Since its beta launched in 2011, there’s been a growing appreciation for one of the most dynamic and advanced PHP frameworks on the web: Laravel. Created by Taylor Otwell, Laravel has been adopted by global brands like the BBC and many of our clients. But what is Laravel? And why is Laravel so popular?

For a web development agency like Cyber-Duck, there’s nothing more important than the quality of the technology we use. At the end of the day, if we don’t utilise the most efficient and exciting technologies in the market, our clients will see a drop in the quality of their products and miss some of the most recent technology innovations. We’re not prepared to let that happen, which is why we only use the best tech in the business. It’s why we use Laravel. This PHP framework allows us to create tailored applications, using our user-centred approach, that focus on our clients' needs.

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We use Laravel because it's a dynamic PHP framework. We are proud to be a Laravel Partner.

Simply put, Laravel is one of the most popular PHP frameworks, allowing brands to develop advanced and scalable back-end systems to power portals, systems and apps. Designed by Taylor Otwell in 2011, Laravel emulates close-knit web development frameworks like Ruby on Rails and ASP.NET. It comes from a scripting background, which means it doesn’t need a compiler to interpret its code base. The technical jargon may make it sound complicated, but Laravel is anything but. It’s all about making coding simpler, more efficient and more powerful. 

To tell you a little more about Laravel and why we use it here at Cyber-Duck, it’s important for you to understand a few of the basic elements of web development. Once we’ve done that, we’ll show you how a prime web development technology like Laravel can help your organisation to succeed in today’s market.

What is a web development framework?

Firstly, let’s answer the very basic and fundamental question: what is a web development framework?

A web development framework is a collection of tools and resources that enable faster and easier development and support of web software, including web applications, web services and websites. Frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Zend Framework, and our preferred PHP framework Laravel, come with different capabilities, but generally, they will include at least the following tools:

  • Templates so you can present information in a browser
  • A routing system to allow the application to respond to requests
  • User authentication and security solutions
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) like an ORM (Object Relational Mapping) to access data and resources
  • User input handling and validation (forms)

In a word, frameworks speed up development because they provide ready-made solutions for typical tasks. They allow developers to generate the bulk of code through streamlined workflows and libraries.

Where does Laravel fit into this? Laravel is a PHP web development framework, and it’s our preferred framework here at Cyber-Duck. It enables us to build exciting digital products for our clients. The BBC, JustPark, MYJAR, Toyota and many more have used it to build their websites and applications. So now you know about what a web development framework is, let’s look at how Laravel works.

Laravel in the world of frameworks

Frameworks work by providing developers with the tools they need to build digital products. But it’s vital that you present the tools of a framework in a logical fashion. That’s where a model-view-controller (MVC) architectural pattern helps.

Commonly, frameworks use a model-view-controller (MVC) architectural pattern. An MVC pattern splits software development into three symbiotic layers to provide a better architecture.

  • The Model is the data layer. It takes data from the database and packages it into objects that other components use.
  • The View takes the data from the computer and presents it to the user in your chosen UI / format, normally within a web browser or mobile interface.
  • The Controller is the bridge between the model and the view. It processes logic and incoming requests. It manipulates data in the Model and allows users to interact with that data by rendering it in the View.

Laravel on the other hand, applies the MVC pattern and expands it with a few extra layers (like requests, responses, middlewares) that allow developers to create applications that are better tailored to project requirements – for example, an application that delivers content to multiple platforms and does not need Views, but Auth and Responses. As a result, Laravel streamlines the software development process whilst allowing us to create the best solution, which is just one reason why it’s the perfect PHP framework for your business.

Why should you use Laravel?

In addressing how MVC and the extended pattern that underpins Laravel, we’ve started to show why Laravel is such a flexible PHP web development framework. However, the great things about Laravel don’t stop there. It is the following features that mean Laravel can help your organisation to succeed in today’s market.

Tiago using Laravel

Laravel has a host of pre-installed libraries that serve to cut development time and therefore costs.

One of the most positive elements of Laravel is the fact that it comes with a host of pre-installed libraries. First up, you have the API integration library, which provides restful controllers to separate the logic that serves HTTP GET and POST requests. In practice, this features means Laravel is one of the best frameworks for routing requests from a web development framework into other applications. Simply put, it’s perfect for integrating APIs and introducing greater functionality to your digital products.

