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Review: Laravel up and Running by Matt Stauffer December 15th, 2016

If you’re a capable PHP developer looking to learn Laravel for the first time, a novice Laravel developer looking to level up, or an experienced Laravel developer looking to learn a few new tricks, this book is for you. It’s clear, concise, and will get you up and running creating powerful and flexible apps in Laravel in no time. - Laravel Up and Running

A book a year in the making, Laravel Up and Running is the culmination of Matt Stauffer's writing on all things Laravel. If you've ever read one of Matt's blog posts, you'll feel right at home with the tone and content of this book, whether you've been using Laravel since the early days or if you're about to use it for the very first time.

You needn't fear that the book will fall out of date as it sits beside you on your desk; it's an excellent reference book and does a great job of teaching convention and thought processes over any code-specific approaches.

The book is written in a way that flows from step one to step n in the same way you would approach building an application, doing its best to give you the information as you'll need it, without overwhelming you too much upfront.

How's the shelf life?

At the time of publishing, the technical content reflects is current for Laravel 5.3, but what does this say about the shelf life of the book? Being print media, it's not something that can be updated without an nth edition being written and the readers buying it.

The way the book has been written will hold it in good stead going forward. I wouldn't expect the code examples to change much - if at all - in the foreseeable future. Matt has done an excellent job in authoring this book in such a way that it will remain relevant for as long as possible, focussing on thought processes, conventions, and common practices rather than specific functionality.

Are there any topics that are really heavy reading?

The chapter on Eloquent and Database is very heavy and took some effort to get through, but that is a reflection of the topic itself. I’m not sure it could be broken down any further without missing out on important functionality - or splitting it out into a book of its own.

I think a really good job has been done of walking a fine line between giving a taste of the core functionality offered by the framework, without diving too deeply into external content. Instruction is provided on where to look for further learning. This is particularly relevant in the later chapters, where talking about Collections, helpers, and so on - quite in-depth and feature-rich parts of the framework - are demonstrated through the most common functionality, with links to the relevant documentation.

How was the tone of the book?

For anybody that has read anything published by Matt, you'll find this book very easy to get through. If you've heard Matt speak, you'll hear his voice through his writing.

Matt writes as he speaks and makes things very clear and easy to understand, which I think is a really big part of why he’s such a prominent and respected member of the community. The tone is definitely approachable and engaging. I don’t think too many people would have difficulty following along with the content, irrespective of their prior knowledge of the framework.

How does the book flow from chapter to chapter?

The book flows in the same way that you would approach each part of the framework if you were learning the Laravel framework from scratch whilst building an application.

Content in the earlier chapters hints at the detail that comes in later chapters, later chapters lean on earlier learning, but a new Laravel developer could make use of the Container for example without needing to fully understand how that aspect of the framework works until such time as they have a good grasp of the basics.

To cover those advanced topics earlier on would likely overwhelm someone learning about the framework for the very first time; the order definitely feels right in terms of how somebody would pick up the framework from the start.


The technical content of the book is very accurate. I learned a few things along the way, and when something struck me as incorrect or foreign, I dug into the framework itself for clarification - something I often encourage developers to do. Matt knows the framework extremely well, and it's evident that he has really gone deep into the innards of the framework when writing this book.

I even discovered a couple of deficiencies in the framework based on my reading, which in turn prompted a couple of contributions to the framework in order to enhance functionality.

If you're already a PHP developer, perhaps with experience in another framework and looking to learn more about the Laravel framework, in particular, this is the book for you. Its step by step approach allows you to learn while you build your first Laravel application, illuminating framework features at just the right time for you to use them. This book is not aimed at someone who's never worked with PHP before.

The book focusses on the framework itself and doesn't delve too much into adjacent content such as patterns and architectures, of which there are plenty of existing resources.

Already using Laravel? You and I are in the same boat and I promise you that although this book is aimed at newcomers to the framework, you'll definitely learn a thing or two if you read this book start to finish. Whether that's a hidden function to make your life easier, or a new approach to something you're already doing, this book still provides you with excellent value.

As the book's splash page suggests, this is the best way to learn Laravel today.

I'm a real developer ™
Michael Dyrynda


I am a software developer specialising in PHP and the Laravel Framework, and a freelancer, blogger, and podcaster by night.

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