According to a December 2013 developers survey on PHP frameworks popularity, Laravel was listed as the most popular PHP framework of 2013, followed by Phalcon, Symfony2, CodeIgniter and others. As of August 2014[update], Laravel is the most popular and watched PHP project on GitHub.
The following features serve as Laravel's key design points (where not specifically noted, descriptions refer to the features of Laravel 3):
Bundles provide a modular packaging system to Laravel 3, with numerous bundled features already available for easy addition to applications. Laravel 4 uses Composer as a dependency manager to add framework-agnostic and Laravel-specific PHP packages available from the Packagist repository.
Query builder, available since Laravel 4, provides a more direct database access alternative to the Eloquent ORM. Instead of requiring SQL queries to be written directly, Laravel's query builder provides a set of classes and methods capable of building queries programmatically. It also allows selectable caching of the results of executed queries.
Application logic is an integral part of developed applications, implemented either by using controllers or as part of the route declarations. Syntax used for definitions is similar to the one used by Sinatra framework.
Reverse routing defines a relationship between the links and routes, making it possible for later changes to routes to be automatically propagated into relevant links. When the links are created by using names of existing routes, the appropriate uniform resource identifiers (URIs) are automatically created by Laravel.
Restful controllers provide an optional way for separating the logic behind serving HTTP GET and POST requests.
Class auto loading provides automated loading of PHP classes without the need for manual maintenance of inclusion paths. On-demand loading prevents inclusion of unnecessary components, so only the actually used components are loaded.
View composers are logical code units that can be executed when a view is loaded.
IoC container makes it possible for new objects to be generated by following the inversion of control principle, with optional instantiating and referencing of new objects as singletons.
Migrations provide a version control system for database schemas, making it possible to associate changes in the application's codebase and required changes in the database layout. As a result, the deployment and updating of applications is significantly simplified.
Database seeding provides a way to populate database tables with selected default data that can be used for application testing or be performed as part of the initial application setup.
Automatic pagination simplifies the task of implementing pagination, replacing the usual manual implementation approaches with automated methods integrated into Laravel.
Form request is a feature of Laravel 5 that serves as the base for form input validation by internally binding event listeners, resulting in automated invoking of the form validation methods and generation of the actual form.
Laracon is a conference centered around the Laravel framework, primarily organized by UserScape with additional help provided by various sponsors. As of August 2014[update], the following Laracons have been held: