What is the process for developing a Laravel application?
Laravel is a web application framework for PHP, built by Taylor Otwell and intended for the development of MVC web applications. Laravel was released in 2011 and follows the model–view–controller architectural pattern. It also has several unique features that make it stand out from the other frameworks.
Laravel has immense potential besides using it for website development, eCommerce websites, and more. It has several applications. It can also be integrated with several other third-party APIs. It is useful for back-end development with several popular front-end frameworks like Angular, VueJS, and ReactJS. It can also be used to design the back-end for mobile applications. This article explains the processes of developing a Laravel application.
Laravel is a PHP-based development framework for building websites and web applications. It quickly rose to popularity after its release in 2011, with the current version 10 being released in 2023 and version 11 expected in 2024. It is now one of the best frameworks to develop responsive, scalable and feature-rich websites. It has an MVC architecture and supports reusability.
There are many frameworks available for website application development. However, Laravel has several unique features that make it stand out. Here are some of the benefits of opting for Laravel:
Time & Resource Efficiency
Easy to Maintain
Laravel is not the best choice for a small application.
Those looking for a simple website with a minimal feature set and not much customisation might not find Laravel the best choice.
It might seem complicated to some.
Less support for older systems.
The process of developing a Laravel application can be daunting, but it's also very rewarding. Once you've gotten the hang of it, you'll find it much easier to create and maintain new projects. If you're looking for an easy way to get started with PHP development without worrying about all the details, then I highly recommend this framework!
The first step in developing a Laravel application is to use the Laravel installer. The installer is a command-line tool that helps you create your first Laravel application by asking you a series of questions, prompting you to create an application key, and creating a database user.
This assumes you have worked on the project's scope, objectives, and requirements. Other steps essential before designing the technical side include identifying the target audience user personas, creating the project timeline, allocating resources and analysing the requirements.
Additional tasks necessary to develop the perfect Laravel solution involve creating models folder and migration files, setting up configuration files with environment variables, setting up the database, populating the database with structure and data, and much more, as this article explains in more detail.
There are several pre-requisites to binding your web application using Laravel. One of the main requirements is to install Docker. This virtualisation solution allows one to run the software in a sandbox environment, "containers". It ensures the program you run does not affect anything else. It is also essential to use the Laravel Sail feature.
Define the project's scope, objectives, and requirements. Identify the target audience and user personas. Create a project timeline and allocate resources. Gather detailed requirements through client meetings and discussions. Document functional and non-functional requirements. Prioritise features and functionalities based on their importance. This is a vital stage where the requirements are analysed, and the project details are finalised.
Design the database schema, including tables, relationships, and data models. Choose the appropriate database management system like MySQL or PostgreSQL for your project.
Install and configure Laravel and its dependencies on your development environment. Set up version control using Git for source code management. Create a new Laravel project using the Laravel installer or Composer. Configure environment variables, database connections, and other settings in the .env file.
Set sail to your project with a single common "Sail Up". The first time you launch Sail, the CLi builds the application containers on the device. It also takes longer the first time. It will help set up the basic structure of the application.
Laravel requires little configuration and allows one to browse the configuration items in the app.php file in the 'config' folder. Some of the variables in this file for configuration are time-zone, Laravel framework service provider, and URL debugging.
Define routes in the routes/web.php file to map URLs to controller methods. Create controllers to handle the application's logic and manage interactions with the database.
Create Blade templates for the application's user interface. Use the Blade templating engine to generate HTML content dynamically.
Define Eloquent models that correspond to database tables. Use Eloquent to perform database operations, such as querying and updating records.
Implement middleware to handle tasks like user authentication, authorisation, and request validation. Set up user authentication and user roles using Laravel's built-in features or third-party packages.
Implement the core business logic of your application based on the defined requirements. Test your application's functionality as you build it to catch issues early.
Many ready-made templates are available for one to select and integrate with the Laravel framework. This is one of the easiest methods of creating a Laravel application, considering the fact that it includes a front-end. However, it is still necessary to connect with the appropriate API, integrate it with Laravel and build the custom features in Laravel.
This involves creating the back-end and front-end for your Laravel website from scratch. Laravel itself has several tools to develop the structure of the project. However, it is necessary to design the front-end in the tool of your choice and build the back-end in Laravel as per the requirements.
Write unit tests and feature tests using Laravel's testing framework (PHPUnit). Perform manual testing to ensure the application functions as expected. Address and resolve any identified bugs or issues.
Implement security measures, including data validation, input sanitisation, and protection against common web vulnerabilities (e.g., SQL injection, XSS). Set up HTTPS for secure data transmission.
Optimise database queries, use caching where appropriate and minimise resource-intensive processes. Perform load testing to ensure the application can handle traffic and scale if needed.
Choose a hosting environment and deploy your Laravel application. Popular options include shared hosting, VPS, cloud services (e.g., AWS, Azure), and dedicated servers. Set up the production environment, configure server settings, and manage domain and DNS settings.
Implement CI/CD pipelines to automate the deployment process and ensure smooth updates. Use tools like Jenkins, Travis CI, or GitHub Actions for continuous integration and deployment.
Set up monitoring tools to track application performance, errors, and security threats. Regularly update Laravel and its dependencies to stay up-to-date with security patches and features. Provide ongoing maintenance and support for your application.
Create documentation for end-users and administrators explaining how to use the application. Train users or administrators on the application's features and functionality.
Announce the launch of your Laravel application to your target audience. Implement marketing and promotion strategies to attract users and customers.
Gather user feedback and analyse data to make improvements and enhancements. Continue to monitor and maintain the application to ensure its performance and security.
This process provides a structured framework for developing a Laravel application, but keep in mind that the specific steps and their order may vary depending on the project's complexity and requirements. Collaborating with a skilled development team and following best practices is essential for a successful Laravel application development project.