a few of the plugin options threw errors on the Widget screen and in the post editor, so I decided to code write some code.
I am a big fan of GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks and built most of the sites in the last few years with it. I wrote a quick tutorial on how to use the Elements feature in GeneratePress to include the Yoast SEO breadcrumbs block in page headers.
While I switched back to Yoast SEO for most sites, I refreshed my tutorial on turning RankMath's FAQ block into an accordion, after a reader sent me an email with an issue.
You might already be aware that I have been active in the WordPress community for years. This included co-organizing the WordPress Zurich meetup for almost 10 years. By the end of 2022, I decided it was time to pass the torch and wrote a bit about my experience organizing the meetup.
AI will not (yet) replace you, but you might be interested what AI can do in the WordPress space? Human Made is putting together the second edition of their free AI for WordPress online event. It's going to happen on September, 14 and is packed with amazing speakers, incl. Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress.
That's it for WordPress related updates for this issue. Let's dig into Laravel and some other news.
Laravel and more
In the last couple years, I had the pleasure to work on a few Laravel projects. I must admit it's the most fun I had learning and programming in years. It's such a well designed framework, the ecosystem is amazing and the community is as friendly and approachable as the WordPress community, so I felt at home right away.
Since the beginning of the year, I'm working on a B2B SaaS with the team at Brain & Heart Communication (in German). My plan is to write about the journey from idea to a production-ready MVP soon. The app is already in use by 10+ clients and is growing quickly. I must admit, building production-ready prototypes, is my favorite type of work at the moment. Feel free to schedule a call, if you happen to have a great idea you want to test.
In February I had the pleasure to give a talk at the Laravel Switzerland Meetup, talking about my experience with WordPress and Laravel. To me Laravel and WordPress are two amazing tools to have in my toolbox.
There is so much going on with Laravel at the moment, here are some personal highlights.
The release of Laravel Livewire 3 is a huge milestone. I'm a big fan of Livewire, because it allows me to create interactive UIs from PHP:
On top of Laravel Livewire there is the very well crafted Filament "framework". It offers admin panels, table and form builders and so much more. I can't wait to take it for a spin in a personal project I'm working on.
For local development, Laravel spoils macOS users. There is Laravel Valet and now the new kid Laravel Herd. Both work for other PHP projects too and I run my WordPress development environment with Laravel Valet.
Did you know, it is now possible to create native apps using PHP? Sounds crazy, I know, but check out NativePHP:
There is so much more going on, but that's it for this issue from the Laravel ecosystem and beyond.
On a personal note
A few months ago, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. No matter how long I slept, I didn't feel recharged in the morning and my fiancée noticed that I paused breathing a lot. The last two months, I'm sleep with a CPAP machine and the difference is night and day. I need less sleep, my energy level is through the roof and I feel much more relaxed.
I often suffered from anxiety, because I plan my next working day in advance and sometimes I was so tired, that I couldn't get any focused work done. This is a thing of the past and I can confidently plan ahead and I get so much more done.
This lead to other changes in my daily routine. My fiancée and I started walking in the morning and in the evening almost every day. With my buddies Andrew and Noel, we started a group chat to log our weekly goals and give each other tips and a boost when needed.
Experiment: Fixed meeting availability
While reading the book Deep Work, I decided to try fixed meeting availability for my clients and prospects. Starting September 1st, I'm only available for meetings on Tuesday and Thursday between 11am and 5:30pm. This experiment allows me to have more deep work blocks and the extra focus helps me to be much more productive.
This change was a bit scary to communicate, but so far I received positive feedback only and a few questions on how and why. I'm going to keep you posted on the benefits I notice in my daily work.
Before you go...
A while ago I decided to re-read the books Steal Like an Artist, Show your Work! and Keep Going by Austin Kleon. There was a quote from Charlie Chaplin that resonated with me and made me finally send out this very first newsletter:
Be an amateur! That's all any of us are: amateurs. We don't live long enough to be anything else!
This is it for issue #1. I hope you like it?