PHP is not short on frameworks.
Options abound. From a lightweight option like Slim to a full-fledged enterprise solution like Symfony, there’s always a PHP framework that snugly fits your project requirements.
But lately, Laravel has been hogging the limelight, and for a good reason.
Laravel is a relatively new, open-source PHP web framework that follows the model–view–controller (MVC) architectural pattern.
It was created by Taylor Otwell and released in June 2011.
Since its initial release, Laravel has experienced exponential growth.
It’s now the most starred PHP framework on Github, used by some of the largest tech companies in the world, including Microsoft, Slack, and Toyota Hall of Fame.
Here’s an article you want to read to find out more about the framework:
Why Laravel Is The Best PHP Framework For Web Development
But for today, we focus on the features and benefits that make Laravel an ideal choice for web development.
So, what’s all the Hullaballoo About?
Why are businesses and developers flocking to this relatively new PHP framework?
In this article, we’ll attempt to answer these questions by taking a detailed look at some of the most outstanding features of Laravel that make it such an attractive option for web development.
#1. Blade Template Engine
One of the most popular features of Laravel is its Blade templating engine.
Blade template is a simple yet powerful templating language that doesn’t restrict you from using plain old PHP code in your views.
All Blade templates are compiled into plain PHP behind the scenes and cached until they are modified, meaning Blade adds practically zero overhead to your application.
Blade also provides a set of convenient shortcuts, such as control structures and template inheritance, that save you time and make your templates more readable.
As an added benefit, because Blade templates are compiled into raw PHP code, you get the added advantage of superior performance.
Here’s an example of a Blade template that makes use of the control structure directives to conditionally render HTML based on the value of a variable:
<?php if (count($records) === 1): ?>
I have one record!
<?php elseif (count($records) > 1): ?>
I have multiple records!
<?php else: ?>
I don’t have any records!
<?php endif; ?>
As you can see, the code is clean and easy to read.
You don’t need to clutter your templates with PHP logic.
The Blade templating engine gives you all the power of PHP without the complexity.
#2. Artisan Console
Laravel comes with a built-in command-line interface (CLI) named Artisan.
Artisan is used for managing your Laravel application and building custom Laravel packages.
It provides a set of useful commands for your project, such as starting a development server, generating boilerplate code, and migrating your database.
You can also create custom Artisan commands for your application.
This comes in handy when performing complex tasks that are tedious and time-consuming when done manually.
For example, suppose you need to populate your database with dummy data for testing purposes.
You can automatically create a custom Artisan command to generate and insert the dummy data into the database automatically.
#3. Eloquent ORM
Laravel’s Eloquent ORM is one of the most-loved features by Laravel developers.
Eloquent makes working with relational databases a breeze.
It provides an easy way to query database tables and construct relationships between them.
Here’s an example of how you can use Eloquent to query a database table and retrieve data from it:
$users = User::where(‘active’, 1)->get();
This will retrieve all the active users from the database.
As you can see, there’s no need to write raw SQL queries.
Eloquent takes care of that for you.
#4. Laravel MVC Architecture
Laravel follows the MVC (Model-View-Controller) architectural pattern.
MVC is a time-tested architecture that helps developers organize their code in a structured manner.
It also makes it easier to maintain and scale large applications.
Laravel’s implementation of MVC is different from other frameworks.
It uses a different approach to routing, which makes it more flexible and easier to use.
Laravel’s MVC architecture also encourages separation of concerns, which helps to keep the code clean and maintainable.
Laravel takes security seriously.
It provides several built-in security features that protect your application from attacks.
Some of the security features in Laravel include input sanitation and output encoding, SQL injection protection, cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection, and encrypted cookies.
Laravel also uses hashed and salted passwords, which means your passwords are not stored in plain text in the database.
Instead, they are encrypted using a one-way hashing algorithm.
This makes it impossible for attackers to steal your passwords from the database even after compromising it.
#6. Open Source and Well Documented
Laravel is an open-source framework.
Which is to say, you can use it for free and contribute to its development if you want to.
Laravel is also well documented.
The documentation is extensive and easy to follow.
It covers all the major features of the framework in detail.
That makes it easy to learn and use Laravel, even for beginners.
