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40 Must-Have Laravel Tools & Resources

Max Babych
0 | 1737 | 14 minutes
Web Development

    Laravel is just a framework for PHP programming language. But for successful project delivery coding skills and technical knowledge is not enough. So-called “soft” skills are as vital as writing the code, so I decided to touch on that part as well.

    I have delivered hundreds of projects, and have been a business owner for 8 years. So, believe me, I know a thing or two about successful project management.

    Here is my point. As a client, you cannot just write “I need a website like Facebook but for cats”. Yes, the developers are smart guys. But you cannot assume they will figure it all out by themselves. You know your business needs better than them.

    To be fair, developers usually don’t care that much about business. They care about delivering good quality code, which is not always the same goal as yours.

    You have to take care about the project initial description and explanations. Moreover, it is very important to be involved in all stages of the project.

    I don’t mean micro-management and constantly bothering developers with “How’s it going”. I mean always being there if you are needed. You should be ready to answer the questions, provide feedback and test the ongoing versions.

    You don’t need to be technical. You don’t have to know the internals of Laravel, or any coding for that matter. It’s usually enough that you explain your needs in your own words, from a business point of view. Then it’s a job of dev-team to turn it into a technical specification first, and then into the final result.

    I may offer a solution here. Find a lead technical person or a project manager from your end. This person will be kind of an interpreter between your world and developers. He or she can help with the technical details for the project itself or prepare the specification for potential candidates for the job.

    Otherwise, you would need to perform project management yourself or rely on developers to be business-savvy and help you with that. Usually that means higher price. And it is reasonable. In this case you’re hiring not just coding hands, but also person/people to help you with the strategy.

    Laravel learning resources

    What is great about Laravel, is that you can easily become an expert in the framework. Laravel ecosystem is not only about the development tools you are using. It has much to give for your education.

    Here are some educational platforms and courses for aspiring developer, which I would recommend.

    Laracasts

    Laracasts is an educational resource for web developers with excellent screencasts about Laravel, Vue, PHP in general, Databases and much more. This service is like a “Netflix for your career”.

    You can easily start by visiting Laravel from scratch and always stay tuned with What’s new in Laravel.

    Test Driven Laravel

    When it comes to development strategy, I prefer to use a practice of TDD. Any developer can employ this strategy using Laravel.

    Test Driven Laravel is a perfect course for such purposes. Take this video course and make your application more robust.

    Confident Laravel

    All of us know that we should write tests for our application, but only a few applications has tests. In this course you will find how to break down barriers to testing. Every experienced and ambitious developer write tests. And, of course, we want to lower the time spent on testing our applications.

    I recommend you to check Confident Laravel video course. It teaches to write tests for Laravel apps confidently.

    Laracon Online

    Laracon Online is an annual online conference. It provides the most convenient and affordable way for everyone to get Laracon experience.

    Effective PHP

    Nuno Maduro’ s Writing Effective PHP video course is very profound. It provides a significant input in developer’s education.

    The course teaches you to write code short and simply. It explains the main principles of preventing bugs and much more.

    Laravel Core Adventures

    Laravel Core Adventures is an excellent video series to gain knowledge and have fun.

    Build a Chatbot Course

    The Build a chatbot course will teach you to develop, extend and test chatbots and voicebots with PHP.

    Laravel Certification

    If you have already obtained knowledge and skills in Laravel development, feel free to confirm them with Laravel Certification Program.

    Laravel Community

    Laravel framework is an amazing framework itself. But its constant development is closely associated with its community. It is sharing tips and code, gives help and points to things that need maintenance. That is why I want to mention some essential resources for every Laravel web developer.

    Laracasts Forum

    Laracasts Forum is a place where developers share their experience and tutorials. Here you can ask for advice and discuss matters.

    LaravelIO

    LaravelIO is another place to discuss development matters. Allows to find answers to various questions and share your experience.

    Larachat Slack Channel

    Larachat Slack Workspace is a Slack workspace with different channels dedicated to different topics.

    Laravel News

    Laravel News is a weekly newsletter about what is trending in the community.

    Laravel Podcast

    Laravel Podcast is a perfect place to discuss what is trending in the Laravel community.

    LaraJobs

    LaraJobs is a place to find and post Laravel, PHP and technical jobs.

    Laravel Blog

    Laravel Blog is official Laravel blog where you can find information about latest Laravel releases, events and Taylor’s (Laravel creator) podcasts.

