Starting a website or web application development process, we come across many situations where we have to make several decisions to achieve our goal. Usually, if we want to create something simple in a relatively short time, we go to website creators. However, if we're going to create something more sophisticated, it may not be enough.
Laravel is an easy-to-use, lightweight PHP framework that can be used to create one-page websites and complex and personalized page layouts. For many developers, creating something dedicated to a website means using Laravel.
In this article, we'll attempt to explain why that is the case and demonstrate and encourage the usage of the Laravel framework.
What is Laravel?
Laravel is a cross-platform PHP framework for building web applications. It's a server-based platform that manages data using the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern, dividing an application's backend architecture into logical pieces.
Now that the definition is behind us, it must be fully understood. For this reason, we need to understand what the PHP Framework is. It is a set of code libraries with pre-programmed valuable functionalities such as an authentication tool, rooting tool, or HTML templates that allow users to build applications faster. Larevel's best PHP framework speeds up the web development process and improves the quality of the final product.
Laravel web applications are highly scalable and have well-structured codebases. Laravel's modular packaging system and strong dependency management allow developers to expand the functionality of their apps quickly.
Taylor Otwell created Laravel as a more sophisticated replacement for the CodeIgniter framework, which lacked certain features such as built-in user authentication and authorization support. Laravel's first beta version was released on June 9, 2011, with the Laravel 1 release coming later that month. Laravel developers are still tweaking bugs and improving functionality in updates and new versions.
The newest version, the Laravel 8, continues the improvements made in earlier versions by introducing tons of new tools such as model factory classes, migration squashing, job batching, improved rate-limiting, or even Laravel Jetstream.
Is Laravel Frontend or Backend?
Laravel is a backend development framework. It also has some frontend capabilities. Laravel has front-end-style building tools like validation systems, dynamic queries, and pagination so that developers can focus on other, more engaging things in code.
What does Laravel do?
Laravel has tools that help you build web apps easier and faster. And when you are done, the codebase is well-structured and easy to maintain.
This PHP framework is known and willingly used by web developers. The fact that so many websites are created with its aid indicates it was not a random choice. What's more, this solution is used by companies such as 9GAG, Pfizer, or TourRadar. As one of the few PHP frameworks, Laravel can boast remarkable versatility and universality. It is used by companies specializing in IT, medicine, finance, travel, sales, entertainment, and others. Thanks to this versatility, they can build:
- social networking sites,
- e-Commerce web sites,
- multi and single-page applications (MPAs and SPAs),
- static and dynamic websites,
- enterprise-level applications,
- content management systems, and more.
What does Laravel contain?
Many modern PHP frameworks are object-oriented. It is good to understand some of the basics of classes and objects before using them.
The Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern is a set of rules that explains how to construct successful web apps easily and straightforwardly. This main Laravel framework pattern helps bring order to the unstructured code. Thanks to MVC support, the process of web applications development is quick and convenient, no matter if they are large or small.
The Artisan Command-Line Interface (CLI) is a tool for web developers which helps them migrate data, manage databases, create the basic code, controllers, models, and other parts of an app. With Laravel's CLI, web developers can create MVC files and issue their commands. It significantly simplifies and shortens the development process.
Blade Template Engine
The Blade Template Engine is a simple but essential and powerful templating engine. It allows for connecting data models, processing the application's code in the source templates, directing the output to a certain text file or stream. That makes the whole process much more convenient. This templating engine is fast, secure, and easy to use.
The Eloquent Object-Relational Mapper (ORM) is a tool for working with databases. It helps establish and maintain essential communication between a web application's architecture and its databases. The ORM uses an expressive PHP Syntax that is integral to the language of the framework, which means saving time and effort.
Redis is an open-source, advanced key-value store. Because keys can contain strings, hashes, lists, sets, and sorted sets, it is commonly known as a data structure server. Laravel uses Redis to connect to an existing session and general-purpose cache. Redis interacts with the session directly.
When using Laravel, you have complete control over user authentication and role-based access control. The authentication system consists of all necessary steps, such as Login, Registration, and Password Reset, executed with a single command. All the required settings are included by default. As a result, account verification and access restriction are more complex, making them more secure.
