Leetcode April challenge

While we’re riding out the COVID-19 and socially isolating, myself and some colleagues are doing the leetcode 2020 April daily challenges. I highly recommend all devs to join in!


I’m doing my solutions all in C/C++, rather than my usual languages of PHP and JS, just to have some more fun and brush up on those lower level languages.

I’m adding my solutions to my github repo for the challenge day by day!


Fantastic time presenting at Laracon AU 2019

Laracon AU just wrapped up in Sydney. It was a fantastic 2 days of learning (and 2 nights of partying).

I had a blast, doing my first ever presentation at a conference – big shout out to Michael Dyrynda for giving me an opportunity to be a speaker this year. If you are interested in watching my presentation, I am informed that they will all be up on the LaraconAU YouTube by the end of the year (after processing & editing)


You can find the slides here, though most of my presentation was a demo (which went off without a hitch!)


Everyone was great and supportive, many people came up to me to tell me they found my presentation (on my API boilerplate) really interesting, and were keen to have a go. You can find the github for it here –


Me doing my presentation, bit of a postman demo

Me with some of my friends and colleagues

Advanced testing of Laravel packages

I’ve done a talk at the Sydney Laravel meetup today about techniques for advanced testing of Laravel composer packages.

Essentially I take viewers through integration testing, and how to test against a realistic fully-fledged Laravel application in order to have more comprehensive and integration level tests for their Laravel packages.

This is really useful for any package developers, or even just contributors. Although the topic is slightly complex, it’s distilled fairly clearly, and the end result of what to do is actually quite simple!

Along with the usual slides, below you will find one of my Laravel packages, which I used during the presentation to demonstrate the concepts in the talk.

GitHub repo used for examples


Laravel API Boilerplate

Over the last few months I’ve been working on a very practical github project – a boilerplate for laravel, useful for API projects. The idea here is as I say, to re-image laravel as a framework built for developing APIs.

The main goal is to make API development significantly quicker and easier, and dramatically minimise the amount of code required to get going, in building API components.

In the last few months I’ve done presentations on it at Sydney’s Laravel and PHP meetups, and it’s just starting to get some traction. If you work with APIs, or would like to – I would encourage you to check it out. It is very easy to get started with – in fact that is on of the goals 🙂

Github: https://github.com/specialtactics/laravel5-api-boilerplate/

Slides Link

Laravel presentation on 5.8 + Some other things

Today was the monthly Sydney Laravel Meetup. We had some pretty interesting circumstances, with myself not having the time to prep my original talk (and thus doing a shorter, more topical talk), and our other main speaker pulling out sure to unforeseen circumstances.

However with Harlan and Dave stepping in to do awesome lighting talks, we actually did pretty good!

Laravel 5.8 brings about more interesting changes than normal – including some backwards breaking changes, so be sure to check out the presentation!

Check out my Slides here

Laravel Telescope – my presentation at Laravel December meetup in Sydney

I’ve done a fantastic introduction and demo of Laravel Telescope at this month’s Sydney Laravel meetup.

On a related note, myself and Tom are taking up organising the Sydney Laravel meetup as it hasn’t happened for a while and the current organisers are a bit busy. Expect regular and insightful meetups from now on!

You can find the slides here and also the demo repository, talking points and postman collection here.

The whole meetup was recorded by the 4mation production team and can be viewed here.

Laracon AU 2018 !

So happy to finally attend a Laracon – Australia’s inaugural event was actually organised by a South Australian!

Most of the talks were absolutely great, lots of new and interesting ideas. I loved the Telescope project Taylor is working on, as it will be very useful for API development where you can’t use things like debugbar.

Max & Harlan with TO at Laracon AU 2018

However most notable, the social night at Kingpin Bowling at Darling Harbour was bloody amazing! We had the place all to ourselves with tonnes of food and beer to boot. We also got the highest score in laser tag… but apparently the rules were changed in hindsight and our score didn’t count. R I G G E D

Laser Tag at Laracon AU 2018 Social Night

Beertab almost gone!

The Boyz at Laravel AU 2018

API Days Conference 2018

I’ve just attended the API days conference in Melbourne. It was a pretty amazing experience – especially because this as my first visit to Melbourne! Big thanks to my employer (Cover Genius) for sending me!

Me and my colleagues had great fun, although some of the talks seemed a bit too “sponsored” if you know what I mean (content wise). Still, there were some real gems in terms of API design and micro-services.

I hope next year’s one will be at the Gold Coast !

Small Biz Hack Sydney 2018

I went to the Small Biz Hack Sydney 2018 with some mates. We built an app to hook up businesses and social influencers. For me it was a great opportunity to try out my new Laravel API boilerplate and see how well it works, as well as iron out some of the kinks. Check it out here – https://github.com/specialtactics/l5-api-boilerplate.

The food was AMAZING

AWS Summit 2018

This week I attended the AWS Summit held at the ICC. It was an amazing event, and the venue was much better and more spacious than last year’s (which was one of my main complaints). It was pretty amazing, and the main theme was clearly AI and machine learning.

Pretty packed event, with heaps of opportunities to learn about new technologies and get advice on best practices. I had quite a lot of fun!

Also, the AWS certified lounge had these oldschool arcade games – so much fun! I played space invaders for a quite a while I think.

AWS Certification Meetup & Head of Innovation

Really excited for the AWS summit that’s coming up in the next 2 days, I went to the certification appreciation event at the all hands brewhouse in Darling Harbour. I thought at the least it will be some decent free food and drinks… but I was pleasant surprised!

Oliver, the AWS Head of Emerging Technologies AP was there to give a brief preso about machine learning and AI, which was in itself interesting – but I had an equally long talk to him to delve deeper into this stuff and how it’s going to apply to web applications. His takeaway was that machine learning was going to become the new norm, whereby it will be embedded in all new software because of so many opportunities that it has to add value.

We also talked about AWS translate (which was released about a week ago) and some principles surrounding AI translations, where it’s at, and where it’s going. Overall, an amazingly interesting chance to talk to someone who’s clearly very smart. Not often you get the chance to do that after work over a beer!

Big thanks to AWS for flying over these brilliant individuals to Sydney for a few days.