Introduction to Laravel PHP Framework Advantages, Features and Version History

This tutorial series is designed to give you all the information you need to get started building a web application with the Laravel PHP framework. In this article, you will learn what is Laravel? And why do we have to use the Laravel framework? and a brief introduction to Laravel versions.

Laravel PHP Framework

Introduction to Laravel PHP

  • Laravel was developed by Taylor Otwell in July 2011 and released more than five years after the release of Codeigniter
  • It is a PHP-based web framework like Codeigniter.
  • It is one of the open-source PHP frameworks.
  • Laravel follows the model view controller (MVC) architectural designs.
  • After Codeigniter, Laravel is one of the most popular PHP frameworks

Laravel is free, open-source and one of the more popular PHP web frameworks based on model-view-controller (MVC) architectural designs. It was created by Taylor Otwell, designed to reduce the cost of initial development and improve the quality of your code by defining industry-standard design methods. With Laravel, you can save hours of development time and reduce thousands of lines of code compared to raw PHP.

Since its first release in June 2011, Laravel has come a long way in developing the PHP language. The current Laravel PHP framework version is 5.4

Advantages of Laravel PHP Framework

Laravel offers you the following advantages when designing a web application based on it –

  • The web application becomes more scalable due to the Laravel framework.
  • Significant time is saved when designing a web application, as Laravel reuses the components from other frameworks to develop the web application.
  • It includes namespaces and interfaces, which helps to organize and manage resources

 Why use a framework at all?

PHP is one of the most popular programming languages, operating over 82% of websites around the world. The latest version of PHP 7 made this server-side programming language better and more stable than ever. It is used by big players like Facebook, WordPress, Flicker, etc.

  • A framework is not necessary to develop an application in PHP languages. The question is why do you use a framework at all? Some benefits of using a framework include:
  • A framework makes development faster. You just need to focus on your development without having to worry about some of the most important basics.
  • Most PHP frameworks are practical with an ORM (Object relationship mapping). This means that you do not need to write complex questions to perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) operations.
  • PHP Frameworks provide industry-standard architectural designs such as MVC to ensure rapid development and help to write maintenance code
  • with the help of framework make your application more scalable
  • Frameworks are constantly updated with improvements and corrections to protect your site from security threats
  • It help to better organize and manage resources
  • Frameworks with large user bases are probably more stable

The above advantages provide enough reason to choose a framework rather than using raw PHP to create your web application. CodeIgniter, Symfony, Laravel, and Yii are some of the popular PHP frameworks on the market. In this tutorial series, we have chosen Laravel as the framework for our choice. The rest of the tutorial we discuss only the Laravel PHP Framework.

What is Composer?

Composer is a PHP dependency management tool. It lets you explain the libraries your project depends on and it will manage (install / update) them for you. Composer allows you to bring third-party packages and libraries ready for use in your Laravel project and manage them all in one place with Composer.json file.

The Composer.json file is a flat JSON file placed under the project root directory, which defines the metadata for everyone depending on the project package.

Laravel  is packaged with the exclusive handling of dependent Composer and Packagist. With the help of a composer, you can bring packages and libraries from third parties ready to use in your Laravel project and manage them all in one place


The command-line interface used in Laravel is called Artisan. It contains a set of commands that help build a web application. These commands are integrated from the Symphony framework, resulting in additional features in Laravel 5.1 (latest version of Laravel).

Features of Laravel

Laravel PHP frameworks are powered by many out of the box features including view testability, built-in authentication, routing, configuration management, Query Builder and ORM, etc. Laravel offers the following key features that make it an ideal choice for designing web applications

Modularity: Laravel provides 20 built-in libraries and modules to help improve the application. Each module is integrated with the Composer Dependency Manager to facilitate updates.

Testability: Laravel contains features and helpers that help test through various test cases. This feature helps maintain the code according to the requirements.

Routing: Laravel provides a flexible method for the user to define routes in the web application. Routing helps to scale the application in a better way and increases its performance.

Configuration Management: A web application designed in Laravel will run in a variety of environments, meaning that there will be constant changes to its configuration. Laravel provides a consistent strategy for managing configuration effectively.

Query Builder and ORM: Laravel incorporates a query builder that helps to query databases with different simple chain methods.It provides an ActiveRecord implementation and ORM (Object Relational Mapper) called Eloquent.

Schema Builder: Schema Builder maintains the schemas and database definitions in PHP code.It also maintains a track of changes with respect to database migrations.

Template Engine: Laravel uses the Blade template engine, a lightweight template language used to design hierarchical blocks and layouts with predefined blocks that contain dynamic content.

E-mail: Laravel contains an email class that helps you send emails with rich content and attachments from the web application.

Authentication: User authentication is a common feature of web applications. Laravel facilitates the design of authentication as it includes features such as registers, forgotten passwords and sending password reminders.

Redis: Laravel uses Redis to connect to an existing session and cache for general purpose. Redis interacts directly with the session.

Queues: Laravel PHP Framework includes queuing services such as an email with a large number of users or a specific Cron job. These queues help to perform tasks in a simpler way without waiting for the previous task to be completed.

Event and command bus: Laravel 5.1 contains Command Bus which helps to execute commands and send events easily. The Laravel commands work according to the application lifecycle

Laravel Version History

Laravel PHP frameworks are being developed with a series of frequent updates since its initial beta release in June 2011. Each version is powered by new advanced features that make Laravel appear as the strongest challenger to its competing frameworks CodeIgniter, Symfony, Laravel, and Yii.

The following table shows all major Laravel framework sections in reverse chronological order.

Version Features
Laravel 1

June 9, 2011

Initial release.

Support for localisation, models, views, sessions, authentication,routing and other mechanisms

Laravel 2

September 2011

Fully MVC compliant with the help of controllers

View templates named Blade

Built-in support for inversion of control

Laravel 3

February 2012

Introduced Artisan command line interface, built-in support for multiple database management systems, database migrations, event management support, and a packaging system called Bundles
Laravel 4

May 2013

A large edition with a complete rewrite of the Laravel PHP framework. It includes message queue support, database management, built-in support for sending different types of email
Laravel 5

February 2015

Added support for job schedulers, Flysystem, asset packs with Elixir and the Socialite package
Laravel 5.1

June 2015

Added long-term support (LTS)

Bug fixes and security patches

Laravel 5.3

August 23, 2016

Improve developer speed by adding further enhancements to common tasks
Laravel 5.4

January 24, 2017

Added new features like Laravel Dusk, Laravel Mix , Markdown emails, auto facades, Blade Components and Slots, route improvements, higher order messages for collections and many others.

6. Summary

It is an overview of Laravel, version history and rich features that the framework is included in this Article. Article shared by PHP training in Chandigarh provider institute CBitss Technologies.

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