An App For Culture Night:

A Newbie's Experience With Laravel and the Ionic Framework (and how it can help your event, too!)

Rebecca Martin, NI Developer Conference 2018


Who are you and why are you here?


  • Junior developer with Flexera, part of the core API Team
  • @laches1sm on the Twitters
  • Talk today is mainly concerning my experience with learning Ionic and Laravel to build a Culture Night application
  • Also talk about how event applications could help local events here in NI

But why even develop an application for Culture Night in the first place?

  • First Culture Night I went to was in 2017
  • I chose this project based on my experiences at it

Looking to Dublin

  • Before starting development, I felt it was important to look at prior examples
  • Dublin Culture Night has an application for their celebrations
  • ...with the official lack of information from the Belfast Culture Night, why not look at Dublin's?
  • Had some useful features

Culture Night website is bad and it should feel bad


  • Extremely little information on the official website 
  • No application at all - instead relied on paper leaflets
  • Overall was in dire need of an update

But why even develop an application for Culture Night in the first place?

But why even develop an application for Culture Night in the first place?

The state of information for Belfast Culture Night left me like...

Looking to Dublin

  • Since Belfast had little to no information, why not look at Dublin...
  • Features including creating a event list, etc...
  • Make it more 'on-brand'

Looking to Dublin

The Case for a Belfast Culture Night application

  • With all of the above aspects taken into consideration, why not build an app of my own?
  • There were many different technologies I could have used...
  • PHP - Laravel
  • Native Android/iOS development...
  • or Ionic? 

The Case for a Belfast Culture Night application 

  • Python - could have used frameworks such as Flask or Django
  • Flask - lightweight and easy to get started...
  • ...but might not scale well
  • Django - can be tricky to use, esp middleware related things
  • Never had used Python before in a huge project

What even is Ionic and Laravel, and why should I develop with them?


  • Ionic is a TypeScript framework, that is used to create cross-platform applications
  • Laravel is a PHP framework, used for building websites and building APIs
  • Why did I choose them?
  • Cross platform 
  • Easy to develop APIs
  • Also very easy to get started



  • As previously mentioned, I decided to use Laravel for building the API and the website portion...
  • Very easy to get up and running
  • Overall, an enjoyable experience with Laravel 
  • Showing off some of the API functionality with Postman...



  • Cross platform framework for developing mobile applications
  • Written in TypeScript - steep learning curve
  • I am not a front-end developer - difficulty with CSS 
  • New and exciting errors, all the time, every time
  • In my opinion, much more of a learning experience than developing native applications
  • Live demo, oh noes!!!!

After development... what could local event organizers gain from having an app?


  • An application is not just for Culture Night - it could suit most events in NI
  • Helps users, both local and from further afield
  • Near enough everyone has their phone on them
  • Environmental concerns 
  • For the Luddites in our midst - it's purely optional!  



  • If you don't want to ask now, feel free to ask any questions either at the Flexera stand or over pints at the Bot!
  • Come over to the Flexera stand - we have a Lego raffle and hiring opportunities! 
  • We also sponsored a parrot (kakapo) too, his name's Bluster-Murphy
  • (a kakapo, btw, is the inspiration for Party Parrot)


By laches1sm


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