Laravel is better than the rest of the PHP web frameworks. It has advanced development tools and features that enable the rapid development of web applications. It is one of those frameworks with rich features and flexibility to qualify it as an ideal platform for building apps. Let us shed some light on the subject!
Lavarel: The framework to use to develop your web applications
What is Laravel?
In the early 2000s, most PHP-based codes came from hard-to-use scripts. Over time, they became even less manageable, with no logical organization. Sir Taylor Otwell created Laravel to solve this problem, releasing it in July 2011.
Designed to work with PHP, Laravel has all the tools needed to grow right out of the box. Laravel development provides a structural foundation for applications and helps streamline the process.
You can use Laravel to create a wide range of applications, from the simplest to the most complex. Specific types include:
- Data-related software solutions
- Content-focused websites, such as news and blogs
- Business software, including CRM and CMS
- E-commerce based software
- Social networking sites
Laravel can handle the high complexity required for enterprise applications that require a backend, including user accounts, exports, and order management systems. It can also help beginners create more durable and stable basic apps.
Laravel has a wide range of features that incorporate the core functionality of PHP frameworks like Yii, CodeIgniter, and other languages like Ruby on Rails. Laravel has a rich set of features to improve web application development speed. If you’re used to basic and advanced PHP, Laravel will make it easy for you. It saves you a lot of time if you plan to build a website from scratch. In addition, a website developed in Laravel is safe and avoids many attacks.
Why develop a web application with Laravel?
Web applications can deliver if your business is looking for increased marketing performance, inventory management efficiency, and customer service quality. One way to create such applications is by using a framework or a set of tools that make development faster and easier.
When you choose the right framework for your development projects, you get an improvement in the quality and functionality of the resulting web applications. Laravel is a popular and versatile PHP framework you should consider. Whether you use an in-house team or outsource app development to a development company, Laravel development can be your best option for building your web applications.
The MVC model
MVC (Model-View-Controller) is an architectural pattern used to break down an application into three fundamental parts:
- Data (Model).
- An interface to display and modify the data (View).
- The operations that can be performed on the data ( Controller).
Think of it like ordering a pizza. You call with a user request for a pepperoni pizza. As soon as your request is registered, the person making the pizza (the controller) deconstructs it in a series of steps: take the dough, turn on the oven, and sprinkle the grated cheese. The controller can only use the limited resources they have, that limited set of tools being the model: hands, oven, pizza tray, etc. As a result, you receive your pizza.
This way of structuring an application is useful because it helps separate elements into logical areas. It makes your code more organized, less fragile, and easier to debug. Laravel implements the MVC architecture as part of its design.
While creating an application, every developer must use some or other ways to secure the application. Laravel provides security to its framework. It uses a hashed and salted password, which indicates that the password will not be saved as plain text in the database. It uses the Bcrypt hashing algorithm to produce an encrypted password proof. Laravel uses out-of-the-box SQL statements that make injection attacks look amazing. At the same time, Laravel presents an easy way to escape user input to avoid user injection of the <script> tag.
Here are some security features offered by Laravel:
- Password storage
- Protect routes
- Manual user login
- User authentication
- Authentication Drivers
- Password reminders and reset
One of the big advantages of going with Laravel is the fact that it’s open source. The framework is distributed under the MIT license. By the way, Laravel has a strong community of development companies and developers who continuously offer support to build it more flexibly. Therefore, if you need to develop complex functionality, it is possible to take expert advice from the vast community and build your application according to your needs.
The Craftsman Tool
Laravel features a built-in tool named Artisan. A developer typically needs to interact with the Laravel framework using a command line that forms and manages the Laravel project ecosystem. This tool allows you to perform most of the monotonous and tedious programming tasks that most developers escape from performing manually.
The Laravel framework not only allows code to be structured according to MVC principles. This framework also has a nice, expressive syntax that makes Laravel object-oriented. By working with this PHP framework, developers get more than 20 pre-installed modular and object-oriented libraries and secondary tools to develop robust web applications. Thanks to them, software developers can adopt the most recent principles of the PHP language to facilitate the development of responsive and modular web applications.
Some of Laravel’s modules are so unique that they cannot be found in most other PHP frameworks. So, for example, Laravel’s authentication library helps ensure database security using features like encryption and CSRF protection.
On the other hand, several libraries are supported in both Laravel and Symfony. The fact that they both follow the MVC design pattern, allows for compatibility of code written using either framework. This code can thus be created by following the best practices of PHP development and, subsequently, be easily modified and maintained.
