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Mastering Laravel: A Guide to the Templating Engine and Modular Structure

Due to the flexible nature of PHP, it's actually quite easy to write too much code. Things can get cumbersome very quickly. Your website could slow down to a crawl. No one wants this. Reusable modules and templating engines can simplify the process, creating lighter and more efficient code. Laravel offers both options.
Daniel Zacharias

Code Power Team

January 31, 2024

PHP is an immensely powerful tool for web development. Over 244 million websites rely on it. However, due to the flexible nature of this scripting language, it’s actually quite easy to write too much code. Things can get cumbersome very quickly. Your website could slow down to a crawl. No one wants this.

Fortunately, there’s a way around this trap. We’re talking about reusable modules and templating engines. These can simplify the process, creating lighter and more efficient code. Laravel offers both options. In this article, we’ll put particular emphasis on the Laravel templating engine. We’ll also explore the possibilities of modular structure and how to take full advantage of it.

Why Laravel?

It’s a highly flexible, customizable, and easy to maintain free and open-source PHP web framework. Sounds great? The benefits don’t end there. There’s more.

It’s great for creating secure web apps with fewer vulnerabilities. Laravel solves multiple problems in one go, including preventing query spoil, SQL injection, and cross-site-scripting. It also encrypts all the passwords it stores, adding another layer of security.

Laravel is also more efficient for the developer and the end user. Those dealing with the code benefit from built-in features which make it easier and faster to develop. The users, on the other hand, benefit from greater speed as Laravel caches most data from view scripts to routes.

Now let’s get down to business and figure out the main features that bring all these perks.

Figuring out the Laravel templating engine

One of the reasons Laravel stands above many of its competitors is Blade. So how does this templating engine work?

It’s a system of web publishing that brings together static and dynamic elements. Static content provides structure and appearance. We’re talking about formatting, layouts, color choices, etc. Dynamic parts, on the other hand, rest on input and web request requirements.

Let’s say you have an online store with a built-in search function. Blade will cover that. The user types in their request and the results (dynamic) appear following the desired pattern (static). It’s Laravel 101, really.

Wielding the Blade

So what makes Blade better than many other PHP templating engines? It’s inner workings, of course. This is what you need to pay attention to.

First and foremost, Blade doesn’t prevent developers from using plain PHP code. As a matter of fact, the framework compiles all templates into plain PHP code. They remain cached in .blade.php format until the moment you modify them. Pop into the resources/views folder and see for yourself. That’s called transpiling and adds literally zero overhead to your app.

In addition, Blade comes with its own set of control structures. Everything from conditional statements to loops is in the package. You can even extend it using custom directives. This makes your coding more manageable, helping you create sleek designs and themes. Rendering is as fast as it gets.

No wonder this Laravel templating engine is a part of the framework by default. Master it and you would’ve gained a valuable skill.

Understanding modular packaging

Moving on to the second part, we have to discuss another aspect that makes Laravel an excellent choice for any web developer. Yes, we’re referring to its modular nature. What does this mean in practical terms?

Imagine you’re building a website or an app and you already have a decent amount of code on your hands. Each time you need a certain function, you’ll write some more. How quickly will this become clunky? Very. You don’t want that.

Instead, you need modules you can call at will. These are pieces of code, either ready-made or created by you, the developer. Either way, relying on them makes things easier, faster, and the code lighter, as you don’t have to write new code every time you need to reuse a function. You just need to implement one of your available modules. 

Modular structure in Laravel

A modular packaging system has been an integral part of the framework since its third incarnation. In February 2012, Laravel launched Bundles. They serve as a straightforward way to group code. The packages contain features that are easily added to any app you’re building. Even Laravel’s source package itself is a bundle. Look up the default_bundle folder if you don’t believe us. 

So how can you put said bundles to good use? Do you need a database ORM? A robust authentication system? Both can exist in the form of separate bundles.

Furthermore, you can create a plethora of other widgets. Each package can have its own tasks, routes, migrations, views, and configuration. You can even include framework-agnostic packages thanks to Laravel’s dependency manager (Composer). It takes modularity to a whole new level.

Should you rely on the pattern?

There are two ways to make things modular. First is Laravel’s module pattern. The framework’s default folder structure connects similar entities of MVC (Model-View-Controller) so that they cluster around their peers. Views will end up in one folder and controllers in another. Coupled with the Laravel templating engine, this boosts performance for the end user.

However, the developers may find it tricky, especially when trying to remove entire modules from the code. Leftovers may remain present in other folders, creating a more cumbersome structure. The cleanup process can take time.

The other way is to prioritize creating scalable architecture with a sturdy folder structure. Basically, you need to build each part of the application as a separate module, avoiding any overlap. This so-called Loose Coupling is a safer option, especially for beginners.

This is only the beginning

As you can see, Laravel offers a lot to the ambitious web developer. If you’re aiming to learn its ins and outs, always remember the most important elements. They are Blade (the default Laravel templating engine) and the framework’s modular structure.

Both offer great optimization possibilities. Focus on them and you’ll soon be able to harvest the power of this open-source PHP web framework.

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