Thoughts & Ideas

I publish things from time to time. I've curated the following list of posts, presentations, video training courses, and interviews.


The 10¢ ecommerce website (elbow grease not included)

How to build an automated affiliate website with an ecommerce experience for pennies per month.

I love the Internet. It’s a wild and random ecosystem with very few guardrails or black-and-white rules on how to “do the Internet right.” One of my favorite aspects of the Internet is just how low the barrier of entry is to jump in and play; the tools and access to technical education are improving every day. Unfortunately, there are still some hard expenses associated with getting a website out into space and that can really take the fun out of playing (and learning) on the Internet.

March 30, 2018

Fire your in-house QA team immediately

Improve the efficency of your product development team by repurposing existing QA staff.

Now that I’ve got your attention, don’t fire your QA team. Instead consider the enclosed thoughts on how a manual testing process may be hurting the overall quality of your product and skills advancement of your engineering team.

January 27, 2015

Build more by doing less

Improve product development speed by increasing the frequency of delivering technical value by decreasing the size of the technical deliverable.

Recently I gave a presentation to the Laravel Chicago Meetup group focused on implementing continuous integration for Laravel projects. While a bit technical at times, the presentation’s core message is a cross-cutting piece of advice that can improve performance across an entire organization, including yours.

December 19, 2014

How I am using technology to disrupt the education industry

Modern product development within the education space continues to be a good bet.

I moved to Chicago in January 2010 to join TrainSignal, a then 20 person company based in Schaumburg, IL., as the only web employee on the payroll. TrainSignal offered IT professional certification training to administrators and practitioners looking to level-up their career with certifications in systems administration, virtualization, networking, and a several other areas of expertise. TrainSignal’s founder, Scott Skinger had bootstrapped the business over the previous 7 years selling DVDs of training material to customers exclusively using a variety of over-the-counter ecommerce products.

August 13, 2014


Shout! Shout! Let it all out! These are the things I can do with Scout!

Come on! Laravel is awesome, you are awesome, and you want to make search in your app awesome. Good news! It’s easier than ever to integrate your Eloquent models with wicked fast document search providers.

Steven Maguire is here to walk you through Scout, a new feature in Laravel 5.3, that does just that. He’ll show you how to integrate Eloquent models with Algolia search, demo the results in an impressive user interface, and inspire you to build your own Scout provider.

Presented to Laravel Chicago Meetup Group on September 26, 2016

Zero to 26,000: My Journey into Open Source

At the beginning of 2015 my Github profile was completely empty and I communicated a goal of contributing to one new open source project per month throughout the year. Over the next 12 months my profile grew to include over 40 public repositories, composed mostly of well tested, well documented, easily implemented, framework agnostic PHP libraries. Additionally, I was welcomed into the prestigious League of Extraordinary PHP Packages, where I eventually contributed to the core for two very popular libraries. Today, my individual packages have been downloaded and utilized over 26,000 times and I’d like to spend about an hour sharing some interesting details of this journey with you, and hopefully inspire you to begin getting involved in the open source community; it’s not as scary as it may seem.

Presented to:

  • Chicago PHP User Group/Refactor::Chicago on March 7, 2016
  • Flourish! Conference on April 2, 2016
  • UniForum Chicago on July 27, 2017

Implementing a Data Caching Layer in Laravel 5 by Steven Maguire

Caching data within your application is a proven technique to improve performance. Laravel ships with a great data caching service and approachable documentation for your Hello World example project.

Implementing data caching as a layer within your application can bring a bit of frustration. Steven Maguire is back to share some stories and one approach to taking the, already minimal, pain out of implementing a data caching layer in your application, complete with domain specific cache configuration, policies, data flushing, and a working demonstration project.

Presented to Laravel Chicago Meetup Group on October 27, 2015

Middlewares! presented by Steven Maguire

With the excitement of PSR 7 ( and the significant architectural improvements made in Laravel 5, it’s time to talk about how Middleware will make your development more enjoyable, faster and easier to maintain.

Steven Maguire is back with another talk on the topic of Middleware. Steven will spend some time reviewing and defining Middleware, identify some other technology areas that use a similar pattern, talk about Laravel’s implementation of Middleware, all while using an open source website he built to demonstrate key concepts. The demo application will tackle an emerging browser security concern around Content Security Policy enforcement using response headers.

Presented to Laravel Chicago Meetup Group on July 29, 2015

Event Driven Development in Laravel 5

Join Steven Maguire in designing and building an If This Then That (ifttt) clone project while focusing on the creation, usage, and handling of custom events in a Laravel 5 project. The 45 minute presentation will review the benefits of the Events architecture, a solution design review, code snippets, and a few examples of working code. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A discussion with the whole group.

Presented to Laravel Chicago Meetup Group on April 22, 2015

Continuous Delivery for Laravel Applications

As Laravel continues to grow in popularity as does the need to use modern operational tools and processes to deploy the projects so their glory can be appreciated during launch and maintenance.

I have found and Forge to be great additions to the Laravel project landscape. I would like to share this joy with other Laravel enthusiasts.

Presented to Laravel Chicago Meetup Group on October 14, 2014

Video Training

Play by Play: Getting Started with Laravel 5 with Steven Maguire

This course introduces the Laravel framework to a relatively green PHP developer who is tasked with building a functional and maintainable microservice application.

The course will cover everything from project setup & installation to functioning endpoints with automated test support.

Published on Pluralsight on August 28, 2015

Play by Play: MVP Scope Discovery with Steven Maguire

In this course, you’ll see a client interview for a real-world application. We’re not coding a solution – yet. Before starting to code, or even defining domain objects and models, this discovery interview is all about understanding the business, the people involved, and their primary activities. Identifying those key pieces, and the frequency of each activity, will help us focus our efforts on building an application that has the highest impact on operations. This course will teach you how to conduct a successful client discovery meeting, demonstrating some exercises to uncover the key features of a minimum viable product.

Published on Pluralsight on June 19, 2015


HTTPlug, Guzzle & API's

Guzzle has become the de-facto HTTP-client library for PHP. But recently a number of open source projects have been switching to HTTPlug which boasts itself as an HTTP-client abstraction. We chat about the problems HTTPlug aims to solve, the plans for its future and the reasons behind why some library maintainers have chosen to adopt it or not.

Presented to PHP Roundtable on January 5, 2017

From Idea To Production: Part 2

We get an update on status of the project we discussed in part 1 and discuss next steps to take our dance event management app idea to production.

Presented to PHP Roundtable on February 23, 2016

From Idea To Production: Part 1

We discuss an idea for a web app and identify ways to turn it into a real-life product on the web. We start with describing the domain and the problems the app should solve. Then we identify the personas that will interact with the app. We discuss the features features the app should have to fix the problems and we sort all the features by priority. Finally we talk about timeline, deliverables and next steps. The app we discuss will be launched to production by the next airing of this multi-part series of taking an idea to code.

Presented to PHP Roundtable on May 28, 2015

Let's Get In Touch!

Ready to talk about your next project? Interested in a speaking engagement? Curious what I am up to? Have a food, film, or music recommendation?

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