Artisan is a command line interface that comes bundled with Laravel, it allows developers interact with Laravel very easily. It can be used to create projects, execute migrations, seeding content, scaffolding, add functionality, and more.

Elsewhere, Laravel is renowned for its expressive migration system, data seeding (to pre-populate content or default settings on a new application), and out of the box unit testing. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel when it comes to writing scripts, unit tests, and general quality assurance (QA).

Great documentation and a sense of permanently staying up to date is another reason why Laravel is a great choice.

Finally, you can also use the template engine Blade to structure your views in a logical way and create standardised components. You’ll also be able to build forms quicker and easier.

Hopefully, you’ve noticed a recurring theme here. From the ground up, Laravel is geared toward saving you time and money on web development. It comes replete with a host of pre-installed libraries and ready-made packages – which we will address next – that streamline the development process and leave you with both beautiful code and enticing products.

What ready-made packages does Laravel have?

While the pre-installed libraries are very useful, you’ll also find ready-made packages in Laravel that improve its offering further.

Like gems in Ruby on Rails, Laravel also has ready-made bundles and packages that make it easy for start-ups and teams to customise popular functionality. These include:

  • Billing services (Cashier) – Laravel 4.2 saw the first introduction of Cashier, an interface that facilitates managing subscription billing services provided by Stripe, including coupon handling and generating invoices.
  • File system – Laravel’s file system abstraction layer allows local file systems and cloud-based services provided by Amazon S3 and Rackspace Cloud to be used transparently and in the same way.
  • Social integration – Socialite provides simplified mechanisms for authentication with different OAuth providers, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, GitHub, and Bitbucket.
  • Administration panel – Nova is a Laravel administration panel that allows you to do away with clunky custom dashboards and to administrate the application without storing it in the database.
  • Debugging application – Telescope is a debugging assistant for Laravel. It provides insights on incoming requests to your application, including exceptions, log entries, database queries, queued jobs, mail, notifications, cache operations, scheduled tasks, and variable dumps.
  • Queue monitor – Horizon is a dashboard for your Laravel powered Redis queues. Horizon allows the monitoring of key metrics of your queue system, like processes and job failures.
  • Development and testing environment – that can be made available quickly, which makes start working with Laravel a painless task.

Combined with the pre-installed libraries, these ready-made packages make Laravel a formidable PHP web development framework.

A thriving community supports Laravel

A web development framework is only ever as good as the community that supports it, which is another reason that Laravel works so well. Laravel has a thriving community of dedicated developers. You need only look at LaraChat and Laracasts to see that this is the case.

LaraChat is the Slack community for Laravel developers, where over 25,000 members congregate to discuss and help build a better PHP framework. Meanwhile, Laracasts is a subscription service that you can use to learn Laravel for as little as $15 a month.

Top reasons to use Laravel

In summary, Laravel is one of the best PHP web development frameworks out there because:

  • It has a robust ecosystem
  • It has a thriving community
  • It has great learning resources like Laracasts behind it
  • It has a powerful set of libraries (templating, data, auth and more)
  • It has an array of ready-made bundles to utilise
  • It makes great use of the latest technologies and techniques

In addition, all parts of a Laravel-based application are made as a "service". This means that it's easy to horizontally scale a Laravel application to handle lots of traffic in a load-balanced environment, like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure.

It is because of all this and more that Cyber-Duck is a proud Laravel Partner. We’re one of several elite shops that provide high-quality Laravel development and consulting services – perfect for helping you to build an enticing digital project.

Work with us

If you’re searching for a Laravel development agency in London and Leeds, look no further than Cyber-Duck. We are expert PHP developers who specialise in Laravel and are skilled at delivering custom content management systems and engaging digital products for our clients.

We’ve worked with the Bank of England, Mitsubishi Electric and Thomas Cook Money, among many others. Want to join them and benefit from our Laravel web development agency’s expertise? Get in touch today.

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Danny Bluestone

Founder & CEO

Danny founded Cyber-Duck in 2005 with one goal in mind: to create exceptional user experiences for global brands.

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