    Laravel Ecosystem

    Laravel ecosystem has much to offer. I don’t usually praise anything I use, but rather try to stay critical. But Laravel ecosystem is something I cannot help talking about over and over again. I would like to mention a bunch of elegant and useful tools for your development.

    Development Environments

    Laravel Valet

    Laravel Valet will easily set up minimalists development environment for Laravel applications. It’s an excellent tool for MacOS users.

     

    The main features:

    • Fast (uses roughly 7 MB of RAM)
    • Easy to setup
    • No need in configuration (just create a folder in the web root)
    • Easy to use (provides simple command line tool)
    • No need in Vagrant or Docker
    • Supports ngrok tunnels
    • Allows manual installation of extra services (like Redis or MySQL) via Homebrew

    Laravel Valet is an OpenSource software. All the documentation is available on the official Laravel website.

    Laravel Homestead

    Laravel Homestead is pre-packaged Vagrant box. It provides an excellent development environment. There is no need to install PHP, a web server, and any other server software on your local machine.

    The main features:

    • Works on any Mac, Windows and Linux systems
    • Vagrant boxes are easy to remove and rebuild
    • All necessary services are out of box (such as PHP 7.3, Nginx, MySQL, Redis and others)
    • Shares a folder between your host and guest machine

    Laravel Homestead is also an OpenSource software. Check all the necessary documentation on the official Laravel website.

    Laravel Extensions/Packages

    Laravel Passport

    Laravel Passport is the simplest possible tool for API authentication. It is a full OAuth2 server implementation that is very easy to use.

    The main features:

    • Makes OAuth2 server easy to setup and use with simple command line tool
    • Comes with all necessary database migrations, controllers and routes
    • Includes pre-built Vue.JS components

    Laravel Passport is OpenSource. Find all the documentation here. The software is an official OAuth2 implementation solution.

    Laravel Scout

    Add full-text search to your Eloquent models with Laravel Scout. It is a powerful software to synchronise search indexes with your Eloquent records.

    The main features:

    • Comes with an Algolia driver, which is a fast solution
    • Allows to write custom drivers instead of Algolia and extend Scout with your own search implementations

    Laravel Scout is OpenSource. You can check it on Laravel official site.

    Laravel Spark

    Laravel Spark is a perfect tool for boosting typical SaaS application features development.

    The main features:

    • Is an excellent tool for building your product
    • Lets you focus on bringing value to the user
    • Handles user management (authentication, password reset, team billing, two-factor authentication, API, announcements, invoicing, payments and more)
    • Is maximally customizable
    • Empowers your applications with Vue.JS
    • Ships with Stripe.js v3 to ensure the best security for payment and subscription process
    • Is built on Bootstrap 4.0
    • Supports the latest Laravel versions
    • Has a complete localization
    • Comes with a clean and intuitive settings dashboard
    • Allows you to build up a business logic and see what the end product will look like

    Laravel Spark is a paid package that comes with a price $99 per site and $299 per for unlimited sites. Learn more on the Spark official site.

    Laravel Nova

    Laravel Nova is a Laravel administration panel with great UI and UX which boost up a development.

    The main features:

    • Provides a full CRUD interface for your Eloquent models
    • Is easy to add to your Laravel application, both the new and the existing
    • Configures with simple PHP code
    • Easily displays custom metrics for your app (with query helpers included)
    • Integrates with Laravel authorization policies (even for relationships, lenses, fields and tools)
    • Comes with Nova CLI to take full control over new field types implementation and design
    • Provides queued actions
    • Enables you to add lenses to control the Eloquent query
    • Provides CLI generators to scaffold your own custom tools
    • Can be integrated with Laravel Scout to get lightning-fast search results
    • Includes built-in filters for soft deleted resources
    • Supports the latest versions of Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge

    Perfectly designed Nova panel comes with price ranging from $99 to $199 per project. Check all the information and documentation here.

    Laravel Dusk

    If you want to test your application and see how it works from the user’s point of view, try Laravel Dusk. This tool provides automated browser testing with developer-friendly API. Laravel Dusk comes with Chromedriver by default.

    The main features:

    • Does not require to install JDK or Selenium (but you are free to use any Selenium driver if you wish)
    • Is a powerful tool for the web applications using javascript
    • Ease the process of testing various clickable elements of your app
    • Saves screenshots and browser console outputs of the crushed tests, so you can see what has gone wrong

    Check Laravel Dusk on the official website for free.

    Laravel Socialite

    Laravel Socialite is a package that provides a fluent interface for authentication with OAuth providers, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, GitHub and many others.

