One of the first decisions you need to make before creating a website or a web app is to choose whether to use a ready-to-use CMS or a framework. Even though the former ones are unprecedentedly popular, developers that deal with PHP often get lost in the variety of CMSs available and figuring out whether it makes sense to use a certain one.
Even though such popular CMSs as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal offer developers a huge number of various plugins, it is not always possible to customize the solution to fit your own or your client’s needs.
One way or another, more and more developers tend to opt for frameworks like Laravel. They allow creating unique unconventional solutions that are easily scalable. In this article, we are going to discuss how to determine whether Laravel is the best option for your project.
Laravel: Brief Overview
Open-source and fully free PHP framework Laravel was released in 2011. It was created by Taylor Otwell and it was meant to be an alternative to CodeIgniter with better functionality. Laravel can be used to build not only websites but also web apps based on object-oriented programming principles and the MVC architecture. Thanks to a huge number of in-built tools, developers that use Laravel can create solutions of any complexity and any scale, from one-page websites to full-fledged social networks.
One of the main Laravel advantages is that all the development processes are made as simple as possible. It doesn’t matter how complex the project’s architecture and business logic is going to be. With Laravel, you can easily overcome any difficulties with testing, forming routing mechanisms, authentication, eCommerce, security, etc.
Even though Laravel is good for both small- and large-scale solutions, developers mostly use it when working on complex projects. Is such choice justified? Or, perhaps, Laravel is here to save you in any situation when you need to use PHP? Let’s figure this out and take a look at the main advantages of this framework.
Laravel: Main Advantages
When developers that have a vast experience in working with Laravel are asked why they love it, most of them mention that it doesn’t have a steep learning curve. Actually, PHP is ranked the 7th on the list of the most frequently used programming languages. Besides this, they also mention the ability to create complex solutions.
(Many say that PHP developers are not “real developers”. Nevertheless, thanks to the number of ready-to-use tools available in Laravel, this framework allows creating secure and reliable web solutions rapidly and with minimum mistakes. This is why it remains at the top of web development technologies.)
What tools are we talking about? Well, the ones that allow solving the following issues:
When we are talking about the performance of the solutions created using Laravel, we need to take into account the performance of PHP itself. Actually, the performance issues in case of PHP are the same as in case of any other programming language.
They can be solved by decreasing the amount of memory usage and cutting the length of garbage collection processes. Besides, we can’t avoid mentioning that Just-In-Time compilation was introduced in PHP 8. This means that apps written with PHP 8 can work even faster.
As for Laravel itself, developers that have at least some basic skills in code optimization can use additional tools available in Laravel (for instance, cache server support, such as Redis and Memcached).
Unlike other PHP development environments, routing can be executed in two ways with Laravel. One of them means using controllers, the other one allows adding the code directly to the route. This opportunity is especially useful if you are developing a small website that consists of several pages and you don’t want to create a pile of controllers with a dozen of methods or, for instance, you aim to put all the methods into one controller and then manually route the queries it receives.
- Migrating Data From SQL
If you don’t want to work with SQL directly, you can use a special algorithm written in Python to ensure the proper interaction with the database.
Transmitting authentication data in Laravel is done according to SASL. The security of users’ passwords is ensured by hashing them. We should also mention there is a number of in-built security mechanisms that help avoid such network attacks as XSS, SQL injections, forged cookies, etc.
Thanks to the fact Laravel allows creating apps with modular architecture, they can be easily scalable in future.
CMS vs Laravel: Which One Should You Choose?
Nevertheless, if Laravel were so perfect, developers wouldn’t have any hesitations whether to choose this framework or a well-developed CMS. This is why we would like to invite you to take a look at several aspects of your particular project to help you make the right decision.
How Complex Is Your Project?
First things first. Let’s determine what evaluation criteria you are going to use to prove the quality of your product. Usually, clients state two factors: the development budget (the general number of working hours spent and their cost) and adaptability to making changes.
For instance, if today the client supposes that there will be up to a hundred users browsing the website simultaneously, it doesn’t mean that in a few months this number won’t be several times higher (especially if the marketing campaign was done right). Obviously, the website created according to the first estimate will not be able to handle the load which is times higher.
So, if you decide to build the website using the low-budget CMS WordPress, scaling it can turn out to be a quite challenging task. In case you opt for using Laravel, you’ll be able to organize the modular architecture, so changing dependencies and making the product more complex will be a lot easier and less time-consuming task.
Therefore, if you have tight budget constraints and you have to choose between free-to-use CMSs and Laravel, it is better to bet on the second option in case you are planning to work on the product that may require any changes to be made in future.
Who Is Going To Be Administrating Your Product?
Widely known CMSs have one absolute advantage – they all have the admin panel that is optimized for users with no technical background. In case you are going to build a solution using Laravel, you will have to create such an admin panel yourself. Now consider how often and who will need the access to settings of the web solution you’ve created. Perhaps, after figuring this out, you’ll understand that it will be easier and more rational to choose a CMS.
The Content Or Developing A Multifunctional UI: What Are You Betting On?
When you are hesitating to choose between praised by hundreds of thousands CMSs and the Laravel framework, think about the purpose of your future solution. In particular, if you plan to add and manage a lot of content (for instance, in case of a news website, a blog, or a small online store), it will be easier to do it with a CMS.
Usually, the most popular CMSs already have tools for managing content by default, including creating tags, images catalogues, product categories, etc. In case of Laravel, you will have to do all these things manually.
Nevertheless, if you plan to create unconventional functionality that exceeds the conventional expectations in your niche, using Laravel is the best choice you can make. With Laravel, you can work on flexible pricing strategies, implement sending internal messages, create the rating systems, etc. Long story short, you can do anything that would require expensive plugins that are difficult to support in case of using CMS.
Does The CMS You’ve Chosen Have All The Plugins Required For Developing The Planned Functionality?
In addition to the previous section, we would like to point out that even such popular CMSs as WordPress and Joomla don’t always have the plugins that fit the needs of the client perfectly. Surely, there is a way out – you can develop plugins yourself. However, in most cases, it is easier to start using Laravel from the very beginning than learning all the specifics of working with these CMSs.
The Bottom Line
Let’s sum up. As we can see, Laravel can be a good option for those who have a limited development budget and want to create an advanced scalable web solution. You won’t encounter any issues with testing if you opt for Laravel. Modular architecture of the solutions created with Laravel makes this process fast and easy. Finally, the security issues that stopped many developers who wanted to work with this particular framework were solved in the latest version of Laravel, Laravel 5. In case you have an idea for a project with unconventional functionality, reach out to us, and we will implement it using Laravel within the shortest terms!