November 7, 2015 By Bill Keck
Part of the fun of the Laravel ecosystem is that they brand everything, and they are good at it. When I think of all the great products and pieces like artisan, eloquent, forge, and lumen, I get inspired. So when I developed my re-usable template for starting projects with Laravel, I branded it Laraboot.
I wanted my template to be the perfect starting point for projects, incorporating the things that almost every application is going to need:
- One-click Facebook Registration
- Full Access Control
- Datagrid with column sorts, populated from Ajax
- Fully integrated Bootstrap front-end
- backend Admin area
- User Profiles and Settings
I wanted re-usable code, with everything super-clean. Somewhere along the way of creating the template, I realized this could be the perfect foundation for a beginner’s book on Laravel.
What always frustrated me about the technical books I’ve read is that they rarely build something useful, and even rarer still, do they have working code. While advanced programmer’s can typically kludge their way through anyway, even with broken code and half-baked explanations, it hits beginners harder. It’s so easy to get lost over inferences that could easily be explained, but are just assumed, and end up excluding a lot of people who are just learning.
Sometimes you are better off just focusing on the docs. In the case of Laravel, Taylor Otwell personally wrote the documentation for Laravel, and he did a great job. Everything is organized, clear, and easy to find.
But documentation rarely covers specific implementation and this is what’s always missing. If we could just see a good working example, we would understand things far better than we otherwise would.
I’ve kind of boiled it down to this. We need to understand why, not just how. You can find lots of tutorials on how things work, but you rarely find the ones, though they do exist, that explain why things work.
So in writing Laraboot: Laravel 5* for Beginners, I’ve pulled together the best of both worlds. We build a working template that can actually serve as the basis for a live site and we get granular, so we know exactly why and how it works.
Using the Laraboot code, I launched KeyComicBooks.com, a site about comic book investing, which is not really a serious venture, but shows you that you can make and deploy a professional site from what I’m teaching and from what the template provides. It’s also proof that the template has been debugged and works.
In Laraboot, we use straight bootstrap on the front-end, as opposed to the corlate template that I used on KeyComicBooks.com. The straight bootstrap isn’t as fancy, but that is exactly what you want in the template. It keeps the custom css to a minimum, so when you add the cosmetic layer, it’s easy to do.
I know from personal experience how hard it is to learn a framework, even one as intuitive as Laravel is. It takes a lot of work, a lot persistence. As a technical writer, I’m right there with you because I know just how hard it really is. I do my best to bring clarity to it, so that you can breeze through it.
The programmers that visit my blogs have always been very supportive and it’s one of the things that keeps me going. So a big thanks to everyone who has encouraged me and pushed me along to get this done. I hope the Laraboot book and template helps a lot of people.