PHP as a seasoned player in web application development is still going strong today. Its popularity is gained due to its simple approach and ease of web interface building. Although other web development tools like Ruby on Rails starts to gain popularity, PHP is still the most chosen programming language for a web application.
As an old-timer in web application development, PHP has a very rich array of an application framework. The web application framework provides a foundation for application development, similar to the groundwork in developing houses or buildings. They provide the supporting structure for developing applications such as libraries, database access, template, and session; Those are core components to build an application. In this article, we will discuss one of the most complete PHP web application development framework: Laravel.
Laravel PHP Application Framework
As one of the most popular PHP web application frameworks is Laravel, which is a free and open-source tool. Licensed under MIT License which has become the famous free software license used for many application frameworks, MIT License gives end users explicit right to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, including the right to sell it as well. Sublicensing means every software project developed using Laravel as its framework, inherit the legal right to redistribute application using MIT License too.
It was built to provide a better alternative to one of the popular PHP web Applications Framework: Code Igniter. Laravel provides a more focused implementation on the MVC approach than Code Igniter. Laravel also provides a template engine called Blade and features that simplify the application development.
Laravel was built on the philosophy to create an enjoyable development environment and giving programmers a pleasant experience in building applications. Laravel syntax is designed to be expressive and elegant and presented as syntactic sugar, a code that makes programming language easier, more expressive, more clear to read in human language.
Three Most Outstanding Features of Laravel
Laravel is a rich-features application framework that provides developers with an outstanding efficient way from the first time installation to developing an application. Equipped with so many built-in features to ease repetitive programming tasks such as authentication, authorization, localization, models, views, sessions, routing, and database management.
From all of the features, we noted the three most outstanding ones in Laravel. They are:
a. Composer dependency manager
b. Eloquent Object Relational Mapping
c. Blade template engine
A. Composer dependency manager
Composer dependency manager is a package manager at the application level that serves as a standard format for dependencies management for Laravel thus maintaining its required libraries. Composers can be installed in either Linux and BSD and also available for Windows and OSX.
With Composer, the installation of Laravel is so easy and you just need to install Composer in your Linux or BSD machine. In order to install Composer, you must have a PHP 5.3.2 or later installed. Then download the Composer executable from getcomposer.org using curl:
# curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | Php mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer
The pipe ( | ) is to relocate the composer binary in a form of PHAR (PHP Archive) from your working directory to /usr/local/bin/composer.
Now you have Composer in your system, and we are ready to install Laravel.
The installation process of Laravel is very simple and straightforward because Composer has taken care of all dependencies matter. The steps are starting with the following command:
# composer global require "laravel/installer=~1.1"
The command above will download laravel installer needed to run a laravel and its project. After that, run the following command to give a name to your project, let us say we will create a project called cms, run the next command:
# laravel new cms
It will install the directory named cms which contain a fresh Laravel installation complete with all dependencies.
B. Eloquent Object Relational Mapping
Object Relational Mapping or ORM is the approach in which caters to the MVC approach that provides expressive syntax to work on a database object. ORM is capable to map the object definition in the Object-Oriented language into a database, whether a relational database or a document-oriented database such as an XML database. We will discuss more of Laravel’s implementation of ORM in the next article. As a brief explanation, ORM enables us to translate the following SQL command:
SELECT * FROM WHERE =
In the PHP code become:
:: where (‘field_name’, ‘’)
C. Blade Template Engine
A Template system is a must to develop a rapid web application. It processes the two most important elements in the web application: content and data. Laravel with its Blade engine has a collection of templates with data models, that capable to transform the data model into view. With its IoC (Inversion of Control) principle, Laravel makes it easy to generate new objects using IoC containers.
With those three most outstanding features in Laravel, it is logical for Laravel to be able to stand out among other web application frameworks.