PHP has a well deserved reputation for producing or more accurately having lousy code written in it. As the book frankly explains, it grew up to be great for rapidity of learning and quick deployment of small code bases for web server programming. But the early authors of PHP perhaps never anticipated the increasing needs and complexity of web sites. The attraction of Laravel version 4 is that if you code PHP within it, you effectively use frameworks or patterns. Specifically Model View Controller [MVC]. It is not much of an exaggeration that MVC forms the core structure of many web sites.
The success of Ruby on Rails speaks to how useful programmers have found a language that enforces MVC. So the book testifies to a metagame of leapfrog, played across computer languages. You see that the coders of Laravel 4 have keyed off the success of Ruby on Rails and Python to make a feedback loop that goes back around to the earlier language of PHP and to improve it.
The first chapter is a veritable laundry list of enhancements that Laravel 4 immediately gives you. Read it closely. The details are expanded upon in the rest of the text.
Paranoid readers might also pay attention to chapter 4. It delves into how to use Laravel 4 to secure your webpages against attackers. Techniques well known in other languages like guarding against SQL injection in user text input fields can be easily implemented here. Attention has been paid to letting you bolt down your website in a robust and rapid manner.
Disappointed at how short this book is, after trimming preface it's barely 100 pages. It does go over everything you need to get started with Laravel which I suppose is exactly what the title promises but I found it lacking in detail in places where it should be more descriptive, given that it is meant as an introduction to Laravel for developers.
The book reads as a set of instructions for setting up a Laravel site, which is disappointing because there are plenty of free tutorials on the internet that do that. When I buy a book I expect it to go into more detail with regards to why and how things are done, what goes on behind the scenes etc which is often skipped in free tutorials taken from the web. Sadly they skipped them in this book too.
The book does what is says on the cover and will get you going with a basic Laravel site but you can find plenty of other free tutorials online to do the same thing. For the amount I paid for this book I expected a lot more than what I got.