    The main features:

    • Is easy to use
    • Contains almost all instance social authentication code you may need
    • Has great community support with a lot of providers

    Find all the necessary documentation for implementing Laravel Socialite here.

    Laravel Echo

    Laravel Echo is a JavaScript library. It allows you to subscribe to channels and listen to broadcasted events through WebSoсkets.

    The main features:

    • Lets you add real time updates to your app
    • Provides all types of channels (public, private and presence)
    • Ability to broadcast P2P events with whisper method
    • Working with popular solutions out of the box, such as: Pusher service or Socket.IO library

    Laravel Echo can be installed for free. Check all the documentation here.

    Laravel Medialibrary

    Laravel Medialibrary package associates all sorts of files with Eloquent models. This package makes working with media objects a breeze.

    The main features:

    • Allows you to take any media file directly from web via url
    • Lets you use a custom directory structure
    • Provides an ability to define file conversions. Different image sizes, adjustments, effects, etc.
    • Allows for an automatic images optimization
    • Enables to make several media collections for one Eloquent model

    Laravel Medialibrary gives plenty of opportunities. Take a look at it in documentation.

    Laravel Mix

    Laravel Mix (previously called Laravel Elixir) is a tool that gives you an almost completely managed front-end build process. It provides a clean and flexible API for defining basic Webpack build steps for your Laravel application.

    The main features:

    • Provides a wide API that corresponds to almost all your needs
    • Works as a wrapper around Webpack and allows to extend it
    • Eliminates all the difficulties associated with setting up and running Webpack
    • Works with modern javascript tools and frameworks: Vue.JS, React.JS, Preact, TypeScript, Babel, CoffeScript.
    • Transpiles and bundles Less, Sass and Stylus into CSS files
    • Supports BrowserSync, Hot Reloading, Assets versioning, Source Mapping out of the box

    Laravel Mix can be installed for free. Check all the documentation on the official website.

    Laravel Cashier

    Laravel Cashier is a package that makes the process of subscription billing easier than ever before. While I personally find Stripe PHP library a perfect tool itself, using it directly is more complex. Cashier lets me avoid all the potential difficulties and ease subscription management.

    The main features:

    • Eases the usage of Stripe subscription billing service
    • Is a simple, small to consume and easy to understand codebase
    • Gives the Stripe PHP Library a clear, comprehensible and intuitive interface
    • Handles coupons, subscription trials, one off charges, generating invoice PDFs and much more
    • Meets SCA regulations compliant for Europe

    The package is free. Set Laravel Cashier up with the help of documentation here.

    Laravel Envoy

    Laravel Envoy is a useful task runner with a clean and minimal syntax.

    The main features:

    • Simplifies the deployment process
    • Uses familiar Blade style syntax
    • Can be used outside Laravel (and even PHP)
    • Uses very simple configuration
    • Has a feature of stories that groups a set of tasks under a single and convenient name. Thus, you can group small and focused tasks into large ones. Every story can be run as a regular task
    • Allows you to run tasks on multiple servers
    • Has an option of parallel execution
    • Supports sending notifications to Slack and Discord (you will get notifications after each task execution)

    Laravel Envoy is a free tool that can be installed via documentation here.

    Laravel Horizon

    Laravel Horizon is a queue manager that allows you to completely control your Redis queues.

    The main features:

    • Allows to monitor queues with clean Web UI
    • Gives detailed and comprehensible interface for reviewing and retrying failed jobs
    • Allows you to monitor relevant runtime metrics (jobs throughput, retries and failure) in real time
    • Outputs the recent retries for the job directly on the failed job detail page
    • Stores all your worker configuration in a single, simple configuration file (thus, all the configuration stay in source control)
    • Makes it simple for your team to collaborate
    • Enables you to use auto-balancing for your queue worker processes
    • Has useful notifications
    • Lets you tag the jobs (and automatically assigns tags to the most jobs)

    Laravel Horizon is free and can be implemented with the help of official documentation.

    BotMan Studio

    BotMan Studio is a bundle built on top of Laravel framework for a better chatbot development experience.

    The main features:

    • Provides a web driver implementation. You can develop your chatbot locally and interact with it via Vue.JS chat widget.
    • Suitable for various platforms (Slack, Telegram, Amazon Alexa, Cisco Spark, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts Chat, HipChat, etc)
    • Its logic can be used to write your own chatbot specifically for your app
    • Provides test tools for your chatbot
    • Supports middleware system, NLP, retrieving user’s information and its storage

    BotMan Studio can be installed via all the necessary documentation here.

