What is Laravel Programming; What Are Its Benefits and Challenges?
If you have not heard of Laravel development, you may wish to find out more about this web development framework before you choose your own project approach to development.
In this article, we explore Laravel as a foundation for development option, and we discuss the benefits of Laravel for your business and clients, as well as some of the challenges of Laravel development. And, we have also provided some development considerations for your business team to include in its Laravel project planning.
What is Laravel?
The Laravel development framework uses the PHP general-purpose scripting language as the foundation for its Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework. It is available as an open-source product. Its ecosystem includes nearly twenty-five (25) tools and options to simplify coding, testing, scaffolding, deployment, monitoring, server management, authentication and more. Its Laravel Vapor product is a serverless deployment platform that is powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), and its Forge solution provides provision and deployment for PHP applications on DigitalOcean, Vultr, Amazon, Akamai, Hetzner and other platforms. Its Envoyer product is designed to simplify deployment.
TechJury reports that there are nearly 45,000 businesses currently using Laravel for development projects. Laravel is the foundation for nearly 750,000 global websites, and that number is rapidly increasing in the computer, electronics and technology vertical industries, in eCommerce and Digital Marketing, and in the science and education, government and law, and arts, and entertainment industries. Most of its global focus is in the United States, with the United Kingdom, Russia, India and Brazil following the U.S. in Laravel popularity.
The initial success of Laravel was driven by its PHP-based framework. PHP is a well-known development approach with a twenty-five year reputation and nearly 50% of the global development. The fact that Laravel has chosen PHP as its underpinning, gives it an advantage as it grows its own market and as its popularity grows in the technology sector it has gained recognition among developers.
As Laravel expands its targeted toolkit and features to support simple, rapid development, it gains more popularity among PHP developers and in the market in general, and today it is used by many world-renowned businesses, including:
Pfizer –Pfizer is a pharmaceutical company with a large research component, an extensive pharmaceutical product line and manufacturing facilities. The Pfizer brand is well-known around the world and, most especially, because of its recent involvement in creating and distributing vaccines to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
BBC – The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcasting business established in 1922. It focuses on sports, news, and world coverage via broadcast TV, radio and online media outlets.
Publishers Clearing House – Publishers Clearing House (aka PCH FrontPage) reaches the public via a website and advertising to promote its sweepstakes business. It uses its website to provide news and information about music, movies, television and world news topics including politics, science and technology. Site visitors can earn ‘tokens’ by searching and clicking through videos and articles and apply those tokens to win prizes. The site also allows visitors to register for sweepstakes and lotteries.
Invoice Ninja – Invoice Ninja provides software apps to help businesses invoice clients and track and monitor expenses, tasks and projects.
TourRadar – TourRadar is a travel site that allows site visitors to find and register for tours of sites of interest and destinations around the world.
Benefits of Laravel Application Development
There are many reasons to choose Laravel and its PHP underpinning for your software application, and web development needs.
Time-to-Market, Project Savings – Because Laravel has designed its tools and development solutions to be easy-to-use and loaded numerous features and functions into pre-programmed bundles, the business can save time on custom coding, thereby cutting costs by approximately 35%.
Multi-Language Support – You can design and develop your product or solution in multiple languages. So, if yours is a global business, you can satisfy clients, customers and stakeholders around the world with a web application to suit your needs.
Security and Privacy – No matter your market or business focus, site security is paramount to protecting to your business and mitigating risk, both for your own confidential information and for the information you gather and protect on behalf of your customers, partners, stakeholders, suppliers and employees. Laravel security tools and techniques ensure that your business will not risk its reputation, its brand or financial ruin.
Upgrades and Bug Fixes – The Laravel approach to solution development includes many built-in tools and bundles with robust documentation and simple code maintenance for bug fixes and upgrades. As your solution grows and changes, your business can easily upgrade features and leverage bundles, programs and packages to complete upgrades and bug fixes quickly and easily and get to market with these new features to generate more revenue.
Flexibility and Scalability – As you move data from legacy and existing systems to the new Laravel system, you can migrate data easily and quickly, making project completion easier, faster and less expensive, and Laravel can support your business as it grows with scalable architecture to add more locations, more users and more data volume.
Laravel has bundled and programmed numerous functions and tools so that developers can save time and effort.
One of the reasons Laravel is popular among developers is its multi-layered security features which guard against request forgery, cross-site scripting and other issues as well as its multiple file systems and packaging capabilities.
Developers report that the Laravel approach of separating the backend code from the frontend code is a benefit and supports simple bug fixes and upgrades.
