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Introduction to Laravel Web Application Development:
Web developers across the globe are looking for free and open-source frameworks that can help them craft Web Applications easily. Laravel is a server-side platform that works on a request-response model. Let us now get an in-depth understanding of Laravel, how to use it and how it works.
What is Laravel?
Laravel is an open-source PHP web framework with expressive, elegant syntax. Laravel has it is built-in features with a variety of compatible packages and extensions which makes it one of the best choices for building modern full-stack web applications. By “full-stack” framework we mean that Laravel can be used to route requests to your application and render your frontend via Blade templates or using a single-page application hybrid technology.
How Does Laravel Work?
Laravel is based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) development pattern, MVC is a software approach that separates application logic from presentation.
The “Model” indicates the shape of the data application operators. E.g., If we have a table of users, each with a list of posts they have made, that is a model.
The controller gathers the info to constructs a “View.” The view is a template with which the model can be plugged into and displayed, and it can be manipulated by the controller. In simple language, the views are all your application’s HTML components.
The “Controller” interacts with the model and delivers the results to the users by the view. The controller talks to the model (often just the database) and retrieves the info. The controller contains most of the logic for your application.
Laravel Packaging System
Laravel also has its ‘Packaging System’ to deal with the multiple support software or libraries which help the web applications to automate the processes. Laravel uses ‘Composer’ as a dependency manager, which manages all the information needed to manage the packages. Packages are very helpful to speed up the development and provide the functionality we need out of the box.
- Cashier was introduced in Laravel 4.2, it has interfaces for managing subscription billing services provided by Stripe, eg. handling coupons and generating invoices.
- Socialite was introduced in Laravel 5.0, it provides a very simplified authentication mechanism for many social sites, which includes Google, Facebook, GitHub, Twitter, and Bitbucket. So, the application can effectively implement these socialite logins in the minimum time.
- Passport is used for authentication, to be used via the API using the OAuth server The AS API does not maintain the HTTP session. API typically uses the token to authenticate the user and Laravel passport provides the full OAuth server implementation for web applications in a couple of minutes.
Installing Laravel on AWS
Deploying a Laravel application onto AWS’s Elastic Beanstalk environment and configuring it to connect to an Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) database instance.
Launch an Elastic Beanstalk Environment
AWS use the Elastic Beanstalk console to create an Elastic Beanstalk environment. Choose the PHP platform and accept the default settings and sample code.
To launch an environment (console)
- Open the Elastic Beanstalk console using this pre-configured link.
- For Platform, select the platform and platform branch that match the language used by your application.
- For the Application code, choose Sample application.
- Choose Review and launch.
- Review the available options. Choose the available option you want to use, and when you’re ready, choose to ‘Create app’.
Environment creation takes about 5 minutes and creates the following resources:
- EC2 Instance
- Instance security group
- Load balancer
- Load balancer security group
- Auto Scaling group
- Amazon S3 bucket
- Amazon CloudWatch alarms
- AWS CloudFormation stack
- Domain name
All of these resources are managed by Elastic Beanstalk and when we terminate our environment Elastic Beanstalk terminates all its resources.
Composer installs the Laravel and can create a new working project with one command:
composer create-project --prefer-dist laravel/laravel Test "5.8.*"
Composer installs Laravel and its dependencies and generates a default project. Next, we need to add a database to be configured with it.
Adding an RDS DB instance to the Elastic Beanstalk environment
- Open the Elastic Beanstalk Console, and in the Regions list, select your AWS Region.
- In the navigation pane, choose Environments, and then choose the name of your environment from the list.
Note: – If you have many environments, use the search bar to filter the environment list.
- In the navigation pane, choose Configuration.
- In the Database configuration category, choose Edit.
- For Engine, choose mysql.
- Type a master username and password. Elastic Beanstalk will provide these values to your application using environment properties.
- Choose Apply.
It takes about 10 minutes to create this instance meanwhile we can update Laravel’s database configuration file named ‘database.php’ stored in the config folder of the project. Find the mysql entry and modify the host, database, username, and password variables.
Commonly used Components of Laravel
1. Artisan Console
Artisan is a frequently used command-line interface that comes with Laravel to access it is application. It provides a number of commands which greatly helps in the process of development.
2. Eloquent ORM
Eloquent ORM is Laravel’s built-in ORM (Object/Relational Mapping) implementation system. Laravel’s Object-relational Mapper is best compared to the other frameworks. This Object-relational Mapping allows you to interact with your database objects and database relationships using expressive syntax.
3. Templating Engine
Laravel comes with its built-in templating engine known as ‘Blade Template Engine’. The blade is easy to understand and yet powerful templating engine. Blade templating engine combines one or more templates with a data model to produce the resulting view, unlike other PHP templating engines it doesn’t restrict us from using plain PHP code in the templates. All Blade templates are compiled in plain PHP code and then transpiring the templates into cached PHP code for improved performance. Blade template files use the .blade.php file extension. Blade also has a set of its own control structures like conditional statements and loops, which are internally mapped to their PHP counterparts.
Testing of an application is one of the most important aspects and In Laravel, we have default unit testing for the applications. It itself contains tests that detect and prevent regressions in the framework. The framework also provides a helper method that allows us to expressively test the applications. By default, the application test directory contains two directories Feature and Unit which further isolates the testing single and large portion test.
There are many other components of Laravel and they will be covered in the follow-up blog.
All these ready-to-use features in the Laravel framework are best suited to all types of web application development, from small to business. It also provides numerous built-in features that allow developers to work effortlessly. Moreover, the official packages provided by Laravel are a bonus.
CloudThat is also the official AWS (Amazon Web Services) Advanced Consulting Partner and Training partner and Microsoft gold partner, helping people develop knowledge of the cloud and help their businesses aim for higher goals using best in industry cloud computing practices and expertise. We are on a mission to build a robust cloud computing ecosystem by disseminating knowledge on technological intricacies within the cloud space. Our blogs, webinars, case studies, and white papers enable all the stakeholders in the cloud computing sphere.
Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Laravel Framework and I will get back to you quickly.
1. Why use Route?
ANS: – Routes are stored inside files under the /routes folder inside the project’s root directory with the name web.php. By default, there are a few different files corresponding to the other “sides” of the application.
2. What are bundles?
ANS: – In Laravel, bundles are referred to as packages, and these packages are used to increase the functionality of Laravel. A package can have views, configuration, migrations, routes, and tasks.
WRITTEN BY Guru Bhajan Singh
Guru Bhajan Singh is currently working as a Software Engineer - PHP at CloudThat and has 5+ years of experience in PHP. He holds a Master's degree in Computer Applications and enjoys coding, problem-solving, learning new things, and writing technical blogs.