    Laravel Tenancy

    Laravel Tenancy is tool for developing multi-tenant Laravel platforms.

    The main features:

    • Provides drop-in solution for Laravel without sacrificing flexibility
    • Lets you scaffold a multi-tenant SaaS platform irrespective of the project complexity
    • Provides a clear separation of assets and databases
    • Comes with closed and optional integration into the web server
    • Suits perfectly for marketing companies that prefer to re-use functionality for different projects
    • Enables to add configs, code, routes and more for a specific tenant
    • Provides integration tutorials for popular solutions such as: Laravel Permissions and Laravel Medialibrary

    Laravel Tenancy is a package that is free for any kind of project. Find all the necessary documentation here.

    Lumen

    If you don’t need to use the whole Laravel framework, Lumen is a perfect option here. It is a micro-framework that minimize the bootstrapping processes.

    The main features:

    • Is all about fast performance
    • Works perfectly if you need to support both web and mobile apps
    • Is useful for micro-services and APIs
    • Gives an ability to work with the Eloquent ORM, Queues and other Laravel components without using full framework
    • Eases the processes of routing, caching and others

    Lumen is OpenSource with all the documentation stored here.

    Laravel Telescope

    Laravel Telescope is a polished Laravel debugging assistant. Well, imagine the best debugger you have ever used became a standalone UI with supertools. Then you get Laravel Telescope.

    The main features:

    • Eases the process of development
    • Provides a powerful interface to monitor and debug numerous aspects of your app
    • Expands the horizons of development process providing a direct access to a wide range of information
    • Cuts down bugs and gives the ideas on how to improve your application
    • Gives a sense of the requests coming into your application. Provides a clear understanding of all the running exceptions, database queries, mail, log entries, cache operations, notifications and much more
    • Collects the information on how long does it take to execute all the necessary commands and queries

    It is totally free. You can install Laravel Telescope on the official website.

    Laravel WebSockets Package

    WebSockets for Laravel is a thing every developer had a thirst for. This powerful package makes an implementation of WebSockets server in PHP a breeze.

    The main features:

    • Completely handles WebSockets server side
    • Replaces Pusher and Laravel Echo Server
    • Is Ratchet-based, but doesn’t require you to set up Ratchet yourself
    • Ships with a real time Debug Dashboard
    • Provides a real time chart for you to inspect the WebSockets key metrics (peak connections, the amount of messages sent and API messages received)
    • Enables to use in multi-tenant applications
    • Comes with the pusher message protocol (all the packages you already have that support Pusher will work with Laravel WebSockets too)
    • Is totally compatible with Laravel Echo
    • Preserves all the main Pusher features (private and presence channels, Pusher HTTP API)

    Check Laravel WebSockets documentation here.

    Helpful Services in Laravel

    Laravel Forge

    Laravel Forge will make the web applications provision and deployment process as easy as pie. It takes over most of the administrative work.

    The main features:

    • Provides an easy server management with simple and clear UI
    • Works with Digital Ocean, Linode, AWS, Vultr providers out of the box
    • Gives an ability to setup custom VPS
    • Provides preconfigured up-to-date software for all your purposes (Ubuntu, PHP, Nginx, MySQL etc.)
    • Allows you to forget about the pain of deploying and hosting, but concentrate on developing
    • Takes trouble of creating and provisioning a new server
    • Allows you to restart each service and whole server from UI directly
    • Easily sets up necessary SSH keys for server access
    • Installs SSL certificates within seconds
    • Supports LetsEncrypt (free SSL certificates) out of the box
    • Gives an instant Nginx configuration for domains and subdomains
    • Provides easy private networking settings for horizontal scaling
    • Lets you build, configure servers and share them with the team
    • Enables to attach Git repositories to each site for provision
    • Supports GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab and custom repositories
    • Provides for auto deployments based on Git branch update
    • Gives the simple deployment bash scripts with ability to trigger via “Deployment Trigger Url”
    • Configures scheduled tasks, firewall rules and queue workers
    • Can be used for any PHP frameworks
    • Provides an automatic setup and settings for Blackfire and Papertail

    Laravel Forge is a paid service. Its price depends on the chosen plan and ranges from 12$ to 39$ per month. Every plan has a 5-day free trial. Learn more about Laravel Forge on the official site.

    Laravel Vapor

    What about serverless deployment platform that does your job for you? I’ll take two, please. I am talking about Laravel Vapor service which I personally find impressive.