Here are a few other reasons developers like Laravel:
- Messaging and Mail Integration – Laravel has a mail API service that supports text and email via cloud and local servers.
- User Authentication and Access Authorization – The Laravel authentication process is fast and easy to use.
- URL Routing – Laravel developers can create and publish a package simply by adding two lines of code and plugging the package in, thereby saving time, resources and effort.
- Security and Privacy – Laravel provides a built-in system to defend against cross-site request forgery and scripting and against SQL injection.
- Automated Testing – Laravel includes out-of-the-box testing capability with PHP unit testing from within the application. Developers can test by function or test an entire site.
- In-App Smart Scheduling – The Laravel command scheduler allows the team to schedule command forms with one server entry.
- Site visitors and end-users will enjoy the benefits of Laravel, starting with the fact that a customer can easily communicate with the business no matter what messaging platform the business is using.
- Laravel offers robust support for user messaging to receive emails, acknowledge orders, provide receipts, provide tracking information and remind users of subscriptions and renewals.
- Laravel provides seamless messaging and it provides design templates that are designed to be responsive on desktops, tablets and smart phones, so customers will enjoy a high-performance experience, no matter what device they are using.
- If your site requires users to complete a form, you can ensure a positive customer experience by providing Laravel capabilities to handle exceptions. When a user enters the wrong information in a form field, the system is designed to handle the error so the user is not frustrated and the transaction can continue.
- Laravel provides many options for templates so the business can offer the site visitor the right branding, navigation and flow to complete a task, find information and quickly move on. These templates are well-tested and proven, so your users do not have to worry about errors, misdirection or poor navigation.
Challenges of Laravel Application Development
When it comes to development frameworks, tools and techniques, no one option is perfect for everyone. Knowing your own requirements and working with developers that can advise you and recommend the best solution for your project will go a long way toward a successful project outcome.
That said, no article on Laravel (or any other development framework) would be complete without looking at some of the challenges and drawbacks of working with a particular approach. When it comes to Laravel, there are a few we will mention here.
Laravel Experience and Skill – While Laravel developers will typically tell you that Laravel is easy to learn and use (especially if you are familiar with PHP), it is easy for less experienced developers to overestimate their expertise and, if your project requires an extensive knowledge of the packages, tools, extensions and techniques, you may find it hard to get the results you want. Later in this article, we will talk about the considerations you should include when planning a Laravel project, and we will include some skillsets and information you can use to address this issue.
Laravel Support – There is an active development community so design and development teams can access advice and discuss issues, but the support function for Laravel is limited. So, if your team is looking for technical support and advice, you will find a lot of documentation but less robust support access. This limited access to support may cause downtime if your development team is not highly skilled and experienced in navigating the Laravel environment.
Laravel Features and Framework – Laravel has an extensive suite of features, tools and bundles to streamline the development process and save you time and money. But when it is compared to other web development frameworks, its feature set is slimmer. If your is a complex, heavy-weight web application, Laravel can accommodate the development process, but it will take some time to configure and coordinate the feature set and environment.
Laravel Updates – The Laravel team provides a lot of updates but this can become an issue for a project team that must constantly review updates and decide on when, where and how (or if) to apply these updates to existing projects. Updates may also require that programmers and developers stay abreast of new skills and information about the latest features, functionality and approaches within a package, a program, an extension or a tool.
Laravel Speed – When compared to other web frameworks, Laravel is not particularly fast. Depending on your requirements and needs, this may be a consideration for your business and your users. Laravel Cost – While Laravel development can be very cost-effective if you have the right development resources and team, it is not the least expensive web framework. It is open-source, but some of its tools like Forge and Vapor are products for sale. If you choose to engage a partner to develop your solution, your development team should have existing knowledge, skill and experience in the Laravel environment. If you are considering your own team, you will have to invest in the time and training to get your team up to speed and deal with a significant learning curve.
Development Considerations for Laravel Projects
As with any software development project, you will want to assess your needs, the needs of the market and your customers before you choose a development environment and start working on your web application.
Your requirements must include your technology landscape, hardware, network, and support systems, as well as any integration of data sources. The more detailed your requirements for features and functionality, the more likely your Laravel Consulting Partner can meet your needs, without rework.
If you are struggling to decide how much to add to your web application in the way of features and functionality, you may wish to design a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with basic features that your test audience can leverage to give you feedback on what is mandatory to have, what is missing and how users might want to change navigation or features to meet their needs. If you need detailed information on the MVP process, please refer to our article ‘MVP Software Development: Everything You Need to Know (The What, Why and How).’
