Profile picture of Mark Hesketh Mark Hesketh

2019: Year In Review

I wasn’t planning to do any sort of recap of the year, but at the time of writing its New Years Eve and the end of a decade no less – so I thought I’d give this a whirl.


I wrote in 2018 about an ‘ambitious’ Laravel-based e-commerce platform I was planning to build. Unfortunately, thats been a bust so far. I submitted to analysis paralysis and have tried every e-commerce platform under the sun, only to land right back where I began – creating my own with Laravel.

This project was born out of the need for a new e-commerce store for my better half, who sells hand-crafted jewellery online through a PrestaShop store I built for her in 2014.

Its become a little bit of an on running joke at work, but I’ve learnt a lot along the way and am now convinced its the right approach. I expect this project to be a significant part of my 2020, and launch at least a couple of stores off the back of it.


I’ve not written about my job on this blog before, but as a quick catch-up I joined Venditan in 2015 as a mid-level developer, became a senior developer in 2017 and have been a team lead since 2018. I lead a small team working exclusively for a single client.

In 2019 my role has shifted a little more towards team management, mentoring and client-facing responsibilities, with a slightly less emphasis on actual development than previous years. Its a role I generally enjoy, although I’ll be looking to get back more involved with the technical direction of the team next year.

Our team has launched a number of e-commerce stores, large projects and integrations within our closed-source e-commerce platform for my client. While I can’t go into detail, I’m very proud of the work we’ve achieved and the roadmap we have for 2020.

I’ve also taken on a bit of personal project to jumpstart our internal documentation using an open-source Laravel project called BookStack.


I’ve spent a significant amount of time learning new technologies, but not writing about them 🧐.

My day job mostly involves PHP development on a large legacy (read: profitable) Zend 1 application, although our infrastructure is very ‘2019’ with multiple Kubernetes clusters and a few React Native apps, so there is a lot to keep on top of.

Outside of my day job though I’ve been dabbling with the Laravel ecosystem to create the e-commerce platform mentioned earlier. In doing so, I’ve discovered:

Tailwind in particular has been a surprising discovery, and goes against almost everything CSS Zen Garden and .NET magazine taught me when I was getting into web development – but its been a lightbulb moment for me.

I could write at length about each of the above, but it feels like I can achieve just about anything with these 4 tools, and I’m excited to double down on them in 2020.


F. Must try harder. See me after class.

This is literally the only blog post I’ve written in 2019. Ironically my last post is a post about how I’m going to write more. I aim to fix this in 2020 and beyond, which I’ve talked about in a follow-up post.

And the rest


You should read some other ‘2019 review’ posts by these smarter and more handsome people: