No matter if you’re brand new to Laravel or have been using it for years, there’s always something new to learn. The framework and its ecosystem are constantly evolving and growing to improve the overall developer experience. So, it can be quite important to keep up to date with the latest changes so that you don’t fall behind.
It’s also likely that you’ve run into a coding problem once or twice and needed to reach out to people online for a bit of advice and help. Let’s be honest, as developers we spend quite a lot of time searching online on a daily basis looking things up. Whether it be to jog our memory on a certain algorithm or to look at possible ways of tackling new pieces of code.
The list below shows you 8 different places you can go online to give help you learn Laravel, keep up to date with it and also ask community members questions:
1. Laracasts (Free and Paid)
Laracasts is an online platform that has over 1700 lessons that you can use to learn about Laravel and other web programming related topics. The great thing about Laracasts is that it doesn’t focus solely on Laravel; it also has lessons based around tooling, testing and different programming languages. For example, there is a series of lessons based around getting your IDE (integrated development environment) or text editor, such as PHPStorm or Visual Studio Code, set up to make your development experience more productive.
At the time of writing this article, some of the lessons on Laracasts are free and you can view them without having to spend any money at all! However, I would strongly recommend signing up for a paid account, which is $15/month, so that you can get full access to all of the tutorials.
Another great thing about the Laracasts are it’s forums and the helpful community. If you ever have any questions or an issue that you can’t figure out, you can post it on to the forum. A large majority of the time, someone will reply to you with an answer that helps you solve your problem.
2. Laravel News (Free)
Laravel News is the official Laravel news source. They post new articles, tutorials and tips on a daily-basis as well as provide a newsletter that is sent out regularly. These articles always have useful information about different topics or new Laravel packages that you can use within your code.
Although Laravel News doesn’t have a forum like Laracasts, the newsletter and podcast that they provide are extremely beneficial at keeping you up to date with the latest goings-on in the Laravel space.
As a side note, I’ve actually had two of my Laravel packages that I’ve built in the past (Laravel Exchange Rates and Laravel Executor) featured on the Laravel News website. If you'd like to check them out, the articles were: Laravel Exchange Rates API Package and Simplify Installing and Updating your App With Laravel Executor.
3. Laravel Documentation (Free)
One of the most useful resources for helping you learn how to use Laravel is the official Laravel documentation. The documentation is really detailed and covers a large amount of the framework that you would touch when working on projects.
Typically, huge amounts of documentation can feel overwhelming and can feel like being bombarded with too much information at once. However, I personally feel like the Laravel documentation does a really good job of splitting things out and making it easy to understand. Even after working with Laravel for years, I still always have the documentation open in a tab in my web browser just in case I need to quickly brush up on a topic.
Top tip: For any of you that use DuckDuckGo as your search engine, you can search for “!laravel” and it will take you straight to the Laravel documentation.
4. Udemy (Paid)
Udemy is a video platform that’s similar to Laracasts. It sells online video courses that you can use to learn about a range of topics. However, they have a section that is dedicated to Laravel and learning how to use it; ranging from beginner to advanced courses.
I’ve never personally used Udemy myself, but I know other developers that I work with that swear by it and find it extremely useful.
5. Stack Overflow (Free)
If you’ve ever done any type of software or web development, chances are you, you probably visit Stack Overflow on a daily basis. But if you’re just starting out as a developer, you might not have heard of it yet.
Stack Overflow is an online question-and-answer site for developers. As an example, say if you have a question about something or have a bug in your code, you could post your question on Stack Overflow and someone would try and answer it for you. However, the chances are that if you’ve got a problem, someone else has already had it, posted the question and got an answer that solved their issue. So, Stack Overflow can be a great resource that contains almost instant answers for any problems that you might run into.
If you need to ask a question though because it doesn’t already exist there, the community is usually really quick at answering.
6. GitHub (Free)
This resource is slightly different to some of the others above and might be a little more suitable for more experienced developers rather than any novices. There are countless Laravel projects and packages that you can find on public GitHub repositories. So, this means that there are a lot of places that you can look at to get ideas for development.
As an example, when I first started writing Laravel packages, I wasn’t too sure on where to start. So, after reading through the Laravel documentation, I also checked out how other packages had been written. I looked at some of the official Laravel packages, such as Telescope, and also looked at how some of the Spatie packages were written. Being able to look at real-life examples of code can sometimes be more valuable than just looking at documentation that explains something. It gives you an insight and context into how things are actually done in practice.
As a small side note as well, once you feel that you have enough experience with Laravel, you could maybe start contributing to open-source projects. This can be a little bit daunting at first but can feel extremely rewarding when your first pull request is accepted. When you make your pull request, the maintainers of the project will review your changes and additions to check that they’re okay to pull in. It’s usually during this stage that you get feedback on any changes you might need to make to get the pull request approved and merged. This feedback can really help you grow as a developer.
7. Reddit (Free)
Reddit is one of my personal favorite resources for keeping up to date with the latest Laravel and PHP topics. The r/laravel and r/php subreddits are made up of large communities of developers who can answer questions that you might have.
I have asked questions on Reddit many times in the past for suggestions on how to tackle issues and have always been able to find an answer. The r/laravel subreddit also has a weekly “No Stupid Questions” thread that you can use to comment on and ask questions. Just remember though, if you’re asking any questions in any of the subreddits that you follow their rules; otherwise your post will get deleted.
If you don’t want to post anything or ask any questions, the two subreddits can also be really helpful for keeping up to date with the latest news on the ecosystem.
8. Other Laravel Developers (Free and Paid)
One resource for learning Laravel that developers often overlook is possibly one of the most valuable… other developers. Sometimes, it can be really easy to sit and stare at a problem for a few hours without getting anywhere with it. Usually when this happens, it can be best to get an opinion from someone else who is looking at the problem from a different perspective. For this reason, it can be really useful to have other developers as friends or as someone you can contact.
If you only have a quick question, quite a lot of developers will probably be happy to help you out and lend a helping hand (I know I would!). But, obviously, you have to remember that other people also have things they need to do and won’t want to be spending too much time helping you out for free. So, if you do contact a developer for help, try not to do it too often as it might discourage them from wanting to help you.
Sometimes, you might also want to pay a more experienced developer to have a chat for an hour or two to go over some topics. Like I mentioned earlier, looking at documentation can give you an idea of how something is done, but speaking to someone can help you understand the “why”. Speaking to senior developers can be extremely helpful because it’s likely that if you run into a problem that they’ve already experienced something similar themselves and know any pitfalls that you should to try to avoid.