#7. Object-oriented libraries
Like other modern PHP frameworks, Laravel comes with a set of object-oriented libraries.
These libraries make common tasks such as input validation, authentication, and session management easier to implement.
Laravel also ships with several other useful libraries, such as an easy-to-use pagination library and a powerful debugging bar.
#8. Authorization System
Laravel’s authorization feature is another reason many developers love it.
It provides an easy way to define roles and permissions for different users.
This helps you to keep your code clean and maintainable.
It simplifies common authorization tasks such as checking if a user has the required permission to access a certain page.
Laravel’s authorization feature is also extensible. It can also be configured straight out of the box to work with your existing codebase.
#9. Testing Automation
Laravel is built with testing in mind.
It provides several features that make it easier to write and run tests.
These features include an inbuilt testing environment, convenient helper functions, and a simple assertion syntax.
The framework features PHPUnit, a popular testing tool for PHP.
This tool can be used to write and run unit tests.
Laravel’s testing features make it a good choice for building large and complex applications.
#10. Separation of Logic
Laravel’s MVC architecture encourages the separation of logic.
This means that your application’s business logic and presentation layer are separate.
Consequently, this makes it easier to maintain and scale large applications.
It also makes your code more readable and easier to understand.
#11. URL Routing Configuration
URL routing is an important feature of web applications.
It is used to map URLs to specific pages or actions.
Laravel provides a simple and convenient way to configure URL routes.
It also supports nested routing, which allows you to group related routes.
For example, you can group all the routes for a particular website section under a single route prefix.
This makes your routes more organized and easier to maintain.
It boasts robust URL routing that developers can leverage to ensure their websites’ visitors land on the right page.
#12. Faster Web Apps
Users expect websites to load quickly and smoothly.
Laravel helps you create faster web apps by caching the data that doesn’t change frequently.
This data is stored in memory, which makes it quicker to retrieve.
As a result, your web pages load faster.
The framework also supports caching backends such as Memcached and Redis out of the box.
This makes it easy to set up and use caching in your Laravel applications.
#13. Mail Service Integration
Laravel makes it easy to send emails using the built-in mail service.
You can also use third-party mail services such as SendGrid, Amazon SES, and Mandrill.
The mail service integration is another feature that makes Laravel a good choice for building large and complex applications.
#14. Message Queue System
Laravel’s message queue system makes it easy to defer time-consuming tasks like sending emails and processing images.
This helps speed up your web application by offloading these tasks to the background.
Laravel’s message queue system is powered by an underlying queuing library called Beanstalkd. It also makes it easier to scale your application by running these processes on multiple servers.
#15. Migrating System for Databases
Laravel’s database migration system is another feature that makes it a good choice for large applications.
It allows you to expand your database structure without rebuilding it from scratch.
Laravel’s database migration system also enables you to share your database schema with other developers on your team.
Not only that. It also minimizes data loss when migrating your database to a new server.
The data is not copied over but rather migrated using Laravel’s database migration system.
#16. Scheduling Tasks
Laravel’s scheduling feature allows you to schedule tasks such as sending emails and generating reports.
You can schedule these tasks to run at specific times or intervals.
This is a convenient way to automate repetitive tasks.
Not only that, but it also frees up your time so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.
Laravel’s scheduling feature is powered by the underlying operating system’s cron job manager.
#17. Error Handling
Laravel provides a simple and convenient way to handle errors and exceptions.
It also has an error handler that can be used to log errors to your preferred destination, such as a database or file.
This is a handy feature for large applications that need to log errors for later analysis.
Laravel’s error handling system is also extensible, which means you can create your own error handler and customise it to suit your specific needs.
Laravel pagination is another handy feature that is included in the framework.
It allows you to break up large data sets into smaller pieces for easy viewing.
This is useful for large applications that need to display data in a paginated format.
The underlying Illuminate/Pagination component powers the pagination feature.
This component is also used by other frameworks such as Symfony and Laravel Cashier.
#19. Traffic Handling
Laravel’s built-in traffic handling lets you handle traffic overloads without compromising performance.
The more traffic a web application fetches, the more requests need to be processed.
Laravel’s traffic handling feature ensures that your web application can handle more requests without slowing down.