Laravel packages is a system which goal is to automate user requests. It allows you to use add-ons and modules, specialized software extending web applications. Laravel uses a composer as a dependency manager, which keeps track of all the data necessary to handle packages. Packages are a great way to speed up the development process by giving us all the essential features.
Apart from the framework itself, Laravel has a lot more to offer. The expanding popularity of the framework has resulted in more diverse needs: packages, development environments, and the like. There are so many elements under the Laravel brand that they form a kind of ecosystem.
Here's one of the most interesting and popular components:
Sail is a lightweight command-line interface for interacting with Laravel's default Docker development environment. Without requiring prior Docker experience, Sail provides a fantastic starting position for creating a PHP, MySQL, and Redis-based Laravel application. Many developers consider Sail the better, more convenient, and versatile Homestead alternative.
Valet is a small, fast, low-resource (with about 7 MB of RAM) macOS development environment. It's not meant to be a total replacement for Sail or Homestead. Instead, it's designed for people with specific requirements because it provides a great alternative if you want flexible basics, prefers extreme speed, or work on a machine with limited RAM.
Laravel Cashier is an interface for subscription billing services from Stripe or Paddle. Cashier handles essential subscription management, but it also allows you to manage coupons, subscriptions quantities, swap subscriptions, cancel grace periods, and even generate invoice PDFs.
Laravel Spark is a billing management panel that allows users to create and manage their subscriptions. Directly uses the engine on which it is based - Cashier. Spark is restricted to Stripe and Paddle as payment providers; Spark does not yet support custom providers. However, Spark can use third-party applications because they may be customized.
Pros and Cons
Laravel is considered to be one of the best PHP web frameworks. The list of advantages developers mention is often endless, but that does not mean that it doesn't have its flaws.
When choosing a web application development tool, you should understand your needs and select a tool to meet these requirements. We present what Laravel is good at and where its functionality ends. Let's start with the pros:
One of the most significant advantages of Laravel is how developer-friendly this framework is. Since developers created it for developers, the creators of Laravel made sure that everything contained in their work was understandable and well described. Every variation of Laravel comes with clear instructions of classes, coding style, methods, and made changes.
PHP language is constantly evolving, and new features are added that are not supported by older development tools. It is not the case in Laravel. Thanks to backward compatibility using version 5.5 and newer, you can use new functions provided by PHP, for example, new interface, overloading, shorter array syntax, or namespaces.
Although we covered this tool before, it is worth mentioning as a huge advantage because of its use in saving time-consuming work creating the skeleton code, letting you do the rest while not focusing on common tasks.
Connection to Mail
One of the advantages is connecting with mail services without any problems or worrying about the coding and/or security issues. Web apps must stay in touch with their users and inform them about new deals and offers. The framework uses an API rather than the SwiftMailer library. It also includes SMTP drivers, Mailgun, SparkPost, Mandrill, PHP's "mail" function, Amazon SES, and "send an email," allowing you to send emails through local services or cloud-based platforms.
It is these advantages that convince software developers to use Laravel. For the sake of completeness, let's now get to know the disadvantages of this framework:
In contrast to many other languages, Laravel's composer isn't powerful compared to Ruby gems, npm (node.js), pip (for python), or other package managers.
Not all framework elements are perfectly created or even good enough compared to the rest of the content. For example, dependency injection might occasionally become unnecessarily complicated. As a result, Laravel is not always made for amateurs and requires constant learning.
Bitter Sweet Updates
It is a problem not only for Laravel but also for PHP frameworks. Sometimes the update significantly improves your web application's performance, but sometimes we dream to go back to the previous version because we cannot find ourselves in the new edition. It's best to save everything twice before moving on to the next version.
Laravel is a fantastic web development tool, and in many aspects, it has no competition. It also has an extensive ecosystem that is constantly growing, thanks to which an increasing variety of developers will find more ways to use Laravel for web development. It is significantly different from other web frameworks, but that is not a downside. In addition, the meticulousness of its creators allows you to familiarize yourself with the way it operates efficiently, and its use is a pure pleasure.