Posted in Resources on August 7th, 2014

My Playlist

I'm a big fan of development podcasts. Perhaps hearing other developers chatting in a podcast replaces some of the camaraderie and opportunity for cross-pollination that's lost when working exclusively as a remote, I don't know, but whatever it is, new podcast releases are something that I definitely look forward to. I initially jotted down this list for myself as a way to help stay on top of those podcasts I listen to regularly as I've yet to find a way to subscribe/aggregate them that I'm totally happy with, but thought later that perhaps others might be interested in my favorites too, since while my friend Cal Evans maintains a pretty exhaustive list of PHP podcasts (what doesn't he do?), the question of what's worth listening to comes up relatively frequently on Twitter.

Never Miss

  • Loosely Coupled: A relatively new podcast that is off to a great start. Each episode Jeff Carouth & Matt Frost cover a single topic related to the experience of being a software developer in a very thoughtful (and thought provoking) and often humorous fashion that's quite refreshing in it's honesty and level of personal insight. Topics so far have ranged from thoughts on agile, conferences, and side projects to building a testing culture and polyglotism. Jeff & Matt compliment each other very well and from episode one had the polish of a broadcasting team that had been working together for years. The fact that I know each of them personally adds another nice dimension for me. They also recently did a live episode with video which was a lot of fun and something I hope they'll do again.

  • That Podcast: Another new podcast that's started out very well. Hosted by my friend Beau Simensen and Dave Marshall, it's a bit more eclectic and personal than Loosely Coupled. Ostensibly each episode focuses on a single topic, but we get to be a fly on the wall for a lot of 'what I've been up to lately' going on between Beau and Dave, which I think is great; the episodes are quite long (typically ninety minutes, a few as long as two hours) and I still find myself disappointed that they had to end so soon. While Loosely Coupled seems to focus more on the developer experience, That Podcast focuses more on actual development. It's not a deep dive, but we get a lot of insight into tools and techniques that Beau and Dave are working with. They also have very extensive show notes on the site which is great because they cover so much ground during a single episode. I've also merited a mention in a couple of episodes, so of course it's a great podcast!

  • Elephant in the Room: My only complaint about this podcast is that they've only recorded five episodes! Hosted by Mathias Verreas and Konstantin Kudryashov, Elephant in the Room is a deep dive into a single topic relevant to software design - testing, BDD, DDD, etc. There is some amount of 'catching up' interplay between the hosts as there is with That Podcast, but this is definitely a podcast that you need to give your full attention; you may find yourself replaying portions as I do in order to appreciate them fully. This is easily the podcast which stays with me the longest; I find myself considering things Mathias & Konstantin discussed for days.

  • Laravel.IO Podcast: All Laravel, all the time. Hosted by Shawn McCool, the Laravel.IO Podcast is highly guest driven, so varies a lot in tone and content from episode to episode, but is always Laravel centric. Frequent guests include Taylor Otwell, Jeffrey Way, Chris Fidao and Matthew Machuga and typically an episode features 2-3 guests in addition to Shawn. Not only is it a great source to stay abreast of what's new in the Laravel ecosphere, but the group dynamic in their topic discussions is also really great.

  • Sound of Symfony: This is the newest addition to my 'never miss' list. Hosted by Magnus Nordlander and Tobias Nyholm, Sound of Symfony has only recorded two episodes to date, but I'm excited about the possibilities. As the name implies, it's relatively Symfony-centric, covering not only news and goings-on in the Symfony world, but practical insights into using the framework as well. The episodes thus far have featured a really nice balance between news, a guest interview and the hosts simply 'talking shop' and 'comparing notes' on the framework and related topics. I look forward to more!

Regular Listens

  • PHP Town Hall: This really doesn't belong in this list because it's not a podcast, but an event. Hosted by Phil Sturgeon and Ben Edmunds, Town Hall is guest-centric (well, [guest & Phil Sturgeon]-centric, which isn't entirely a bad thing...) with topics that range far and wide. Episodes are recorded live with video and an active IRC channel (Freenode: #phptownhall), so some content is missed if you're not there for the party. Phil spends a lot of time being Phil (which provides its own entertainment value) and yet still conducts a surprisingly good interview. Ben is definitely the quieter of the pair, but does a great job keeping the show on track and provides solid insights when taking the mic. I typically only tune in if I can make it for the live event, but that's pretty often, so it makes the list as a 'Regular Listen'.

  • Development Hell: Like PHP Town Hall, Development Hell (known informally as /dev/hell) is as much an event as it is a podcast, with a lot of fun activity happening in the IRC channel (Freenode: #devhell) during the live broadcast. The live broadcast also typically begins before and extends after the recorded version, so you're missing out hearing it after the fact (though the recorded versions are still well worth a listen). Hosted by Chris Hartjes and Ed Finkler, /dev/hell is primarily guest driven, so topics can range pretty far afield but are always entertaining. Chris and Ed having been doing this for quite awhile and it shows. Chris is a great interviewer and Ed is absolutely fantastic as the 'color man' in the duo. They often take questions from the IRC audience during the show and have also recorded a few live episodes at conferences (I got to see the episode they did at PHP[Tek] this year with Paul Reinheimer) which is a lot of fun.

Occasional Listens