    The main features:

    • Is an autoscaling platform powered by AWS Lambda
    • Comes with auto scaling database, cache clusters and queue workers
    • Lets you manage Laravel infrastructure with ease
    • Enables to directly upload files to S3 with Vapor’s built-in JavaScript utilities
    • Provides zero-downtime deployments and rollbacks
    • Is CI friendly
    • Provides environment variables, DNS and database management (including point-in-time restores and scaling)
    • Allows custom application domains
    • Provides secrets creation. It’s like environment variables but encrypted at rest, versioned and with no 4 kb limit
    • Comes with auto-uploading assets to Cloudfront CDN during deployment
    • Allows certificate management and renewal
    • Provides unique vanity URLs for each environment, ensuring prompt inspection
    • Supplies with key metrics (app, database and cache)
    • Provides database and cache tunnels, letting an easy local inspection
    • Comes with pretty CLI tool

    Laravel Vapor has a fixed price for unlimited projects and deployments. There are 39$ monthly and 399$ yearly plans (exclusive of AWS cloud costs). Learn more on the Laravel Vapor official webpage.

    Chipper CI

    If you are looking for a Laravel continuous integration tool, Chipper CI is something you definitely need.

    The main features:

    • Runs PHPUnit and Laravel Dusk seamlessly and with zero configuration
    • Provides really fast and stable Laravel-oriented CI
    • Uses intelligent dependency caching, allowing fast build speeds
    • Ensures easy Laravel Forge, Envoyer and Vapor deployment integrations

    What can I say, hats off to David Hemphill and Chris Fidao, who developed this perfect tool to ease every Laravel developer life. ChipperCI is a paid service. It comes with a 14-days free trial and $39 monthly plan for unlimited projects, team members and 1 concurrent build. Go to the official Chipper CI website to learn more.

    Flare

    Flare is the error tracker the Laravel community was longing for.

    The main features:

    • Ensures immediate solutions and related documentation for common problems solving
    • Provides a clear and focused interface for solving common issues
    • Collects local and production errors
    • Lets the Ignition error page automatically fix things for you with just a click
    • Allows you to collaborate by sharing exceptions to fix errors efficiently
    • Lets you reduce time on fixing bugs
    • Provides an exception tracking and notifications

    Flare has a 7-days free trial, 3 monthly plans with price ranging from $29 to $279 and 3 yearly plans with price ranging from $319 to $3069. Look through the documentation and details here.

    Laravel Shift

    What if I tell you that you can upgrade your Laravel versions automatically? Well, not you. It is all can be done by Laravel Shift.

    The main features:

    • Upgrades Laravel versions automatically and instantly
    • Provides the fastest way to upgrade any Laravel version
    • Saves your time and nerves
    • Works perfectly with Bitbucket, Gitlab and GitHub projects
    • Does not keep a copy of your code

    Laravel Shift service offers various plans to cover all your needs with price ranging from $7 to $59 per month. You can find all the details on the official website.

    Laravel Envoyer

    Laravel Envoyer is a zero-downtime deployer for your PHP and Laravel applications.

    The main features:

    • Takes care of providing a fully functional app to the end user in the middle of performing deployments
    • Supports unlimited and customizable deployments to multiple servers along with the app health monitoring
    • Provides clear and clean UI for deployment configuration
    • Integrates with GitLab, GitHub, Bitbucket and Slack
    • Provides GitLab self-hosted integration
    • Monitors cron jobs
    • Provides seamless deployment rollbacks
    • Allows for unlimited team members and deployments

    The monthly price of Laravel Envoyer is $10-$50 per. The cost depends on number of your projects. The service offers 5-days trial. For more detailed information please visit the official website.

    Laravel Ecosystem is all the rage

    If you tell these tools didn’t impress you, well, what could possibly do? Do not forget that this is just the list of things I personally like about Laravel environment. There are more tools you can try.

    I see that the framework is gaining more and more popularity each year. The Laravel community is growing with an irresistible force. That means that there will be even more tools and packages launched in 2019 and next years. The usage of Laravel tools certainly speeds up the process of development and improves quality of your future projects.

    Laravel makes the development an effective solution. This framework would certainly help to realize your wildest ambitions. If you are already using Laravel, try some tools I mentioned above. If not, you can shift from your previous framework any time. Laravel ecosystem is easy to enter and, believe me, you wouldn’t like to go back.

    Posted by

    October 4, 2019
    Max Babych
    Max Babych
    CEO, Founder

    I am serial entrepreneur and IT professional. Launched 4 own products and more than 20 products for customers in SaaS and Marketplace industry

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