As of late I've been working in Laravel and figuring out how Laravel differs from Rails. And while I have a bigger blog post in the works, I thought there was learning value in a simple Hello World implemented in Laravel. Hello World is a simple program that just puts Hello World on the screen.

Here's how I thought a Laravel version of this should work:

  • Be a whole Laravel application
  • Be a single controller
  • Be a single route
  • Define the text "Hello World" as a variable, $text, in the controller
  • Display that on the screen via an HTML template

While this doesn't illustrated models and database connectivity, this actually illustrates how to use a surprising amount of an overall MVC framework.

Step 1: Creating an Application

The first step is to use composer to generate the overall application with:

composer create-project laravel/laravel hello_world

The next step is to change into the directory with:

cd hello_world

and then open the code base with:

mate .

or if you use Sublime:

subl .

Step 2: Generating a Controller

Back at your command line, you want to generate a controller with:

php artisan make:controller HelloController

This will create a file named HelloController in app/http/Controllers:

ls -l app/Http/Controllers
total 16
-rw-r--r--  1 sjohnson  staff  361 May 18 11:37 Controller.php
-rw-r--r--  1 sjohnson  staff  122 May 27 09:12 HelloController.php

Inside the controller you want to add the following code (some of which will already be there from the generator):

    public function index()
         return view('hello_index');

inside the "class HelloController extends Controller" block of code (it goes inside the {} braces).

Step 3: Adding a Route

Moving back to the code base, you want to edit the file routes/web.php and add this line:

Route::get('/hello', 'App\Http\Controllers\HelloController@index');

This adds a single route, /hello, which is then handled by the Hello controller and the hello_index action.

You can test that this route is available by running:

php artisan route:list

which should show you something like this:

| Domain | Method   | URI      | Name | Action                                     | Middleware |
|        | GET|HEAD | /        |      | Closure                                    | web        |
|        | GET|HEAD | api/user |      | Closure                                    | api        |
|        |          |          |      |                                            | auth:api   |
|        | GET|HEAD | hello    |      | App\Http\Controllers\HelloController@index | web        |

Note: It is critical that you use the fully name spaced path to the controller (i.e. starting with App). According to what I've read, you can use a use declaration at the top of the routes file to import controllers so you don't have to have the name spacing everywhere but I was unable to ever make that work.

Step 4: Adding a Variable to the Controller

Inside the public function index method of the Hello controller, you want to add / change the following code:

$text = "Hello Cruel World";
return view('hello_index', ['text' => $text]);

This defines one variable, $text, which should then be available in the view. The way that it becomes available to the view is by passing a hash into the return statement which has a key of 'text' which is mapped to the variable $text.

Step 5: Creating a View and Displaying a Variable

Views, in Laravel, live in the directory resources/views so you can create one with the command:

touch resources/views/hello_index.blade.php

And you then want to edit that file and add this code:


Step 6: Previewing the Results

The key command here is:

php artisan serve

which starts the application and displays the result on:


At which point you should see "Hello World" come onto the screen.


This gives a fully functional Hello World application implemented in Laravel. I didn't focus on differences from Rails here in order to simplify this post. In my next post, I'll do more of that.