Great news! Laravel 4 is out!
Laravel 4 is a different kind of framework than its predecessor, and that comes with its own pluses and minuses. The documentation isn’t fully fleshed out (for example, try finding the URL class in the documentation easily) and the learning curve is much steeper to understand the system. Yet, Laravel 4 is a very fast framework with some very smart design decisions and still a pleasure to use once you get over the initial hump of understanding the hows and whys.
In my use of it, I’ve found 4 to be an excellent framework, yet I’m sad to see the simplicity of the 3 codebase disappear. Laravel 4’s new internal architecture certainly makes it more stable, faster and well tested. In the process it trades off findability and legibility. Composer is a welcome addition. Also, unit testing with the framework is really great.
One need only use it with composer to see how great Laravel 4 is, but as an example of its jekyll/hyde problem, we can talk about the URL class. Not only is it not documented, but try and find class URL in the codebase? You’ll find yourself going down some roads and eventually find yourself at
class UrlGenerator. Laravel obscures the setup of these classes behind the Facade. As it heads towards purer object-oriented form, with dependency injection, it loses some simplicity.
I wish Laravel would use the new shortened array syntax and just bump the requirement up to PHP 5.4. Why can’t Laravel be the framework that is forward-looking? Compatability with outdated versions of PHP is what makes PHP programming so frustrating.
On a final note, I was a bit jolted by the new Laravel website’s sponsorships plastered everywhere. It’s not a dealbreaker, but I found it tacky. They’re not very subtle.
With those gripes out of the way, it’s a very fun piece of code. Taylor did a great job and I really look forward to its future.
The Laravel community is outstanding. It’s reached the point in a community lifespan of a bunch of exciting publications and blogs, and we’re almost nearing the “Why I left Laravel” blog posts of a community’s growth.
I highly recommend you go to Laracon EU. Laracon in the US was a really fun conference and it’s a great time to meet other Laravel folks.
There’s a #laravel IRC chatroom on Freenode, which a lot of people visit. Also the Google Plus Community is active.
I’ve tried to put together a list here of great resources.
- Laravel: The website for the framework.
- @laravelphp: The twitter account for the framework.
- @taylorotwell: The creator of the framework’s twitter account.
- Laravel.io: A great site that is being positioned as the Laravel community HUB. You can check out the wiki, read Laravel Weekly and it’s the official home of the forums.
- Laravel Podcast: This podcast just started, so no promises on its longevity. The first episode mostly talks about how everyone loves Laravel. I’m excited to see what becomes of it.
- Jason Lewis: An excellent community member and prolific patron of the Laravel IRC channel.
- Laravel on nettuts: Jeffrey Way is probably the best Laravel writer going right now. He’s also the best screencaster, coincidentally (sorry, Taylor).
- Fideloper: Chris Fidao writes about Laravel on his blog. His Laravel 4 Uber-Quick-Start is one of my favorites.
- Dayle Rees has some excellent articles on his site as well.
- Laracasts: An index of Laravel screencasts. Make sure to submit yours if you have them.
- Dries Vints: Writes Laravel weekly and also some great quick tips.
- Max Surguy: Another prolific and informative Laravel writer.
- Niall O’Brien: I’m running out of adjectives to describe prolific and informative Laravel writers, but he’s one of them.
- The Nerdary: While not Laravel-centric, I write about it a lot. I think Mark Huot (another writer on this site) uses it as well, but I’m pretty sure he’s dead.
Here are some articles to give you a good feel for using 4.
There are already two books out for the just-released framework.
- Laravel Testing Decoded: Jeffrey Way has written a book on writing tests for Laravel 4. He constantly churns out excellent material, so it’s easy for me to recommend this book. It’s only $15.
- Laravel: Code Bright: This is a follow-up to Code Happy. It’s easy to recommend this to support Dayle Rees, because he’s such a great member of the community. However, Dayle’s writing style is very informal and verbose. While I thought the previous book was worth the $10, if Code Bright continues in the same format and casual style of its predecessor, my instincts say $30 is a bit much. For $30, it should have an editor.
Laravel 4 opens up the world of composer packages. With these you can start rapidly implementing new features without reinventing the wheel. Here are some of my favorites:
- Guzzle: HTTP framework. Great for making API, OAUTH, etc. request.
- Amazon AWS: Amazon built an official provider for their services. I’m using it in my current project and it plays in Laravel nicely.
- Carbon: Carbon makes DateTime fun!
- Mockery: A nice little mock object library.
- Basset: I’ve not used Basset, but I hear about it a lot. Mr. Lewis just released a screencast on it. Maybe in my next project…
Did I miss something?
There are a ton of active members, blogs and material in the Laravel community. If I missed someone, please put it in the comments so that other readers may enjoy it. Self-promotion is fine! Tell me which articles and materials or people I should look up.