Laravel’s traffic handling feature is based on the underlying Symfony HttpKernel component.
Laravel’s traffic handling is made possible by the following three features:
- A) Rate limiting: This feature allows you to limit the number of requests a user can make to your application.
This is useful for preventing abusive users from overloading your application with requests.
- B) Caching: Caching is a technique used to store data in memory so that it can be accessed quickly.
Laravel provides an easy way to cache your data using the built-in caching mechanisms.
- C) Queuing: As mentioned earlier, Laravel’s queuing system allows you to defer time-consuming tasks to the background.
This helps to free up your application’s processing power to handle more requests.
#20. Multi-language Support
Laravel provides an easy way to support multiple languages in your web application.
The framework includes language files that you can use to store your application’s translations.
Laravel also provides a helper function called lang() that you can use to retrieve the translation for a given key.
This helper function makes it easy to support multiple languages in your web application.
Is Laravel the Best PHP Framework?
There is no clear answer to this question.
It depends on your specific needs and requirements.
If you need a feature-rich framework that is easy to use, Laravel may be the best choice.
On the other hand, if you need a lightweight framework that is easy to learn, then CodeIgniter may be an ideal choice
In the end, it is up to you to decide which framework is best for your needs.
The general guidelines you should follow when choosing a framework are:
The Framework’s Popularity:
The popularity of a framework can be an indicator of its quality.
A popular framework means that many developers are using it. It’s also likely that it’s well-supported.
The Laravel framework is one of the most popular PHP frameworks.
It has a large community of developers ready to help you if you get stuck or need assistance.
How easy is it to access your database using the framework?
Do you need to write SQL queries, or can you use an ORM?
Laravel makes it easy to access your database using its built-in ORM, Eloquent.
You can also use raw SQL queries if you need to.
Is the framework well-documented?
Is there a user guide that you can follow?
Laravel’s documentation is excellent.
It is easy to follow and provides all the information you need to get started with the framework.
You want to choose a framework that can be easily integrated with third-party software.
For example, you may want to use Laravel’s queuing system to process payments through Stripe.
Laravel makes it easy to integrate with third-party software.
There are many packages available that you can use to add extra functionality to your web application.
How well does the framework handle errors and exceptions?
Is there a way to log errors and view them in a development environment?
Laravel includes a built-in error handler that you can use to log errors and view them in a development environment.
It helps debug your web application.
Is the framework secure?
Does it provide mechanisms to prevent SQL injection attacks?
Laravel is one of the most secure PHP frameworks.
It packs an abundance of security features, including input validation, password hashing, and encrypted session data.
These features help to prevent SQL injection attacks. It also prevents cross-site request forgery attacks.
Ease of Use:
Is the framework easy to use?
Does it have a steep learning curve?
Laravel is an easy-to-use framework.
It has a well-designed architecture that makes it easy to learn and use.
However, it does have a steep learning curve.
You must have a good understanding of object-oriented programming and design patterns to use Laravel effectively.
Is the framework modular?
Can you easily add new functionality to your web application?
Laravel is a very modular framework.
You can use Laravel’s built-in libraries or install third-party packages from Packagist to add new functionality to your web application.
Does the framework provide testing features?
Is it easy to write and run tests?
Laravel provides many testing features, including unit, database, and browser-based testing.
It is easy to write and run tests using Laravel’s built-in tools.
Cost of Development:
How much will it cost to develop your web application using the framework?
Laravel is a free and open-source framework.
This means that you can use it to build your web application without incurring any costs.
The only cost you’ll incur is the cost of hosting your web application.
Is there a support community that you can turn to for help?
Laravel has an active community of developers ready to help you if you need assistance.
You can find help on the Laravel forums, IRC channel, and Slack group.
Before Laravel, CodeIgniter was the most popular PHP framework. CodeIgniter is still a good framework, but Laravel capitalized on some of its shortcomings, emerging as the top PHP framework.
For instance, while CodeIgniter does not have built-in support for database migrations, Laravel does. This is a big advantage because it makes it easy to keep your database schema up-to-date as you make changes to your code.
Laravel also has better security features than CodeIgniter. It provides input validation and password hashing out of the box.
