Why Use Docker For Laravel Development And Production

Web development has undoubtedly changed over the last decade. The massive adoption of new web standards, the increasing presence of social media integration, the emergence of new tools, platforms, and frameworks, and the irruption of the mobile device as the preferred method for browsing all profoundly impacted how we design and create web apps. 

We could write countless articles about every one of these advancements. Right now, we’re going to focus on two trends that have been steadily growing over the past couple of years: Laravel development and containerization through Docker. The former is quickly becoming a preferred framework for web development, while the latter is a virtualization method that uses the Docker platform.

At BairesDev, we can attest to the power of both. While we’re more than just a Laravel development company, we certainly know our way around it, as we’ve used it to power numerous projects for our clients. And we know for a fact how powerful using Laravel in a Docker container can be, as our web development teams have been doing so for some time now.

We thought it would be a good idea to share why we believe that the Laravel + Docker combination is an unbeatable one. But before getting into that, let’s see what both of those things are and clarify some concepts to better understand this excellent web development pair.

Why Use Docker For Laravel Development And Production 5

What is Laravel?

In short, Laravel is a PHP framework that can be used to build virtually any web application. That’s because it boasts an expressive and elegant syntax that allows it to be fast and user-friendly. It can be used to simplify the most common web development tasks, including authentication, routing, sessions, and caching. Besides, it’s very well documented, which means that anyone using it will certainly find support to overcome issues and leverage Laravel’s potential to the maximum.

As such, Laravel is a fantastic option for anyone trying to overcome the limitations of off-the-shelf alternatives. That makes it perfect for the development of complex web apps or projects with never-before-seen requirements. It’s also great for large-scale data management applications, remote collaboration platforms, and similar projects. Laravel is the best bet with projects of mid to high complexity.

What Is Docker?

For its part, Docker is a platform that employs OS-level virtualization to pack software in a single file called container. Inside those containers, there’s everything the software needs to run: the code, the libraries, and the configuration files. A single kernel runs all the containers, which provides several benefits over traditional virtualization, including:

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    Faster performance and less resource consumption than virtual machines.
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    Easier to configure.
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    Highly reusable, as it uses an approach similar to class inheritance that allows the user to install missing libraries and packages in any existing image.
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    Docker images are easily shareable between users.

To truly understand Docker, it’s important to understand two of its most basic concepts. First, there are containers, which are runtime instances of docker images. These are packages that include all elements needed to run a software. And then there are the Docker images themselves, which can be seen as the complete system inside a container. They are like snapshots of a specific container and are composed of several layers of other smaller images. 

Docker has plenty of uses. These include creating an isolated environment to learn a new technology, providing basic use cases through default configurations, and isolating apps to run several of them on one server without dependency management problems. It’s also a fantastic tool for development teams, which is why it interests us here. That’s because Docker gives teams the possibility to have local development environments closely resemble those of production.

Why Use Docker With Laravel

Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s see why Docker is such a good match for Laravel. It’s possible to extend some of these advantages to development in general, but they perfectly adjust to any Laravel development company. Thus, some of the benefits include:

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    Consistency across environments.
    Since all the web application’s components will be containerized, it’ll be able to run in any OS, providing consistency to the working environment. In other words, Laravel developers will be able to collaborate, knowing that there won’t be compatibility issues easily.
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    Easily shareable web apps.
    There are other ways to share code with other team members, but Docker is great as it goes beyond code to pack the entire system. This results in engineers sharing a single file that any other engineer can run with little effort and virtually no setup.
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    Reusable Docker images.
    Laravel development teams that work together frequently can create a collection of Docker images with some of the most common tasks for their web development projects. They can create images with small applications that can later configure a more complex web app by combining them.
  • Lightweight containers.
    Laravel projects are complex, so there can be many pieces laying around on the local machines of the software engineers involved. By dockerizing the Laravel applications, they can work with fewer files and relieve themselves from changing system settings every time they work in a new project.
  • Seamless Docker - DevOps integration.
    DevOps has plenty of tools most Laravel development teams use, so Docker feels like a natural fit, as most of those tools support Docker, making its integration a simple matter.

A Powerful Ally For Many Laravel Projects

Those are just some of the benefits a Laravel team can get from using Docker. There are many more that become evident once they start using this valuable tool. However, it’s important to note that using Docker isn’t without its challenges. There might be security issues to pay attention to when using single containers or specific backward compatibility problems. 

Yet, the benefits of using Docker with Laravel far outweigh the drawbacks. Sure, maybe newcomers will have to search for a tutorial for Docker and Laravel to learn how to containerize a web app, but the process is relatively simple, and the level of simplification Docker can bring merely is unparalleled. 

That’s why you should consider using Docker for Laravel and web development in general. Still feeling a bit confused? Then let BairesDev help you with your Laravel project. We’ll leverage Docker to its maximum capacity and make sure that your web apps provide you with the performance and quality you’re looking for. 

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