The story of how I got started with Laravel is a common one: I had written PHP for years, but I was on my way out the door, pursuing the power of Rails and other modern web frameworks. Rails in particular had a lively community, a perfect combination of opinionated defaults and flexibility, and the power of Ruby Gems to leverage prepackaged common code.

Something kept me from jumping ship, and I was glad for that when I found Laravel. It offered everything I was drawn to in Rails, but it wasn’t just a Rails clone; this was an innovative framework with incredible documentation, a welcoming community, and clear influences from many languages and frameworks.

Since that day I’ve been able to share my journey of learning Laravel through blogging, podcasting, and speaking at conferences; I’ve written dozens of apps in Laravel for work and side projects; and I’ve met thousands of Laravel developers online and in person. I have plenty of tools in my development toolkit, but I am honestly happiest when I sit down in front of a command line and type laravel new projectName.

What This Book Is About

This is not the first book about Laravel, and it won’t be the last. I don’t intend for this to be a book that covers every line of code or every implementation pattern. I don’t want this to be the sort of book that goes out of date when a new version of Laravel is released. Instead, its primary purpose is to provide developers with a high-level overview and concrete examples to learn what they need to work in any Laravel codebase with any and every Laravel feature and subsystem. Rather than mirroring the docs, I want to help you understand the foundational concepts behind Laravel.

Laravel is a powerful and flexible PHP framework. It has a thriving community and a wide ecosystem of tools, and as a result it’s growing in appeal and reach. This book is for developers who already know how to make websites and applications and want to learn how to do so well in Laravel.

Laravel’s documentation is thorough and excellent. If you find that I don’t cover any particular topic deeply enough for your liking, I encourage you to visit the online documentation and dig deeper into that particular topic.

I think you will find the book a comfortable balance between high-level introduction and concrete application, and by the end you should feel comfortable writing an entire application in Laravel, from scratch. And, if I did my job well, you’ll be excited to try.

Who This Book Is For

This book assumes knowledge of basic object-oriented programming practices, PHP (or at least the general syntax of C-family languages), and the basic concepts of the Model–View–Controller (MVC) pattern and templating. If you’ve never made a website before, you may find yourself in over your head. But as long as you have some programming experience, you don’t have to know anything about Laravel before you read this book—we’ll cover everything you need to know, from the simplest “Hello, world!”

Laravel can run on any operating system, but there will be some bash (shell) commands in the book that are easiest to run on Linux/macOS. Windows users may have a harder time with these commands and with modern PHP development, but if you follow the instructions to get Homestead (a Linux virtual machine) running, you’ll be able to run all of the commands from there.

How This Book Is Structured

This book is structured in what I imagine to be a chronological order: if you’re building your first web app with Laravel, the early chapters cover the foundational components you’ll need to get started, and the later chapters cover less foundational or more esoteric features.

Each section of the book can be read on its own, but for someone new to the framework, I’ve tried to structure the chapters so that it’s actually very reasonable to start from the beginning and read until the end.

Where applicable, each chapter will end with two sections: “Testing” and “TL;DR.” If you’re not familiar, “TL;DR” means “too long; didn’t read.” These final sections will show you how to write tests for the features covered in each chapter and will give a high-level overview of what was covered.

The book is written for Laravel 5.8, but will cover features and syntax changes back to Laravel 5.1.

About the Second Edition

The first edition of Laravel: Up & Running came out in November 2016 and covered Laravel versions 5.1 to 5.3. This second edition adds coverage for 5.4 to 5.8 and Laravel Dusk and Horizon, and adds an 18th chapter about community resources and other non-core Laravel packages that weren’t covered in the first 17 chapters.

Conventions Used in This Book

The following typographical conventions are used in this book:


Indicates new terms, URLs, email addresses, filenames, and file extensions.

Constant width

Used for program listings, as well as within paragraphs to refer to program elements such as variable or function names, databases, data types, environment variables, statements, and keywords.

Constant width bold

Shows commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user.

Constant width italic

Shows code text that should be replaced with user-supplied values or by values determined by context.

{Italic in braces}

Shows file names or file pathways that should be replaced with user-supplied values or by values determined by context.


