5 Laravel 5.5 Features That Will Make You a More Productive Developer

5 Laravel 5.5 Features That Will Make You a More Productive Developer

The shiny and new version of Laravel has been “out into the wild” since August 30! So, it was about time that I examined it closely, that I evaluated all its most-anticipated upgrades and significant advancements. The result? I've come up with a list of new Laravel 5.5 features designed to boost my productivity as a web developer! And, implicitly, yours, as well, if you're curious enough to go through my list.

If you're a Laravel enthusiast (like me!), then you must have “nurtured” some really high expectations towards this new version of Laravel!

Due to its reputation as a web framework daring to push things forward, we've all been expecting that its new features would help us code (even) faster and easier. Since, as we all know it, the Laravel team has always had developers in mind whenever they worked on new features for the framework.

Therefore, we've been all hoping to find improvements that would enable us, the “code artisans”, to focus more on “crafting” our lines of code and less on carrying out common tasks (e.g. error handling or package installing and enabling etc.).

Speaking of it, analyzing all the novelties packed in this new Laravel version I've hand picked specifically those Laravel 5.5 features that will (not “could” or “might”) turn you into a much more productive developer:

1. PHP 7.0+ Is a Pre-Req in Laravel 5.5

That's right, Laravel 5.5 now requires PHP 7.0!

Moreover, it already runs on this new version of PHP. So if your website/app currently runs on Laravel 5 (or higher), there's no need to worry about a too complex/time-consuming upgrade process!

What does this mean? Well, the Tumblr team (early PHP 7 adopters) says it best:

Not only were our servers serving pages twice as fast, they were doing it using half the amount of CPU resources” 

So if your server is still running on PHP 5.x, an emergency upgrade is no longer something to be still pondering on! 

2. Whoops's Back: One The Laravel 5.5 Features to Get Excited About!

Missed it? Well, you surely aren't the only one! This omnipotent PHP error handler used to ease our developer lives back in the good older days... Up until Laravel version 5 got released: then Whoops got removed!

Well, now's coming back to streamline all your error handling tasks:

  • to track down errors the instant they occur
  • to display big, bold “verbose” error messages 
  • to point out to you the “culprit” itself: the code generating the specific error

And where do you add that it's a stand alone library in Laravel 5.5! So, no dependencies are required for it to work!

How did we made it without it for so long?

3. “Vendor:publish” Now Prompts You to Pick a Provider

This is one of those Laravel 5.5 features designed to give you, the developer, more control! More granular control, I mean, over the vendor content that you need to publish.

Do you remember how using the vendor:publish command used to be like prior to Laravel 5.5? You would publish everything when running this command (there was no way of “selecting” just the relevant content): migrations, views, configs and more.

Well, not anymore!

In this new version once you've entered your publish command with no flag, you get prompted to select a vendor or a tag. So that you can easily publish specifically what you need to publish, nothing more.

And how do I bypass this?” A legitimate question to be asking yourself: just enter the “-all” or “-provider flag and you'll override it!

4. Package Auto-Discovery: Installing Packages Gets More Streamlined

Digging through all the Laravel 5.5 features presenting great potential for making me “X” times more productive as a developer, this improvement instantly caught my attention!

It basically streamlines the whole process of installing and enabling packages. Here's how:

  • if back in the “old days” the process of registering your service providers and aliases was a three-step one (composer require, registering the provider in the app.php and optionally the facade, as well)
  • now your work resumes itself to: adding a new section to your composer.json file and your provider and facade aliases get automatically registered and enabled

How about that! Now you get a much more streamlined, one-step process to carry out each time you need to install new Laravel packages!

5. Laravel 5.5 LTS Is Released

Since LTS (Long Term Support) 5.1 will be “retiring”, by the end of this year, from its two year's time job of fixing all detected bugs, it's time for Laravel 5.5 LTS to... take over!

Therefore, in addition to all the other Laravel 5.5 features aimed at enhancing my/your productivity as a developer, I couldn't not include one granting us, the Laravel users, stability and support on the long run. Meaning another 2 more years of bug fixing and 3 years of security updates releasing.

And we've reached the END of my list! See? Told you Laravel always considers us, developers, when creating new features. This new version is no exception, being released with a bundle of upgrades meant to make our lives easier, our work much more enjoyable.

Which one of the new Laravel 5.5 features included in my list are you most excited about?