Laravel is a great shiny php framework. Even though its only two years old , it has gone through 4 versions, and now, its BIG. The forums are active and full of great q&a’s and serve as an excellent resource to anyone willing to learn laravel. The IRC channel #laravel always has around 350 members active and helping each other out all the time, and the framework itself is a piece of art. I myself have been an active contributor to the project, and have several open source projects going around laravel. You can find them here : https://github.com/kapv89
I started tinkering with laravel when it was in 1.0, around October 2011. Built a simple experimental thingy, a picasa-albums gallery with laravel 2 in Jan 2012 ( http://kapv89.webfactional.com/laravel/picasa-api/100102190912443273060 … the last URL-segment can be replaced by anyone’s picasa-id and it’d load up a gallery of their albums). And since then I have worked on three big projects using laravel, two of which used laravel 3 , and one of which uses laravel 4. All this time, I saw laravel grow and mature as a framework, and saw php community embrace the artistic dev experience it offered with open hearts.
When I started hanging out on #laravel irc , there used to be only 5-6 people around. Last night, when laravel 4 was launched, the number of people on #laravel went upto 550 !!! Thats a huge number, and from what I have observed, its a sign of how much momentum laravel has (it has been my observation that the popularity of a technology among developers is directly correlated to the number of people hanging out on its IRC channel). The whole environment in laravel community was euphoric last night. People were keeping an eye on public github feed of Taylor Otwell (the man behind laravel), announcing as he merged each component one by one into the to-be-released branch, while waiting for the shiny looking new website http://laravel.com/ to be released. All and all, it was a great experience. Something that reminded me yet again that open source is a big community, and bound together by the stacks of tcp/ip that came out of it.
Now some words of advice to php-developers, and project managers out there. If you don’t use laravel, learn it, use it, read its code etc. Reading Taylor’s code will help you improve a lot. As developers who have long born the pain of developing in php, push your organizations, your teams, to switch to laravel for all your current and future projects. You guys deserve better, and so do other devs who would come and work on your projects, or might be training under you. Laravel is probably the only framework I have seen that can make php code look very, very beautiful, and make php-dev a fun, happy experience.
The development experience on laravel 4 is many times better than any other php framework out there. And I have tried a lot of frameworks. Familiarize yourselves with composer ( http://getcomposer.org/ ), a very awesome package management system in php-land. By leveraging composer you can find open source libraries for almost anything, and tie them up with your laravel projects. The amount of time you’d save by this would be TOO DAMN HIGH !!.
To end it, Laravel is awesome, it deserves all the attention/praise/hype that it has been getting. It has improved web development experience in PHP by a ton, so much that switching to rails or django feels redundant. Now its upto you, php developers, that you push the industry to adopt laravel, and spread it as far as you guys can, and make php-land a better place for everyone.