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How to Learn Laravel

Ryan Manchester - December 04, 2020


Laravel is a framework that incorporates MVC (Model, View and Controller) practice. Being familiar with full stack web development allows you to know about MVC. Before we move on, let’s quickly review MVC.

A model is the representation of an instance of data in a database. A view is what is rendered in a client’s browser. The controller performs actions. It is responsible for communicating between the model and view.

Think of it as a restaurant scenario. The client is the guest that orders from the menu. In a restaurant, the guest orders from their waiter. The waiter represents a controller; taking the request from the client side and delivering it to the back end.

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The chef represents the model in our restaurant example. It takes the request and serves up the ingredients in a pleasing and appetizing way. Similarly, the model receives a request from the controller. Next, it serves up the data from the database. Finally, the controller performs actions to render that data to the client.

Now that we’ve been refreshed about MVC, where does Laravel come in?

What is Laravel?

Laravel is an MVC framework built with the PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) language. Think of it as a starter kit for building a web app. It contains many scaffolds to quickly cook up a template.

This is incredibly useful for efficiently getting an idea off the ground. Why is getting a prototype working quickly important? Imagine being struck with inspiration to build a new app. Would you still be inspired after spending hours just to make common functionality work? Most likely not.

You can start to see how your app will flow with Laravel. This helps in staying inspired to build more functionality.

What is Laravel Used for?

As stated above, Laravel is a powerful MVC framework. If you already know PHP, then you know Laravel is a valuable tool. It’s power resides in the scaffolds that come with it.

Think of scaffolds as template code. Template code can range in functionality. Laravel’s built-in view template makes use of component rendering, similar to React.

Another example of this is building a sign-in page from scratch can take hours. Laravel comes with a template to get sign-in functionality up and running in minutes. This saves time and keeps the build process moving forward.

Other ways Laravel is useful include:

  • Full stack capabilities. Build a full application complete with a database, controller, and view.
  • Write relationships in less code. Laravel provides syntax to link data together with help from the models.
  • Quickly render views to the client. With easily customizable views, it is easy to style what the client sees.

Learning Laravel

Laravel boasts component based view templates, in addition to learning this framework for the quick turnaround. Most JavaScript libraries such as React, Vue, and Angular use components to organize and separate view code.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Laravel?

Learning Laravel can take up to six months. If you’re experienced with PHP, it could take as little as three weeks. If you aren’t, you may consider learning PHP first, then moving to Laravel.

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Laravel’s official documentation strongly advises learning HTML, Core PHP, and Advanced PHP to get the most out of this framework. Doing so will help you get the most out of this technology quickly.

Let’s take a look at how to begin learning Laravel each step of the way.

How to Learn Laravel: Step-by-Step

Now that we have reviewed what MVC is and how Laravel is useful, let’s investigate a step-by-step approach.

  1. Become familiar with HTML, Core PHP, and Advanced PHP. As stated earlier, becoming familiar with these concepts will decrease the time it takes to learn Laravel.
  2. Know what MVC is and how it works. Laravel is an MVC framework and understanding it is essential to master Laravel.
  3. Understanding CRUD . Create, Read, Update, Destroy encapsulates principles all applications follow. Having a deep understanding of CRUD will guide you in building projects.
  4. Learn the fundamentals of Laravel. Reading the documentation or taking a beginners’ course is a great first step in learning this powerful framework.
  5. Build a project. After getting a firm grasp on the above concepts, build a project. Learning by building is a great way to solidify your foundation.

Laravel is an intuitive, user-friendly framework to add to your toolbox, once you start building projects for practice.

The Best Laravel Courses and Training

Laravel was first launched in 2011. Since then, there have been about six versions. The courses below are updated with the latest in best practices as Laravel continues to evolve.

Online Laravel Courses

PHP with Laravel for Beginners – Become a Master in Laravel

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: $11.99
  • Audience: Beginner

You’ll learn the basics from creating a database to customizing views to deploying the project in this best-selling course from Udemy. Along the way, you’ll learn how to implement CRUD principles and database relationships.

The Udemy course is taught by building a project and then deploying it to a real world server. Not only is it a great way to learn, but an excellent way to start building a portfolio.

Laravel Journey

  • Provider: Laracasts
  • Cost: Free to $15 per month
  • Audience: Beginner to Advanced

The Laravel Journey from Laracasts takes you from basic object-oriented PHP to writing tests for your code. In addition, it tackles modern application practices, such as integrating with Stripe to collect payments and authenticating log-in with Facebook or Google.

A standout feature is learning about testing as many courses seem to overlook this concept when designing the material.

Laravel Basics

  • Provider: TreeHouse
  • Cost: Free trial then $14.99 per month
  • Audience: Beginner

In just 78 minutes you will learn the basics of building applications in Laravel. This course covers database basics, MVC fundamentals, and creating routes. Once the basics are covered here and you want to go deeper, consider the PHP Techdegree .

The Techdegree option has a bootcamp feel at $199 per month.  You’ll be fluent in Laravel in about six months.

Laravel e-books

‘Laravel PHP Framework Quick Guide | Full Course for Beginners’

This e-book by Azat Mardan is intended for absolute beginners. “From zero knowledge” to advanced concepts such as error handling. At only 187 pages and $5.56, this is a budget friendly option to learn Laravel.

‘Laravel for Beginners: Learn Coding Fast’

Tam Bel’s e-book for beginners is a hands-on approach to learning Laravel. You’ll learn the history of Laravel, basic CRUD, and examples of job interview questions. This e-book is available for $2.99 and is 109 pages.

‘Beginning PHP Laravel’

In 78 pages and at $5.99, Oluwafemi Alofe teaches the beginning Laravel developer the steps to create an inventory app. From authentication to building a Blade template for the views, this e-book teaches modern best practices. The project code is also hosted on GitHub.

Online Laravel Resources

Laravel Official Documentation

The official documentation for Laravel takes you from installing it to a basics lesson. Each section is broken into clickable sections to quick access to a particular guide.

Laravel Tutorial on Tutorialspoint

Tutorialspoint dives deep into specific capabilities. Intended for students, this documentation reads like a textbook. From sending e-mail to blade templates, most all functionalities are covered.

Laravel Tutorial

The interface from CodeIgniter consists of individual modules. These modules feature condensed explanations and code examples to help implement useful features quickly.

Should I Learn Laravel?

Laravel is a viable MVC framework to learn because it can help you land a job in a tech company. Companies such as Hello Fresh and Square use Laravel. It is also handy for getting portfolio projects up and running with little turnaround time.

To streamline the learning process, it is recommended to understand CRUD, MVC, and HTML in addition to PHP. Once this foundation is built, implementing Laravel will save you a lot of time in developing.

We’ve discussed what Laravel is and how it’s used with a review on CRUD and MVC. By now, you should have a better understanding of Laravel and sources to start learning.

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Ryan Manchester

About the author: Ryan is a technical writer at Career Karma, where he covers programming languages, technology, and web development. The Texas native earned his Bachelor's of Music Composition from the University of North Texas. Ryan is currently pursuing further education in web development, aiming to graduate from Flatiron School with a certification in full stack web development. Since joining the Career Karma team in November 2020, Ryan has used his expertise to cover topics like React and Ruby on Rails.

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