Unit tests are much less of a hassle to run on your PHP code with Laravel. The framework supports out-of-the-box testing functionality. It contains tests that detect and prevent regressions in the framework, and, notably, unit tests can be run through the bundled Artisan command line utility we discussed above.
Laravel has a specific set of features that allow unit testing through PHPUnit, a well-established unit testing package for PHP. Once the phpunit.xml file is automatically configured to perform unit tests, Laravel runs tests on Feature and Unit directories.
The former is for larger codebases containing multiple objects, while the latter is for small portions of code. Laravel developers can explicitly evaluate specific web application functionality by performing unit testing through the PHP unit. With Laravel, developers don’t need to rely on third-party tools to efficiently run feature and unit tests. They are both natively supported and can therefore be constantly monitored, which is important for software quality control.
Not only official Laravel packages are useful for integrating different features into the application, but developers can also define custom test methods according to specific testing requirements. They are free to configure functions that can help create more advanced unit tests. With Laravel, writing unit tests takes a lot of time. Laravel’s testing features that are used appropriately make PHP applications bug-free and high performing.
Since Laravel can run multiple unit tests simultaneously to ensure that all your new changes are properly tested, considering all this, we can conclude that testing with Laravel will cost you less than other PHP frameworks. Its unit testing features will allow developers to build scalable applications faster and, therefore, on a budget.
The migration system
For developers, one aspect to worry about is keeping the database in sync between development machines. With Laravel, database migrations it’s extremely simple. After long work hours, you may have made several changes to the database. In our opinion, MySQL Workbench is not an appropriate technique for synchronizing databases between development machines. Provided you keep all the database work in seeds and migrations, you can migrate the variations to other development devices you own. This is another reason that claims Laravel is the best PHP framework.
Eloquent ORM ( Object Relational Mapping )
Laravel Eloquent ORM comes with the Laravel framework to provide an easy, hassle-free, straightforward way to work with a database. Some of the features due to which it is famous are soft deletion, timestamps, ActiveRecord implementation, multiple database management, eager loading, model watchers, model events, and much more. Eloquent relations are identical to the method of Eloquent model classes. Relations are powerful query builders, defined as method-chaining helper methods and powerful query capabilities.
Eloquent ORM is famous for its active record implementation for working with databases. ActiveRecord is an architectural pattern in which each pattern made in the MVC architecture corresponds to a table in the database. You can easily create relationship data in your database and work with the object-oriented model using Eloquent. SQL queries are so tedious and time-consuming when it comes to code. Laravel Eloquent allows you to perform common database operations without lengthy SQL queries. Templates made inserting, updating, deleting and synchronizing multiple databases very easy. You just need to define the database tables, and the relationship between them and your job is done.
Create your application with Laravel
What are the key steps?
Creating a web application with Laravel is a very organized and comprehensive process where the main goal is to develop a product that meets your business needs. In most cases, it consists of several stages. At each stage, your dedicated team must take care of different aspects, such as product design and, more importantly, efficient code.
We have listed the 6 main steps based on our work and experience. Proper planning is crucial when developing a new product, so we always follow a proven process and use the best methods. So let’s get to the steps. See what the process looks like in practice:
- Complex analysis
- Product design
- Maintenance and further development
Each step is equally important, but at the very beginning, you need to understand the scope of the project, its specifics, and your business goals.
Of course, the web application development process always takes time, and the final delivery time depends on the scope of work and the type of features. The same goes for the project costs (if you are wondering about your project, you can contact us for more information ).
The first fundamental step in developing a web application is thoroughly analyzing the project and its most important elements. Your development team should explore your needs, the scope of the project, and the functionality needed.
To make a successful product, you must prepare the right strategy and think about your idea, including analyzing your target. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How does the product solve my target’s problems?
- Who are the target users, and what do they need?
- How do I correctly target their needs with my new product?
It should all start with testing your idea from different angles. After a detailed project analysis, the dedicated team can prepare project cost estimates, proposals for the team working towards the project’s success, technological proposals, etc.
What can help you understand your product? A Storming Event workshop is a useful technique that helps you see how your application performs when certain processes run. At Yes We Dev, we always encourage our customers to participate in this workshop. It brings valuable insights and allows them to look at the product from a broader perspective.
The workshop’s main objective is to analyze all the events in the application and visualize its functioning, giving you information on the necessary integrations to be implemented and allowing you to draw conclusions to help you make the right business decisions in the future. Wondering what the process looks like in practice?