Laravel’s queuing system and built-in command-line tools take the hassle off developing and deploying web applications easy.
Overall, Laravel is a more comprehensive and complete framework than CodeIgniter. It is easier to use and has more features.
Laravel Vs. CodeIgniter
|Popularity||Because of its expressive syntax and comprehensive set of features, most developers prefer to use Laravel over CodeIgniter||While CodeIgniter is ideal for creating lightweight applications, it’s still less popular than Laravel|
|Use Cases||– Suitable for developing large scale applications
– Ideal for eCommerce websites, content management systems, and social networking sites
|– Suitable for developing small to medium scale applications
– Ideal for developing dynamic websites, CRM systems, and RESTful APIs
|Build-in Modules and Packages||Laravel was designed with modularity in mind. Developers can use bundles to group related modules and divide the Laravel application into smaller parts.||CodeIgniter does not have built-in modules or packages. However, developers can create their own modules and packages to extend the functionality of CodeIgniter.|
|Routing||– supports both implicit and explicit routing.
In addition, it supports route wildcards, making it easy to create flexible and expressive routes.
|CodeIgniter also supports both implicit and explicit routing. But it’s less efficient than Laravel.|
|Templating Engine||– supports multiple templating engines, such as Blade, HAML, and Markdown.
– It also has a built-in template engine called PhpEngine, used to render HTML views.
|CodeIgniter does not have a built-in templating engine. However, it does support third-party templating engines, such as Twig and Smarty.|
|Database Migration||– Offers built-in support for database migrations.
– This means you can easily keep your database schema up-to-date as you make changes to your code.
|CodeIgniter doesn’t have built-in support for database migrations. However, there are third-party libraries that you can use to add this functionality to the framework.|
|Unit testing||– offers built-in support for unit testing.
– This means that you can quickly write and run unit tests for your Laravel application.
|CodeIgniter does not have built-in support for unit testing. Developers must rely on third-party libraries and tools to unit test their CodeIgniter applications.|
|IDE Integration||– Laravel can easily integrate with popular IDEs, such as PHPStorm, Sublime Text, and Visual Studio Code.
– This makes it easy to develop Laravel applications using your preferred IDE.
|CodeIgniter isn’t as well integrated with IDEs as Laravel is.|
Overall, Laravel is a more comprehensive and complete framework than CodeIgniter.
It is easier to use and has more features. If you’re looking for a robust and feature-rich framework for web development, then Laravel it is.
However, if you’re looking for a lightweight and simple framework for web development, consider going with CodeIgniter.
How Does Caching Work with Laravel?
After a user enters your URL in the browser, a request is sent to your server.
The web server is configured to send all requests for .php files to the PHP interpreter.
When the PHP interpreter receives a request, it starts at the top of the requested file and executes each line of code until it reaches the end of the file. This process can take some time, especially if the requested file is large or has a lot of dependencies.
Once the PHP interpreter has finished executing the code, it sends the output back to the web server and the browser.
Every time a user requests a .php file from your server, this process happens. If you have a lot of traffic, this can strain your server and cause it to slow down.
That is where caching comes in.
When you enable caching, the PHP interpreter stores the output of each request in a cache. The next time a user requests the same file, the PHP interpreter can simply retrieve the output from the cache instead of executing the code again. This saves a lot of time and can significantly improve the performance of your website.
How Much Faster Can Caching Make My Website?
The speed improvement you see from caching will depend on how dynamic your website is.
If your website is primarily static, meaning that the content doesn’t change very often, you can see a significant speed boost from caching. The PHP interpreter only has to generate the output once and serve it from the cache for all subsequent requests.
If your website is dynamic and the content changes often, you might not see as much speed boost. That’s because the PHP interpreter will have to generate the output for each request instead of serving it from the cache.
|Server Hits||Without Cache||With Cache (Memcached)||With Cache (Redis Driver)|
As you can see, performance can be improved nearly twice with Memcached and nearly thrice with Redis driver without any other optimization.
Startups and Companies Using Laravel
- StartUps.Co: StartUps.Co is a website that helps connect startups with investors and resources. The site tracks more than 850,000 startups and has access to 13 million registered users. The startup is located in Powel, Ohio, but has a global reach.
