As a PHP developer, choosing the right framework for your next big project is a huge decision. The framework can make or break your entire development process. You want something that's easy to use, flexible, robust and helps you build high-quality applications quickly.
Let me tell you, when it comes to PHP frameworks, Laravel is an absolute rockstar. Released in 2011 by Taylor Otwell, Laravel has grown to become one of the most popular frameworks with developers worldwide. Its elegant syntax, intuitive design and an arsenal of powerful features have attracted legions of fans.
As someone who's been building web apps with Laravel for years, I cly vouch for it. So if you're looking for a sophisticated framework that can supercharge your productivity, Laravel deserves your attention.
To give you a taste of what makes Laravel so remarkable, here are nine fantastic features that I'm incredibly thankful for as a developer:
Let's start with Eloquent - the super smooth ORM (Object Relational Mapper) bundled with Laravel.
As developers, we've all experienced the pain of writing clunky SQL statements to access databases. Mapping database relations to your application's object-oriented code can get messy fast.
That's why Eloquent is an absolute godsend!
Eloquent allows you to define Model classes that map to database tables. You can retrieve, insert and delete records using human-readable code instead of SQL queries.
Eloquent makes CRUD operations stupidly easy. But it also supports complex relationships, accessors/mutators, global scopes etc. As your app grows, Eloquent's capabilities scale with you.
According to Laravel's GitHub page, Eloquent powers over 10 million Laravel applications. And it's easy to see why - it's a massive productivity booster that enables rapid application development.
You start building your app and are making good progress. But then you reach the authentication system, and your heart sinks.
Implementing the entire user auth flow - password hashing, sessions, 'remember me', password resets etc - is complicated. Not to mention tedious and time-consuming.
Fortunately, Laravel provides a robust authentication system out of the box, ready for you to plug and play. With just a single Artisan command, you can scaffold all the auth views, controllers and routes needed:
php artisan breeze:install
Laravel's built-in auth system uses advanced Bcrypt hashing for securely storing passwords. Out of the box, you get register/login views, account verification emails, login throttling, password recovery etc.
You can have a solid authentication system up in no time. For me, this alone was a big reason to make Laravel my go-to framework. You can save endless hours of work with just a few keystrokes.
Now, here's a real pain point - managing changes to your database schema manually.
As your application evolves, your database needs to evolve as well. However, tracking schema changes across environments can quickly turn into a nightmare. Without caution, your production DB could end up inconsistent and lead to serious bugs.
That's why Laravel's database migrations are priceless. Migrations allow you to programmatically define incremental changes to your schema using PHP classes.
You create migration classes to alter tables, add/remove columns etc. Laravel tracks which migrations have run against the DB and allows smooth deployment of changes across all environments.
Migrations enable you to modify and version your database confidently without the risk of inconsistencies. I never start a project without them!
Now what good is a web application framework without intelligent routing?
Laravel ships with a superbly fast router that supports RESTful, resource-oriented routes out of the box. Defining application routes is refreshingly simple.
The router supports HTTP verbs like PUT, PATCH, and DELETE seamlessly. Useful features like route model binding, rate limiting, subdomain routing etc give fine-grained control over your application traffic flow.
Laravel also makes generating URLs from route names a cinch, eliminating hard-coded paths scattered throughout your code. Overall, Laravel's routing strikes that sweet spot between simplicity and advanced functionality.
Here's my honest confession as a developer - I used to despise writing tests for my code. Testing seemed confusing, tedious and well, optional.
But after tasting Laravel's simple yet powerful testing capabilities, my views took a 180 turn.
Laravel uses the PHPUnit testing framework under the hood but adds a delightful expressive syntax for defining tests.
The fluent API and readable assertions make writing tests enjoyable. And they enable easy testing of routes, database logic, queues, notifications, events and more.
Extensive automated testing allows you to refactor and maintain large codebases fearlessly. It's a game changer for building robust apps. Testing converted me from sceptic to evangelist.
In the past, I'd cringe every time I had to stitch my Laravel backend code to a clunky front-end. State management, asset compilation and bridging the gap between server and client seemed daunting.
But Laravel Breeze has been an absolute blessing for me and many developers!
Basic authentication views and API endpoints
Vue components for login, register, verification etc
Route/store management with Vuex
Styling with Tailwind CSS
This scaffolds the perfect starting point for implementing a front-end UI layer for your app. You can customize and extend Breeze however you want.
The tight integration between Breeze and Laravel makes full-stack development smooth sailing. I can focus on creating features instead of wrestling with impedance mismatch between the frontend and the backend.
What good is a web framework without a solid way to construct HTML views, right?
Laravel ships with the powerful Blade templating engine for composing front-end views. It allows you to intermingle PHP code within HTML in an intuitive way.
Blade avoids cluttering your application with messy inline PHP code snippets. Templates remain clean and readable even with more complex PHP logic baked in.
For me, Blade has been invaluable for creating frontend UIs fast without compromising extensibility and maintainability. Its template inheritance and components make structuring modular, reusable views a pleasure. One of my favourite Laravel features.
Lastly, I can't talk about remarkable Laravel features without mentioning Artisan - Laravel's official command line toolkit.
Artisan provides a huge range of helpful commands for tasks like:
The Artisan CLI allows you to supercharge your development workflow through automation. Mundane activities like generating classes and resources are just one command away:
php artisan make:controller Api/PhotoController
No more manually creating individual files again and again! The intuitive, self-documenting Artisan commands are invaluable. They enhance consistency and productivity across projects.
Okay, this last one isn't a feature per se. But in my view, one of Laravel's biggest assets is its vibrant global community.
Laravel is among the fastest-growing and most popular PHP frameworks worldwide. This means learning resources, tools, tutorials, extensions and talents are abundant.
Popular tools like Laravel Nova, Envoyer, Dusk, Socialite etc extend the framework's capabilities. The resources at your fingertips are unmatched.
Overall, Laravel's ever-growing community makes development with Laravel even more enjoyable and productive. It's a big reason for Laravel's meteoric rise.
Phew, that was quite the whirlwind tour of some of Laravel's most remarkable features! Other notable features include Horizon queues, Spark for SaaS apps, Socialite for social logins, Dusk for browser testing, Passport for API authentication and so much more.
Hopefully, this overview gives you a taste of how versatile and feature-rich Laravel is. No other framework can match its elegant syntax, intuitive workflows and robust tooling.
Every PHP developer should have Laravel in their toolkit. It's hands down the best way to build scalable, maintainable web applications while enjoying the entire process!
If you're planning a new web project, Laravel development services from a reputed Laravel development company can be invaluable. The right partner can help you fully leverage Laravel's capabilities to create something your users will love.
Amit is a tech enthusiast and loves writing about it. He is a senior developer with good hands-on experience in digital marketing.
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