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Why I Built Mission Control

Nov 10, 2021

I started working on Mission Control in 2017 because I had a brief interview with DataDog who asked me to make them a monitoring tool with PHP. I wrote it, I liked it, I didn't proceed in the interview but I did proceed with working on my own use of the code. I had played with scraping tools and had used apps like PagerDuty, UptimeRobot, New Relic, and Sentry. I totally understood the desire to build apps that solve one problem really well and I think these platforms do that. That being said, I also think that many of the monitoring tools out there fall into one of two categories. They are either over the top and filled with a million features fixing a million problems or are focused on solving one problem with a few features revolving around that main problem. However, I am one developer making this project in my spare time as a tool to solve my problems. I am not DataDog, or New Relic or Sentry, these teams can build incredibly detailed products that will always out feature and out perform what I make and I'm totally fine with that. Since these platforms handle many languages, I thought, what if I focus on PHP only and at that Laravel.

As a member of the general Laravel community, I feel like I'm surrounded by brilliant people who likely already have solutions for this. After all, I remember when Freek Van Der Herten released Oh Dear And then shortly after released Flare App. These are brilliant tools and have inspired some of the details I eventually added to Mission Control. Even Taylor and the team at Laravel added performance monitoring to Forge. So I've sat on Mission Control for a while contemplating why, and whether or not the world really needed this kind of platform anymore. In the grand scheme of things these guys build amazing products and have a great teams, so who am I to build something that "competes" with their features.

After some further thinking, I came to the conclusion that Mission Control isn't really competing with any of the platforms listed above. Platforms like New Relic and Sentry are incredible for large scale projects and Enterprise clients. Flare App is the best Laravel error tracking tool out there, and Oh Dear is the best uptime monitoring tool I've seen in a decade. Forge provisions servers of course its going to offer performance notifications. These tools are all geared just right for their focus.

Mission Control is a simple platform for error monitoring, uptime monitoring, performance monitoring, with custom notifications and custom listeners. I made Mission Control so it can integrate with platforms like the above and help you be in control of the state of your applications. Is Mission Control the best platform out there for this? Nope. But I'll keep trying to make it better one day at a time.