Software development is tricky. It can be complex and insanely simple both at the same time. You can spend the majority of your time testing and re-testing the simplest elements within your software, and sometimes it can feel like you spend more time working on one particular area of your software than the entire software overall.
This is where a PHP Framework like Laravel comes in. Laravel is essentially a collection of all of the little parts which would take you quite a while to develop yourself, such as Database Migrations or a Templating Engine. These aren’t small parts of a piece of software that would need creating. Laravel already has it.
Laravel comes with an in-built PHP testing suite, which is essential for Test Driven Development. This greatly speeds up development as you never have to leave the safety of your code editor.
Typically you have to make a change, load the web application in your browser, check that the change worked, then make another change. With Test Driven Development (TDD) you do not have to do this, as you write tests which describe what you as a developer expect this piece of code to do, and then you write that piece of code to do that until it passes the test.
Additionally, Laravel comes pre-bundled with all of the front-end pre-processors which you would ever need. Things you would typically have to configure such as gulp, bower and webpack are already pre-configured using Laravel Elixir, a tool which uses Laravel’s in-built methods to achieve the same thing you would do if you were writing it yourself.
One of my favourite things about Laravel is that it’s entirely modular. This means that if there’s a particular component within the Laravel PHP Framework which you like, you can pull it out.
A great example of this is the ORM, or Object Relational Mapping tool. In Laravel this is called Eloquent and lets you call methods in human readable ways, such as first() and last() in order to get the first or last records in a database table.
This can be taken out of Laravel and used in an external project, which will ensure that you do not have to write this part of your application from scratch. This is one of the reasons why Laravel is the tool for Rapid Application Development.
Another thing I like about Laravel, is that it is just a great base to start from. It’s maintained by thousands of contributors to open source, it receives constant updates, and anyone can submit a contribution into it’s review process. This means that it is not only well tested, but it is secure and has an entire community dedicated to support and sharing new ideas.
Laravel isn’t a CMS, it’s a framework. This means that you’re only ever limited by your own imagination. It’s built on top of other popular framework components, which are also well-tested. As such, Laravel is suited for any type of application. Whether it’s a huge enterprise project, or a JSON API. Laravel provides us with an accessible, powerful and easy to understand toolkit which we can use to get started.