The ability to pinpoint your target audience will drive a lot of development decisions. You will need to know what types of devices they use (see the section below for further detail), and the target demographic, languages, what kinds of features they expect, how you will fill the gaps of competitive products to attract these customers, etc. Knowing your target audience will help you develop the product, the roadmap for future upgrades and the marketing and advertising messages.
As you develop your product expectations, you will fold in the information you have from your technology requirements, your target audience, your initial set of features (perhaps culled from an MVP launch), and when and how you will upgrade. You will want to address the expected speed of development and launch, and manage your expectations accordingly. If you are creating a complex mobile application, your schedule and budget must be adjusted accordingly.
Devices, Web, Etc.
Your product plans must incorporate the type of devices, or a list of devices or access points you want for your mobile application. Will you design your Laravel product, app or solution to run on desktops, via the web, on tablets or on smart phones (or all of those)? All of these devices have different issues, resolution concerns, navigation considerations, screen sizes, and data access and integration concerns.
Budget, Schedule, Resources
Based on all of your requirements and the research you have done, you must now put together a budget, a schedule, and the resources to develop your Laravel solution. Because most businesses (big and small) want a cost-effective method to develop a customer product or an internal business user solution, you will want to seriously consider engaging an expert, skilled, IT consulting partner – one with the resources to provide Laravel skills and the extensive knowledge of PHP, of the market, development tools, the framework, and platforms, etc. While you can consider services like Laracasts for developers to educate and train a team, this process will take time and the resulting team will not be flexible to adapt to changes during the project if you add features or run into a snag. Once you have a budget and a schedule, you will want to stick to the timeline and mitigate additional expense. Engaging a skilled consulting partner will help you stay on track.
Engage an IT Consulting Partner
You can build your software team with dedicated resources to work on your project and guide you to project completion, and through upgrades and maintenance, without the need for your business to hire, train and house a development team. Hire Laravel programmers that are dedicated to your project for a one-time project or for ongoing maintenance, support and upgrades.
What Skills, Experience and Knowledge Will Your Business Need to Complete a Laravel Project?
Whether you want to develop a technology solution, a content management system (CMS), an eCommerce product or an educational outreach site, you will need the right skills and experience to complete a Laravel project.
Laravel leverages PHP and integrates technologies including MySQL for database management, HTML5 to structure and present your content JQuery for the user interface and Angular to build the web app. Be sure that your prospective IT consulting partner has these skills and the numerous others required to address any and all of your requirements.
- Technical Feasibility
- Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Design and Deployment
- Tool and Package Integration
- Device, Platform and Third-Party Integration
- Project Management
- Architectural Design
- Product Design and Development
- Laravel and PHP Development
- Laravel and PHP Support
- Back-End API Development with Laravel Lumen Microservices
- Application Design, Development, Maintenance and Support
- Application Re-Engineering
- User Interface Design
- Deployment, Maintenance and Support
- Security, Privacy, Standards and Compliance
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- Quality Management Methodologies and Certification
- Migration Services
- Product Roadmaps
- PHP, MySQL, HTML5, JQuery and Angular Skills
- Content Management Systems (CMS) and Portals (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.)
- eCommerce Development
There are many reasons to like Laravel as a web application development environment. Not the least of these is that Laravel is built on a secure, dependable PHP foundation and that it can accommodate all types of devices to allow user access from anywhere, so your target demographic can be satisfied. It satisfies multiple languages and is suitable for global web apps and for simple apps alike. While there are some challenges to the Laravel development environment, they are easily overcome with expert skills and experience and a team that can assess your requirements and be sure you are choosing the right environment, then get you where you want to go with design, development and deployment that will leverage all the potential of the Laravel framework.
Laravel allows your development team to work quickly with bundles, and integrated functionality and it offers developers robust documentation for reference and workflow, so the programmers are free to create, code, test and deploy. It has a strong, secured foundation and is scalable so your business can grow and adapt to the market with additional features, adding users and functionality as required.
If your business selects Laravel to complete a web application, be sure to choose an IT consulting partner that has a trained, skilled team at your disposal with dedicated resources and experience to satisfy your industry or vertical market needs.
Email Template for Client to Complete
Find out if Laravel Application Design and Development and the PHP development approach is the right choice for your team. Hire Laravel Programmers, and Build Your Software Team with dedicated resources. Explore the benefits and components of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach to product design with these complementary articles: ‘What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? and Why Should My Business Care?.’ Discover the benefits and components of mobile application development, and the Flutter development environment, with these complementary articles: ‘Mobile App Development is Important to Business, So Are Mobile App Programmers,’ ‘What are the Pros and Cons of Flutter Programming?.’ and ‘Hybrid Mobile Application Development: The What, Why and How.’