So I’ve been playing around with Laravel for a while at work building an event management app and there’s a few things I’ve been wanting to talk about in regards to Laravel and how much I’m enjoying it.
Laravel is awesome – Firstly I think we need to cover this. Laravel is the first PHP framework that I’ve used that feels straight up nerd baller and exactly what I want in a framework. Laravel has a great community around it with a lot of the championing being done by Jeffrey Way. I recently finished my NoseyHam project in straight PHP and that was great but I did learn why MVC and OOP is such a thing now. The Laravel docs are really great at explaining what is required to set up and get started with Laravel and if you’ve ever played with Rails you’ll understand how much easier it is to just copy/paste a directory into your server rather than installing Ruby/Rails and setting up some sort of Rack environment.
Laravel Docs are awesome – The documentation going along with Laravel is super good and although some parts are not the best and lack some information the IRC channel (#laravel) is filled with knowledgeable people willing to help and point you in the right direction. The presentation of the documentation is really good as well with the design being far better than other open source projects. This makes the information readable and easier to learn from. Something else I’m really enjoying about the docs is that most parts are seperated into “Configuration” and “Usage”. I really like this because it let’s me deal with each task without getting distracted by the other, there is a wealth of information in both sections and most standard configurations.
Extra resources – I said above that Laravel documentation can sometimes lack certain ideas, features or specifics and for that you have Code Happy by Dayle Rees, which is the best Laravel resource I’ve looked at. It works in a similar way to Michael Hartls – Rails Tutorial and is a fantastic help if you’re missing a bit of extra information, Dayle is also pretty active in #laravel on Freenode so if you’ve got any further questions about the text he can help you there. This book covers all the topics in the documentation and presents them in a very pretty way with the help of a red panda. If Laravel is giving you trouble and you don’t know what to do then Code Happy is the place to go.
Eloquent ORM/Database – Eloquent is gorgeous, I’m so glad there is something equivalent to ActiveRecord. I use Eloquent at every opportunity within my Laravel app and only don’t use it when it is entirely impractical or unavailable at which point there is Fluent Query Builder or just straight SQL. PHP has the great benefit of requiring no structure. The way the web works allows PHP to be dropped in to complete a simple function quickly or to create an entire app and Laravel leverages this when you’re hitting the database you can use Eloquent as planned or drop in the other ways of creating SQL. Eloquent itself has a lot of the features of ActiveRecord and works fantastically when you want to do basic CRUD stuff, I haven’t had the chance to do much with more advanced topics but for 99% of apps Eloquent can do what you want it to. Being able to run migrations and use the schema builder feels so good in PHP in a modern MVC way.
That’s all for now. This article doesn’t say much but I just wanted to get some thoughts out there about this great framework.