- Fundable.com: Fundable is a sub-division of Startups.co that helps startups raise money through crowdfunding. The company has raised more than $568 million for startups since it was founded in 2011.
- Zirtual.com: Zirtual is a virtual assistant service that helps busy entrepreneurs and professionals with their administrative tasks. The company was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
- RV.Campingworld.com: Camping World is the largest retailer of RV supplies, accessories, and services in the United States. The company has more than 100 stores across the country and an online presence at RV.Campingworld.com.
- Globaldietarydatabase.org: The Global Dietary Database is a Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Project at Tufts University. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation even endorsed the project. The goal was to collect diet and nutrition data from NGOs, government health ministries, academic institutions, and other sources worldwide to create a comprehensive database of dietary intake.
- Exploregeorgia.org: Explore Georgia is the official tourism website for the state of Georgia. The site features information on attractions, events, restaurants, hotels, etc. The site also has a blog covering travel, food, and lifestyle.
- Ceenta.com: Ceenta is a sophisticated Laravel-based corporate website of American Media Group, CEENTA (Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates). CEENTA is the most extensive multi-speciality ophthalmology and otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) practice in Carolina. They offer comprehensive medical and surgical care for disorders of the visual system, the eyelids, the tear ducts, the orbit (eye socket), and cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids, orbit, and lacrimal (tear) system.
- Invictawatch.com: Invicta Watch Company is a manufacturer of Swiss-made watches. The company was founded in 1837 and is headquartered in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The company has a wide range of watch collections for men and women.
- Fox47news.com: Fox 47 News is the website for the FOX 47 television station in Lansing, Michigan. The site features news, weather, sports, and entertainment content for the Lansing area.
- Bonappetour.com: Bon Appétour is a social dining experience connecting travellers with local home cooks. The company was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Singapore.
- Tattoodo.com: Tattoodo is a social network for tattoo lovers. The site features tattoo designs, artists, studios, and events. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Berlin, Germany.
- Laracasts.com: Laracasts is a website that offers video tutorials on PHP, Laravel, and other web development topics. The site was created by Jeffrey Way, the author of two best-selling books on Laravel.
10 Key Advantages of Using Laravel for Web Application Development
#1. Laravel Simplifies How You Implement Authentication:
Laravel makes implementing authentication very simple. In fact, almost everything is configured out-of-the-box. Laravel also provides many libraries and helpers for implementing authentication on your website.
#2. Laravel Provides a Simple, Clean API Over the Popular SwiftMailer Library:
Laravel provides a clean, simple API over the popular SwiftMailer library. The framework also provides drivers for SMTP, Mandrill, Amazon SES, and SparkPost to make email configuration a breeze.
#3. Laravel Makes It Easy to Perform Unit Testing:
Laravel makes it easy to perform unit testing with its built-in testing tools. The framework also provides mocking libraries for popular PHP libraries such as Mockery and Hamcrest.
#4. Laravel Is Built on Top of the Symfony Components:
Laravel is built on top of the Symfony PHP framework, which means it inherits all of the benefits of Symfony components. These include a large community, well-documented codebase, and outstanding performance.
#5. Laravel Supports Popular Cache Backends:
Laravel supports popular cache backends such as Memcached and Redis. The framework also provides an abstraction layer for working with these caching backends. That makes it easy to switch between cache backends without changing your code.
#6. Laravel Makes It Easy to Use External Libraries:
Laravel makes it easy to use external libraries by providing a simple, unified API for working with them. That makes it easy to integrate third-party services into your Laravel application.
#7. Laravel Helps Secure Your Application:
Laravel helps secure your application by providing many built-in security features. These features include input validation, CSRF protection, and password encryption.
#8. Error and Exception Handling Is Simple:
Laravel makes it easy to handle errors and exceptions by providing several built-in error handlers. The framework also provides an abstraction layer for working with the popular Whoops library.
#9. Laravel Makes Routing Simple:
Laravel makes routing simple with its built-in router. The router provides several convenient methods for defining routes. It also supports route caching, reverse routing, and named routes.
#10. Laravel Is Well Supported and Documented:
Laravel is well supported by a large community of developers. The framework is also well documented, with a comprehensive guide and API reference.