This element signifies a tip or suggestion.


This element signifies a general note.


This element indicates a warning or caution.

Because this book covers Laravel from versions 5.1 to 5.8, you’ll find markers throughout the book indicating version-specific comments. Generally speaking, the indicator is showing the version of Laravel a feature was introduced in (so you’ll see a 5.3 next to a feature that’s only accessible in Laravel 5.3 and higher).

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Acknowledgments for the First Edition

This book would not have happened without the gracious support of my amazing wife, Tereva, or the understanding (“Daddy’s writing, buddy!”) of my son Malachi. And while she wasn’t explicitly aware of it, my daughter Mia was around for almost the entire creation of the book, so this book is dedicated to the whole family. There were many, many long evening hours and weekend Starbucks trips that took me away from them, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support and also their presence just making my life awesome.

Additionally, the entire Tighten family has supported and encouraged me through the writing of the book, several colleagues even editing code samples (Keith Damiani, editor extraordinaire) and helping me with challenging ones (Adam Wathan, King of the Collection Pipeline). Dan Sheetz, my partner in Tighten crime, has been gracious enough to watch me while away many a work hour cranking on this book and was nothing but supportive and encouraging; and Dave Hicking, our operations manager, helped me arrange my schedule and work responsibilities around writing time.

Taylor Otwell deserves thanks and honor for creating Laravel—and therefore creating so many jobs and helping so many developers love our lives that much more. He deserves appreciation for how he’s focused on developer happiness and how hard he’s worked to have empathy for developers and to build a positive and encouraging community. But I also want to thank him for being a kind, encouraging, and challenging friend. Taylor, you’re a boss.

Thanks to Jeffrey Way, who is one of the best teachers on the internet. He originally introduced me to Laravel and introduces more people every day. He’s also, unsurprisingly, a fantastic human being whom I’m glad to call a friend.

Thank you to Jess D’Amico, Shawn McCool, Ian Landsman, and Taylor for seeing value in me as a conference speaker early on and giving me a platform to teach from. Thanks to Dayle Rees for making it so easy for so many to learn Laravel in the early days.

Thanks to every person who put their time and effort into writing blog posts about Laravel, especially early on: Eric Barnes, Chris Fidao, Matt Machuga, Jason Lewis, Ryan Tablada, Dries Vints, Maks Surguy, and so many more.

And thanks to the entire community of friends on Twitter, IRC, and Slack who’ve interacted with me over the years. I wish I could name every name, but I would miss some and then feel awful about missing them. You all are brilliant, and I’m honored to get to interact with you on a regular basis.

Thanks to my O’Reilly editor, Ally MacDonald, and all of my technical editors: Keith Damiani, Michael Dyrynda, Adam Fairholm, and Myles Hyson.

And, of course, thanks to the rest of my family and friends, who supported me directly or indirectly through this process—my parents and siblings, the Gainesville community, other business owners and authors, other conference speakers, and the inimitable DCB. I need to stop writing because by the time I run out of space here I’ll be thanking my Starbucks baristas.

Acknowledgments for the Second Edition

The second edition is very similar to the first, so all of the previous acknowledgments are still valid. But I’ve gotten help from a few new people this time around. My technical proofreaders have been Tate Peñaranda, Andy Swick, Mohamed Said, and Samantha Geitz, and my new O’Reilly editor has been Alicia Young, who’s kept me on task through a lot of changes in my life and the Laravel community over the last year. Matt Hacker on the Atlas team answered all my stupid AsciiDoc formatting questions, including about the surprisingly difficult formatting for the __() method.

And I couldn’t have made it through the process of writing a second edition without the help of my research assistant, Wilbur Powery. Wilbur was willing to sift through the last several years’ worth of changelogs and pull requests and announcements and match each feature up with the current structure of the book, and he even tested every single code example in the book in Laravel 5.7 (and then, later, 5.8) so that I could focus my limited time and energy on writing the new and updated segments.

Also, my daughter, Mia, is out of her mama’s belly now. So, let’s just add her joy and energy and love and cuteness and adventurous spirit to my list of sources of inspiration.

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