I've just completed Matt Stauffer's upcoming book, Laravel: Up and Running, albiet in pre-release form, and now I'll share a short post with my thoughts.
My perspective is that of a newcomer to PHP, Laravel and actually, web development in general. I've read a number of books on each of these subjects and can say, without hesitation, that if you're new to Laravel, be sure this book is on your todo list. Matt breaks down the entire Laravel development process, from explaining what Laravel is and why to use it, to setting up your development environment, and then helping the reader understand each component of the framework. Not only does his thorough knowledge of the subject matter show through his writing, but also his love for the framework. It's in those books where the author's love of the content as well as the care that went into it are palpable, that you can be sure you're getting the information you need. This one will be in my office for reference for years to come.
The thing I love most about this book is how the content flows to the user in the same way in which the information will be used by the reader. Starting from the reasons to use Laravel and moving to more advanced topics, it is a step-by-step guide to getting Up and Running with Laravel.
One area that I, and presumably, many other newcomers struggle with, is tests. Matt does justice to the subject by not only separating the testing component into it's own section, but also covering it along the way as he explains each component of the framework. I needed this. I'm still yet to take the leap into testing, but now, I don't feel as intimidated by the subject.
My personal takeaways from this book are, first, a more thourough understanding of the Laravel request lifecycle. This is an area that I've always just took for granted and never bothered to dig into. Unfortunately, I started learning web development with a framework, so there are many fundamental PHP concepts that I missed along the way.
Lastly, my excitement has been fueled to dive deeper into the inner workings of not only Laravel, but also into the concepts and components that are common to many web applications. I'm now more confident that a grasp on those concepts is not out of my reach!
I'm looking forward to the final release of the book and I hope it's not his last!