Laravel Introduction, Tutorials, and Resources

Laravel is a web application development framework for PHP. It makes the task of building a database-backed PHP app much easier than if you simply started from scratch.

An application development framework provides a well-integrated set of tools for building an app:

  • generic components for features that are common to almost all apps, such as user login and session management;
  • automated development tools, such as package managers, deployment managers, code generation, and testing suites;
  • "boilerplate" code templates.

Many frameworks, including Laravel, also provide an architectural paradigm — that is, a way of organizing and designing an application's source code. Laravel uses the "Model View Controller" (MVC) paradigm, which is popular among web frameworks. In the MVC architecture, an app's code is organized into three main components:

  • Model, which defines the data structure and communicates with a database;
  • View, which handles the interface between the application and users;
  • Controller, which manages data flow and communication between the Model and the View.

All these features make building an app in Laravel much faster than building from scratch. This makes Laravel a popular tool for rapid PHP development.

Laravel Tutorials

Additional Learning Resources

A large number of sites have excellent collections of Laravel tutorials covering a wide variety of specific topics.

These are good to dive into once you've gotten through one or two of the more introductory tutorials and have a basic handle on the framework.

Reference

Tools

  • Lumen is a "micro-framework" from the Laravel team. It is designed to work with Laravel, and provides minimalist tools for writing micro-services and APIs.
  • Orchestra is a suite of content management system tools for building CMS applications on Laravel.
  • Laravel Homestead is an official, pre-packaged virtual machine manager, designed to provide an easy-to-use development environment for working with Laravel. Homestead is built on Vagrant.

Community

Books on Laravel

There are a lot of really bad books on Laravel. We don't want you to accidentally find yourself reading one of them. So here are our top picks for good books to help you learn the framework.

  • Laravel: Up and Running: A Framework for Building Modern PHP Apps (2016), by Matt Stauffer, is an up-to-date, complete book on Laravel, intended for people just getting started with the framework. If you can only buy one book on Laravel, this is probably the one to get.
  • Code Happy (2012), by Dayle Rees, is probably the best dead-tree book for beginners starting to learn the Laravel framework. It was written by one of the core developers, and presents the information in a straightforward and well-organized manner.
  • Laravel Reference Guide (2016), by Sheikh Heera, is a great general resource for beginners and intermediate Laravel users, covering everything from installation and setup to advanced topics.
  • Laravel Application Development Blueprints (2013), by Kiliçdagi and Yilmaz, is aimed at intermediate to advanced Laravel developers. It introduces a number of app projects and sketches out the most important aspects of building each. It does not provide complete code examples for each project, but rather lays out a general plan (or "blueprint"), giving the reader a good idea of how to approach each project.
  • Laravel 5.1 Beauty: Creating Beautiful Web Apps in Laravel 5.1 (2015), by Chuck Heintzelman, is a highly opinionated book for experienced Laravel developers, covering best practices, workflow, development tools, design patterns, and other high-level topics.
  • Laravel Application Development Cookbook (2013), by Terry Matula, is another desk-reference and ideas book, containing over 90 ideas, snippets, and solutions to common problems.
  • Learning Laravel's Eloquent (2015), by Francesco Malatesta, covers Eloquent, Laravel's object relational mapper (ORM). If you work with a relational database like MySQL, and you are confused about how ActiveRecord works, this is the book for you.
  • Laravel 5.x Cookbook (2016), by Alfred Nutile, serves as a great desk-reference for Laravel programmers. It provides a wide variety of design patterns and typical solutions to cproblems commonly encountered by developers using the framework.
  • Laravel Design Patterns and Best Practices (2014), by Kiliçdagi and Yilmaz, applies the architectural concept of design patterns to the Laravel framework. This is not a book for beginners, but experiences PHP programmers will get a lot out of it.
  • Mastering Laravel (2015), by Christopher John Pecoraro, is a good introduction to Laravel for people who have worked with other PHP frameworks. It is not recommended for beginners.
  • Learning Laravel 4 Application Development (2013), by Hardik Dangar, is a solid book on using the Laravel framework, designed for people with little Laravel experience but with at least an intermediate understanding of PHP and object oriented programming.

Should I learn Laravel?

Laravel is one of the more popular PHP development frameworks. If you've been learning PHP, building small applications, or working with WordPress, you really should get a handle on working with one or more development frameworks. Laravel is a great place to start.


Further Reading and Resources

We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to web development:

What Code Should You Learn?

Confused about what programming language you should learn to code in? Check out our infographic, What Code Should You Learn? It not only discusses different aspects of the languages, it answers important questions such as, "How much money will I make programming PHP for a living?"