Mario Bašić: “Laravelista emerged from my love of writing and helping other people”
Recently quite a lot of web-projects started with tutorials and courses on Laravel. On of them is Laravelista, created by Mario Bašić. We decided to talk to the author and ask more details about the project and how’s it going.
Yes, Laravelista is focused on Laravel courses and the whole Laravel ecosystem. Unlike most of the popular Laravel developers, I work on a custom-made PC running Windows. This gives me unique insights on working with Laravel on Windows.
The main difference between Laracasts and Laravelista is that on Laracasts you have videos where Jeffrey shows you what he is doing and talks you through all of it, and on Laravelista you have it all written down as lessons, with links to the actual commits, snippets of code and full working open-source repositories.
I must admit, that I still watch videos on Laracasts because Jeffrey is a great teacher. Whenever I am having problems understanding some concept or a new technology I check on Laracasts to see if Jeffrey has a video on the topic so that I can learn from it.
2. Are you satisfied with first numbers of Laravelista? Paying customers, visitors, feedback from the community? Considering those numbers and first traction, would you call it a business or more like a hobby project?
Let’s just say that at this moment I can’t make a living just from the number of subscriptions on Laravelista. I must resort to doing freelancing to pay my bills at the end of each month.
All the feedback that I have received is positive and people really do seem to enjoy the site and the content on it. I think that the main reason why people are reluctant to subscribe is the amount of the actual paid content on the site.
Considering the numbers and traction, at this moment it appears to be a hobby project. I started with the intention of making it a business, so I am working every day on it, finding way to improve the site, getting more users and feedback.
3. Do you have enough time to prepare the lessons? It seems like there are three new lessons per month – do you think it’s enough? Maybe you would like to prepare more of them but don’t have enough time?
How much content per month would satisfy the users and how much content per month can I create given my other responsibilities? This is one of the first questions that I have asked myself at the beginning of Laravelista. I am still thinking about it…
My primary income still comes from freelancing and because of that I must divide my time accordingly. This gives me just enough time to prepare three lessons per month for Laravelista and work on my open source projects. Whenever I can, I squeeze in a blog post or two on Laravelista and on my personal blog.
I would really like to be able to dedicate all my time to writing lessons, because I have a huge list of ideas that I have gathered while working on projects.
4. I love the idea of Github account for Laravelista, with demo projects available there. And already quite a lot of Stars there, congrats! How did you come up with the idea? And did it succeed?
Thank you. The idea came to me while I was watching some programming video on the Internet. I had to constantly rewind and pause the video to be able to replicate the code from the video and run it myself.
With open-source demo repositories everyone can just dive in the code, play around and see how it works without constant interruptions. Because the code is open-sourced on Github I can link to the specific commits in my lessons, so that the users can see in each step what has changed and in which files.
I would like to think that this approach has succeeded, but I lack the feedback on the subject now.
5. Laravelista has a separate section called Laravelista Business where you also sell your web-development services. Does it bring any clients? Or, in general, do you get any enquiries for client work as an author of Laravelista?
I do get a lot more freelance work because I am the author of Laravelista. People see the website, they see my portfolio, they see my lessons, my open-source projects and they feel that their project is in trusted hands with me.
6. Quite a typical question, but still: if you could start Laravelista from scratch all over again, what would you do differently? Maybe something you regret doing or not doing?
Starting Laravelista took me a long time, it had its ups and downs, but it was a great experience and because of it I grew as a developer and a business owner.
If I could start all over again it would certainly take me less time to build it. I would not spend huge amounts of time working on the design, as I did for the first version.
7. Let’s talk briefly about your personal career. Any other projects you are proud of? Or do you consider Laravelista as the main achievement of your career so far?
Laravelista emerged from my love of writing and helping other people. I consider it to be my favorite project and whenever someone asks what have I done, I will always point them to it first. I am very proud of it.
Laravelista aside, I have created much more complex and bigger projects that it. Three web application for managing real estates, two for managing and renting apartments, one application for a Hotel and currently I am working on my biggest project so far. It is for a fire extinguisher service company.
8. Finally, what are future plans for Laravelista? Where would you like to see the project in a year or two?
I am happy with the current state of Laravelista. I plan on implementing the new design on all pages. Improving the tests for the frontend. Optimizing resource files and improving comments.
My goal is to focus more on the content now and make it more interesting for the readers.
In a year or two I would like to be able to dedicate all my time to Laravelista, writing lessons and working on open-source projects.
Thank you Mario for great answers and interesting insights. If you want to follow Mario or Laravelista project, here are a few links: