What do you like best?
I have been using laravel for over a year now, boy do I thank the day I chose it over other frameworks in market. I remember having doubts between laravel and codeigniter, and saw a few reviews and decided to go with laravel.
Let me summarize laravel in one word for you. AWESOME.
The thing that I like best about this framework is its elegance to load the developer with all tools, but at the same time does not boggle you down with unnecessary code. It is constantly in development, have a strong community support.
In my opinion, laravel brought back the dying php back to life. Even when compared with other frameworks, the response time is faster.
I love IOC container of laravel, and their QueryBuilder class is the best. Validation is a breeze, and all of this is FREE.
If you need something to build a website, 90% probability, laravel provides it in a clean and efficient manner.
What do you dislike?
Okay, what do I dislike about laravel? This is tough because I am "go-laravel", and so I don't have much to complain about. I would however like to see "nosql" support out of the box, and would also like the socialite plugin to integrate with more oauth providers. Their redis driver uses predis, but in my opinion php-redis would be much faster because that is a binary protocol. Laravel didnt go with php-redis because it was a hassle to install it and stuff I guess. I hope they go with php-redis one day.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Laravel is an advanced framework for web developers. The devs are supposed to know a fair bit of things to work on this level, like IOC, injections, etc. There are many ways to code in laravel, and soon things can become cluttered. So don't expect magic from laravel. You still have to understand what good code should look like.
In terms of learning curve, first start with a small app, and then work your way through. Don't just go straight to coding on all fronts. E.g. if you don't need to know queues, don't read queue in the beginning. Read when you have to implement it.
One thing that I faced (because I was a novice a year ago) was to re-do my code. I deleted and restarted my project 13 times, and must have deleted atleast 100K lines of code, before I actually got the hang of beautiful coding. Many a times I found to do things the right way in laravel, and hence had to redo my code. But its just part of the learning curve.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
My website allows users to distribute digital products to their customers. Laravel helped me easily do:
1. Session management.
3. Basic security protection like SQL injection, CSRF.
4. There is so much more little stuff that I cannot list here.
All in all, I would say that this framework in my opinion is the most well written framework I have seen in my life. I am sticking with PHP just because of laravel. Other frameworks could learn many things from Taylor.