What is Laravel and Why You Should Learn it?
PHP is one of the most widely used web programming languages. With the rise of PHP, many PHP frameworks have emerged but there are only a few of them which really use the full potential of PHP language.
PHP has evolved since last few years which adds the modern features to full fill the demands of web programmers.
Each PHP framework has its own implementation, features, and capabilities. Laravel provides uniques features like Eloquent, Restful Routing, Query Builder, Blade templating and Homestead which makes Laravel a great framework.
You can easily fall in love with Laravel due to its advanced architecture and beautiful syntax. Laravel makes develope’s life easy and make web applications programming fun.
In this post, we will look into what is Laravel and why you should give a try.
What is a Framework?
Before we dive into explaining Laravel, we need to understand what is a framework.
In general, a Framework is a set of conceptual structure and guidelines, used to build something useful.
According to wikipedia, a software framework is an abstraction in which software providing generic functionality can be selectively changed by additional user-written code, thus providing application-specific software. A software framework provides a standard way to build and deploy applications.
In simple terms, a software framework is a structure which you can use to build something. It allows you to use different components, communicate to external APIs and define the structure of your application.
A software framework allows you to:
- Reduce Complexity: A software framework make it easier to deal with complex situations and break them into different chunks.
- Clean Code: A software framework helps you to write clean and usable code.
- Testing and Debugging: A software framework make testing easier and debugging fun.
- Coding Guidelines: A software framework forces strict guideline to follow for your team mates that promote the consistent codebase with less bugs.
- Scaling: A software framework helps you to scale on demand. No matter how fast you application grow, frameworks make it easier to scale on demand.
A web framework or web application framework is just another software framework which helps you to build Web Applications including web services and APIs. A web framework enables you to make components that are re-usable and perform daily tasks more easily.
A PHP framework is a set of PHP classes which help you build the web application with ease.
What is Laravel?
Laravel is one of the most popular PHP framework used across the globe to build web application ranging from small to big projects. Laravel is the choice of professional developers because of its performance, features, and scalability.
Laravel follows MVC (Model View Controller) structure which makes it easy to learn and rapidly prototype the web applications. Laravel takes the pain out of web application development by providing built-in features like authentication, mail, routing, sessions, and the list goes on.
Laravel is so easy to customize that you can create your own project structure which meets the demand of your web application. With Laravel’s beautiful and elegant syntax, you can write code which is self-explanatory and expressive.
Laravel was created by Taylor Otwell back in 2011, since then he has evolved this framework a lot and making it compatible with the latest web technologies.
Key Features of Laravel Framework
Laravel framework possesses a large ecosystem which includes features like instant deployment, routing, ORM, DB query, Routing, Templating and list goes one.
Here are some of the features of the Laravel framework which set the Laravel framework apart from other frameworks.
1. Dependency Management
Dependency management is one of the best features of Laravel, understanding the functionality of the service container (IoC) is the core part to learn modern web applications. In Laravel, IoC (Inversion of Control) or Service Container is the most powerful tool to manage class dependencies.
Dependency Injection is a method to remove the hard-coded classes and injecting them using a tool like Composer.
Modularity is the degree to which a web application’s components can be separated and recombined. You can split the business logic into different modules which all work together to make a web application functional.
Laravel is designed to make modular application, even Laravel itself is a collection of components. Using modular structure you can design and develop a large-scale enterprise application with ease. Laravel provides very simple guidelines to create modules or packages in Laravel.
Authentication is an integral part of any modern web application. Writing authentication in other frameworks such as Codeigniter can take a lot of your development time. Laravel provides authentication out of the box, with running a simple command you can create a fully functional authentication system.
Laravel also provide handy documentation to implement your own authentication.
Caching is a technique to store data in a temporary storage location and can be retrieved quickly when needed. Mostly caching is used to increase the performance of the application. Laravel cache almost all data from view to routes. Which helps Laravel to decrease the processing time thus increasing the performance.
Routing in Laravel very easy to understand and much like the Ruby on Rails framework. Laravel routing can be used to create a restful application with ease. You can group routes, name them, apply filters to them and bind your model data to them.
Laravel routes can use to create search engines friendly URLs with great flexibility and control.
6. Restful Controllers
Laravel’s restful controllers enable you to separate logic behind serving the GET or POST requests. You can also create resource controllers which can be used to create CRUD easily. Later you can bind resource controller to route to serve all CRUD routes automatically.
7. Testing and Debugging
Laravel comes with PHPUnit out of the box to test your applications. Laravel was built with testing in mind thus support testing and debugging too much extent.
8. Template Engine
Blade is the templating engine of Laravel. Blade provides handful amount of helper function to format your data within views. Blade also implement the template inheritance which you can use to create complex layouts. All Blade templates use file extension
9. Database Query Builder
Laravel’s database query builder provides a convenient way to create database queries. It comes with tons of helper functions which you can use to filter down your data. You can easily implement complex queries using joins in Laravel.
Laravel’s query builder syntax is easy to understand and make writing database queries fun.
10. Eloquent ORM
Laravel is based on Eloquent ORM which provides support for almost all database engines. It works perfectly with MySQL and SQLite. Laravel provides a comprehensive documentation to all Eloquent functions.
11. File System
Laravel provides the support for multiple file systems. You can use a local file system or any cloud-based like Amazon S3. You can select which file system you want to use by changing the options in the config/filesystems.php file.
Laravel provides an intuitive way to create secure web applications. Laravel store all passwords as hashed instead of plain text passwords. Laravel use BCrytp to hash passwords. Laravel provides security from SQL injection attacks and also escape all user inputs to avoid the injection of any script tags.
Laravel’s command line tool is called Artisan. Laravel comes with dozens of pre-built commands which you can run on command line interface to perform tasks. You can avoid most repetitive task during development process using this tool.
14. Migration System
Laravel provides migration system just like Ruby on Rails to create database structures. You can use PHP language to write migration which will create your database structure instead of using SQL. You can create databases, tables, and indices using the migrations. If you want to change table column you don’t have to repeat creating table again instead you can run a new migration.
Using Envoy you can run the most common task on your remote servers from within your application. It also allows you to set up tasks for deployment.
Laravel enable you to create a multilingual application at the same time you are building your application. You can access the strings in different languages using
Laravel has proven itself as the best PHP framework due to all above features and constant improvement. Laravel helps to create a powerful application using simple, expressive way, that’s why Laravel is the most use PHP framework.