Planning the development process
Understanding your needs is essential for the next step in the development process. As part of the planning phase, the dedicated team comprehensively prepares an action plan, considering the time needed to implement the project.
Naturally, the next steps become much easier after the Storming Event workshop and a thorough analysis of the project’s scope. Your technical partner can determine the time and specialists needed to achieve the most important objectives.
Depending on your needs, it is recommended that you have a kickoff meeting before the developers start writing the first line of code. It is a useful meeting that provides an opportunity to discuss the next steps, meet the team, and establish communication rules and a project management method.
Feature releases are cyclical as the process is based on the Scrum methodology. This iterative process aims to divide the work into smaller parts and deliver them at regular intervals. During the planning phase, we define future meetings, including daily meetings, two-week sprints, and retrospective meetings after sprint reviews. The purpose of these meetings is to share feedback and constantly work to increase the effectiveness of the project.
The design stage involves creating a wireframe or prototype to communicate the solution to the target users. The developers will base the design on elements that provide a pleasant user experience for this audience. It is when we must carefully consider the product’s visual side and its UX/UI design.
Let’s briefly explain what UX and UI design mean, as these phrases are essential in today’s world.
In short, UX (i.e. user experience) refers to the intuitiveness of navigation and operation of the application. UI (i.e. user interface) focuses primarily on visual design. A well-designed UX and user interface are a big part of a successful IT product: Intuitive navigation and user-friendly design attract customers and influence positive opinions about the product.
The work may differ depending on the project. We can create a dedicated design or prepare suitable prototypes using proven tools. Interface development requires you to pay attention to every detail so that the product is functional and user-friendly.
Web application development
In this phase, you start the web application development process, and the developers start writing code. The process is managed by a dedicated project manager who ensures smooth cooperation between the development team and the client.
You have probably already heard of the agile methodology or sprints. As we mentioned earlier, development is an iterative process, usually in a strictly defined cycle broken down into smaller stages. Through this process, feature releases occur cyclically and continuously, and individual features are released in two-week sprints (or with another pace).
Developers will then present the wireframe to potential users, record their feedback, and make adjustments until they are satisfied. Once the design is ready, it’s time to create the application. Several steps will occur during this phase:
- Create a database. The developers will determine the data and data types needed for the application to work properly and create a database for storage.
- Front-end development. Developers will create the app’s interface based on user-approved elements during the wireframing process.
- Backend development. The developers will create an interaction between the user and the server.
Product testing is also carried out regularly during the development process to detect errors as quickly as possible. After completing the work on the dedicated app, we need to comprehensively test the entire product. Testers click on each element of the application to identify errors. Skipping the tests can cause the application to malfunction in the future, as well as additional costs. After testing, the app is ready for official release.
Launch and maintenance
It’s time to launch your product! Product release is a very positive moment, so you can celebrate the end of the time-consuming app development process. You can also collect early feedback from early adopters. Then you can adjust our work according to your needs and provide additional support in developing your product.
After launching the app, you need to keep monitoring it. Monitoring and further development of web applications aim to follow the operation of your product to detect errors as quickly as possible. Always implement application monitoring tools that enable fast response times during an outage. Monitoring ensures that your application is secure, functions properly and is attractive to your target group.
This step is also about collecting information about the product and ideas for improving it in the future. You can increase its attractiveness and reach new users by constantly developing the application.
To conclude, developing web applications in Laravel is a comprehensive and well-planned activity covering the entire product lifecycle. We hope this article has helped you understand the business value of each step and learn the most important definitions. It should be noted that we have presented this process based on our experience. It may differ slightly depending on your technical partner’s working system. However, the core of this work should be the same.
FAQ: 3 questions about Laravel for your web applications
What is Laravel?
Laravel is a well-known free, open-source PHP web framework originally envisioned and created by Taylor Otwell. From the start, the software was intended for developing web applications, especially those that follow the MVC architectural pattern (or model-view-controller pattern) based on Symfony (another web application framework).
What is a PHP framework?
PHP frameworks streamline the development of web applications written in PHP by providing a standard framework for developing web applications. In simpler terms, PHP frameworks help endorse rapid application development (RAD), which saves you a lot of time, helps develop more stable applications, and decreases the amount of repetitive coding for developers.
Can I learn Laravel without PHP?
Laravel is PHP at its core, so learning Laravel without having a good command of PHP isn’t very productive. You will not be able to build additional functionality, and you will be completely dependent on those delivered by Laravel as part of the framework. You need PHP and OOP concepts to understand what’s going on under the hood and use Laravel to its full potential.