Todd Austin

Personal Blog

Canvas: July In Review

9 months ago · 2 MIN READ
#Laravel 5  #Open Source  #Announcements 

July has been a crazy month for Canvas. The project has grown way beyond my expectations, so I'd like to take a look back and put things in perspective.



  • Packagist downloads: 2,023 current
  • GitHub Stars: 513 current
  • Sponsors: 5 current

The GitHub star count saw such a huge increase in a short time period that the project trended as the number 2 PHP repository overall for 3 consecutive weeks and was in the top 5 for the entire month.

Repo Activity

  • Releases: 10 mtd
  • Commits: 486 mtd
  • Forks: 62 mtd
  • Issues Closed: 32 mtd
  • Pull Requests Merged: 41 mtd

  • Page Views: 7,140 mtd
  • Unique Visitors: 4,044 mtd



As soon as 2.0.0 launched, a couple of reputable sources picked it up right away. Eric Barnes at Laravel News wrote an article and published it almost immediately, followed by a few other sources like Packalyst and After trending on Laravel News for 2 weeks, Twitter and Reddit communities picked up the project and began spreading it in their respective circles.

Things really began to pick up speed when this happened...

Taylor Otwell, the author of Laravel, made his 44th GitHub star this project. It was a humbling experience to say the least. This all began as a project within the Laravel community, so it feels like it comes full circle when it gets traction and visibility like this.


Having a community of active participants and experienced developers is key to any project surviving. The support and responsiveness on Canvas has been outstanding and there are many new features that exist on it solely because of their work. I wanted to my gratitude and appreciation, so there's a mention of the top 5 contributors in the footer of the main site.


Getting sponsorship was a goal for the project from the beginning, since it adds credibility and authenticity to the work being done as a whole. All the sponsors have pledged support and have given either monetary credit on their site for services or premium, enterprise-level IDE's for personal use. Being sought out by international companies to offer their support for your project is again a very humbling experience.


At the end of the day, I wanted Canvas to solve a problem. I wanted there to be a simple application that a novice developer with little to no knowledge of Laravel, MVC frameworks or even PHP could install and write a blog in a minimal fashion with Markdown support. Oh, and the administration of the blog had to be top-notch, Material Design oriented. I believe we've accomplished those things with where we are at.

With that being said, there is one more outstanding topic to discuss. One of the bigger requests I've received is that Canvas be developed and made available as a purely modular package that can be pulled into existing Laravel installations. While I think this is a great idea and way to increase the scope and audience of Canvas in the Laravel community, refactoring the application that much would narrow the scope too far and take the project away from its initial vision. Canvas will remain a standalone application for the time being. But, without spoiling anything yet, I will say that there is already development on a new project, which will satisfy this request for the community. So stay tuned ;)


Todd Austin

Web artisan with a passion for open source technologies.
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