I’d like to respond to Traversy’s roadmap. In this message, I’m going to discuss what his video says about the Traversy YouTube channel. In my next message, I’m going to discuss what Traversy’s roadmap says about the state of PHP and how the PHP community can pick up the pieces and move forward.
Let that sink in.
For the technology that powers 80% of the web - Brad Traversy dedicates 79 seconds. That’s all you get, PHP developers! If you were expecting more then you’re out of luck.
Worse still is the very real possibility that he appears to have simply regurgitated text from the websites of the two PHP frameworks with the most GitHub stars - Laravel and Symfony.
Traversy on Laravel: “PHP is really messy but Laravel is really elegant”
Laravel on Laravel: “Laravel is a web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax.” (taken from the Laravel homepage, at the time of writing)
Traversy on Symfony: “Symfony is a set of reusable components”
Symfony on Symfony: “Symfony is a set of reusable components” (the headline on the Symfony homepage, at the time of writing)
It’s a wonder how many tens of thousands of PHP developers must have sat through a presentation over ninety minutes long - only to hear somebody essentially just reading headlines from a couple of frameworks’ websites. In fairness, he did quickly run through a list of features for those frameworks - but come on Brad, did I just sit through your entire video for this? Can you at least pretend you are making an effort or is that too much to ask?
From a PHP-centered perspective, the only spark of original thought from Traversy came when he said that he likes Slim - a micro PHP framework that, quite frankly, doesn’t really do much at all. By the way, here’s my Slim framework tutorial series on YouTube.. I know all about Slim. My Slim tutorial series has over 70,000 views on YouTube. Slim is bullschitt.
Let’s take a moment to clarify the obvious:
Brad Traversy is perfectly entitled to glorify or ignore anyone or any technology that he chooses. That’s his choice and we must respect his choice. His choice says nothing whatsoever about his skills as a developer, his charisma as a YouTuber or his integrity as a human being.
Any freelance commercial developer who has been exposed to the marketplace will tell you that over ninety percent of clients - regardless of their business size - have an expectation of high search engine ranking when they hire somebody to build for them. That’s reality. Whether we like it or not that is the nature of the marketplace. I'm not saying that you have to be a search engine optimisation expert to be a successful web developer. However, at the very least, you should be able to produce sites with fast loading source code that's readable by the search bots. Thereafter, it's perfectly normal for the developer to step aside and let the real SEO experts step in.
I’m not going to say that Brad Traversy’s YouTube channel is in decline. That’s not for me to say and - very obviously - I have no clue about how to build a successful YouTube channel. However, I think Brad Traversy is in grave danger of having his channel relegated to ‘Stef Mischook Status’.
What is ‘Stef Mischook Status’?
Stef Mischook is a web developer from Canada with an incredibly popular and growing YouTube channel. He is a very good, talented and experienced developer. He also happens to be a really nice guy. In the past, Mischook has been good enough to host an episode of my DC Radio Network podcast. I’ve spoken with him privately on a few occasions. He’s cool. I like him!
However, in recent years, his YouTube channel has begun targeting - what some might call - low hanging fruit. Over time, his YouTube videos have become increasingly irrelevant for experienced developers and more targeted towards people who are considering having a go at being a developer. “Is X too old to learn web development” (replace ‘X’ with any random number over 30) and “programming language X vs programming language Y” are two recurring themes in his channel.
That type of content, whilst good for subscriber counts and YouTube views, is irrelevant for anyone who happens to have more than two weeks worth of experience in the field of web development. Like Traversy, Stef Mischook is a good developer. His abilities as a developer are not in question, nor is his integrity. However, whilst Stef Mischook is perfectly capable of discussing the deepest and most intricate inner workings of web development, he chooses to go after low hanging fruit. It’s a strategy that clearly works for him - giving his growing subscriber count.
Unfortunately, however, whilst Stef Mischook is liked and appreciated as a developer, it’s a struggle to find any motivation for a developer to tune in and listen to what he has to say. Quite simply, there’s nothing original, thought provoking or even remotely educational - for the experienced developer. Having said that, let’s never make the mistake of judging Stef Mischook in a negative light, simply because he chooses a YouTube promotional strategy that effectively ignores beginner, intermediate and experienced developers. He’s still cool.
I think Brad Traversy’s channel is now crossing into that kind of territory. When we get to the stage where content is just being read from a website and where nothing original, relevant or contrarian whatsoever is being said then it’s time for the real developers to move on.
Originally, I was going to include the year ‘2022’ in the title of this article. I was planning on doing so in anticipation of there being additional responses to future Traversy roadmaps. I have decided not to do so. I made this decision not out of any kind of bad intention but simply because - for me - there’s no longer anything Traversy has to say that is interesting.
Join me next time, where I’ll be discussing what Traversy's roadmap says about the state of PHP.
This concludes Part 1. Join me for Part 2, where I'll be discussing what Traversy's video says about the state of PHP