Laravel is a leading PHP framework renowned for its elegant syntax, powerful features, and developer-friendly tools. Its architecture supports effective PHP web development, helping you build scalable and maintainable applications.
At Kinsta, we’re committed to staying ahead of the curve and embracing the latest technologies. And having ample experience with Laravel applications, we’re excited about the advancements included in its latest release.
Laravel 11 introduces several transformative features that boost developer productivity and enhance application performance. From streamlined configuration and debugging to improved flexibility, this version improves development efficiency and helps you build more robust applications. Let’s dive in!
The revamped directory structure in Laravel 11
Laravel 11 includes a redesigned directory structure that enhances development efficiency. This change simplifies the organization of project files and pares down the boilerplate code included in previous Laravel versions.
Removing certain directories, like app/Exceptions and app/Http/Middleware, makes the Laravel 11 structure cleaner than previous versions. For example, earlier versions include nine middleware, many of which you’re unlikely to customize. Eliminating this directory minimizes code bulkiness and lets you focus on the essential aspects of your codebase. And if it’s necessary to customize middleware, you can do so via App/ServiceProvider.
Laravel 11 also removes the config folder, changing how you manage configurations. We’ll return to this change in a later section.
Advantages of Laravel’s new directory structure include:
- Code reusability — With less boilerplate code, you can focus on creating modular and reusable components. This ability to reuse common functionalities across the application promotes a more efficient development process.
- Improved knowledge sharing — A less complex directory structure facilitates knowledge sharing among team members and people onboarding the technology. Simpler navigation of the product structure makes collaboration smoother and more effective.
- Reduced coding time — Eliminating unnecessary directories and files means developers spend less time working with unnecessary boilerplate code. Faster coding, debugging, and testing lead to enhanced productivity.
A streamlined directory structure offers a refined development process and enables faster implementation of features and functionalities.
Enhanced flexibility with model casts
Laravel 11 is transitioning to method-based model casts, changing how you handle attributes within a Laravel Eloquent model — a representation of a database table acting as the intermediary for interactions with that table.
In older versions of Laravel, you defined attributes using a
properties array. With Laravel 11, you specify model casts in a method aptly named
This transition to method-based model casts offers several advantages similar to those of code methods or functions. One of the most significant benefits is code reusability. Including casting logic within methods makes your code more modular and reusable. And because the
casts() method delineates attribute casting, your code becomes more readable and maintainable.
It’s also important to note that Laravel 11 ensures backward compatibility with previous versions. Consequently, you can seamlessly transition your existing codebases to use Laravel 11’s updated model casting approach. This compatibility makes adopting Laravel 11 a smooth process — especially if you’re already familiar with its earlier iterations.
As mentioned earlier, Laravel 11 brings a shift in configuration management. It consolidates configuration settings into a single source: the .env file. This is a notable departure from previous Laravel versions, which spread configurations across multiple files.
Placing configurations solely in the .env file substantially improves organization. It also simplifies the development workflow, making it more intuitive and efficient.
Another important configuration-related update is the cascade feature, with which you can fine-tune your configurations by removing unnecessary options you don’t want to customize. The result is more compact development.
The single .env file eliminates the need for multiple files, instead storing all the relevant configurations in one place. However, if you happen to feel that the .env file is getting too big, you can use a command to return the configuration file to the config directory. For example,
php artisan config:publish auth generates the auth.php file in the config directory.
The ability to retrieve specific configurations is a massive boon to organizations.
Refined debugging experience with the new Dumpable trait
Dumpable trait is a valuable addition to Laravel 11. It lets you use familiar debugging aids within the classes, including the
dump() methods. These methods are instrumental during debugging as they provide real-time insights about a target object or variable.
Note that the
Dumpable trait is likely to replace the existing
dump methods in a myriad of Laravel’s core classes, ensuring a consistent and cohesive debugging experience across the framework.
Laravel 11’s route handling innovations
Laravel 11 greatly improves early versions with consolidated route handling. It reduces the number of default route files from four to two: routes.php and console.php. This change is impactful because it minimizes boilerplate code and makes the framework more intuitive.
It’s crucial to note that if you’re looking to incorporate API routes into your application, this change means you must opt into them deliberately. This mechanism supports a cleaner, more tailored application structure, only including API routes when necessary. To generate the api.php file and integrate Laravel Sanctum, run the
php artisan install:api command.
Event broadcasting in Laravel 11 follows a similar paradigm. To activate the functionality and create the channels.php file, run &
php artisan install:broadcasting. This orchestrates the setup of essential files and configurations, accelerating the integration of event broadcasting into Laravel applications.
Collectively, these changes support a shift towards a modular and customizable application structure. Because you can opt into specific features, Laravel 11 offers a more tailored approach to route file management than previous versions.
The evolution of Laravel’s HTTP kernel
The Laravel kernel has been a vital component in the framework, acting as the entry point for HTTP requests and terminal commands. It has orchestrated the flow of these requests, managing the middleware stack, routing, and other essential components that contribute to the application’s handling of incoming requests.
Laravel 11 removes the Laravel kernel. Instead, you use the
Bootstrap/App class, which binds essential interfaces into the container. After setting up the necessary components, the
Bootstrap/App class returns the application instance. This separation of instance-building from the application execution and response handling provides a more modular architecture.
Removing the Laravel kernel is another step toward minimizing boilerplate code. As the
Bootstrap/App class takes care of the essential setup, you can focus on building your applications’ core functionalities. Once an application instance runs, the
Bootstrap/App class ensures the necessary web request handling, simplifying the development process and promoting a more organized codebase.
Consolidated default migrations for efficiency
With Laravel 11 comes an overhaul of default migrations. Previous versions, from 2014 to 2019, saw numerous default migrations spread across several files. Meanwhile, the latest release has condensed these files into just two, offering developers a more organized and user-friendly experience.
This reduction of default migration files simplifies accessing and managing generated migrations, enhances the clarity of your database structures, and reduces potential confusion and errors.
Moreover, with a cleaner and more straightforward default migration setup, you can allocate more time to focusing on the specific requirements of your projects rather than grappling with the complexities of the boilerplate migration files.
Laravel 11’s optimized default migrations contribute to a smoother development experience, reinforcing the framework’s reputation for prioritizing simplicity and ease of use.
PHP 8.2: The new standard for Laravel 11
Another crucial change with Laravel 11 is that it sets PHP 8.2 as its minimum requirement. In Laravel 11, PHP 8.2 is the default, with PHP 8.3 on the horizon. Alignment with the latest advancements in the PHP ecosystem ensures Laravel will remain compatible with PHP’s newest (and forthcoming) language features and optimizations.
By supporting the last two major PHP versions, Laravel 11 enhances performance, security, and developer experience. Making PHP 8.2 the minimum requirement future-proofs your projects and unlocks the full potential of the language.
Laravel 11 introduces significant updates that promise to enhance the development experience for you, your team, and the broader developer community. Improved performance optimizations, enhanced support for the latest PHP versions, and streamlined workflow features make PHP development as smooth and efficient as possible.
These improvements translate into smoother development workflows, better application performance, and an overall more efficient development process. Our Application Hosting service’s powerful features, like automatic scaling, secure infrastructure, and enhanced performance with Google Cloud Platform’s fastest machines, provide an ideal environment for deploying Laravel 11 applications.
We can’t wait to see what applications you build using Laravel 11 — and how you use Kinsta to help your Laravel applications grow.