Ruby, Java, Python, Node, PHP... while you might not be a developer or directly work in digital, if you work in marketing, you’ve almost certainly heard of these. They’re all programming languages for websites. Think of it like cooking a recipe. The cook is the computer, the recipe writer the programmer and the recipe the instructions telling the cook exactly what to do. Just like human languages, there are thousands in existence, with those mentioned the most popular and therefore famous. Many of the world’s biggest websites, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, use several languages in combination to execute all the complex requirements they need.
But just like how recipe writers use certain set formats (think splitting the recipe into the ingredients and instructions lists), shortcuts in the form of abbreviations (tbsp, tsp) or requiring pre-prepped elements such as diced onions or toasted breadcrumbs, so often do developers building websites. Called web frameworks, these were developed in different languages precisely to provide a standard structure so developers don’t have to write code from scratch every time and can spend their time developing additional features or ‘flavor.’ And developers love to use them.
Why should marketers care about what programming language or web framework their web developers are using or why they like them? Isn’t it just a technical conversation for techs?
It might seem at first it is, but the tech stack (the combination of programming languages, frameworks and tools that make a web or mobile app) affects everything marketers need to achieve for their roles: personalization, CRM data exchange, CMS integration, transactions and more. Besides, no marketer wants their IT or Infosec team lead knocking on their door because they’ve signed up to a cloud service that doesn’t follow their company policy. Or worse, isn’t GDPR-compliant, given GDPR fines are now in the millions or even tens of millions of euros.
This is particularly true for digital products that go beyond simple content marketing and corporate websites, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) products. SaaS have a cloud provider hosting applications, making them available to end users over the internet with complex functionality and enabling multiple user tasks.
The end goal of these types of digital product is always usability, scalability and security. Will the website be able to deliver on user experience, grow with your brand, customers, new functionalities and geographic territories you might expand to, and – critically – do it while being secure?
There’s no one perfect answer, but we think Laravel, an open-source, PHP-based web framework, is the most robust, versatile option for brands with complex and interactive marketing requirements such as customer portals involving registrations, member areas, submission of forms and multiple integrations with third-party tools. And here are the reasons why:
Laravel is feature-rich – it follows programming best practices and therefore delivers ‘clean code’ that improves and scales easily as you grow, enabling marketers to continuously improve; adding functionality and integrations (APIs) as needed. It also has a whole ecosystem of useful products marketers need such as full-text search and subscription management that can be easily deployed.
Laravel is cloud-agnostic – in short, it can be deployed into any cloud system or across multiple systems anywhere, meaning it will be compatible with whatever your company hosting policy is and more guaranteed up-time.
Laravel is solid as a rock – in terms of its performance, security and compliance, not only in the speed of execution, but due to its capabilities on automated testing and robust patching strategy keeping it secure. With the right investment for ongoing maintenance, it will keep the IT team happy and away from the marketer’s door.
Laravel is community-supported – because it’s open-source and the most highly-rated PHP framework on 73 million-strong developer site Github, there’s a dynamic wider community of developers able – and happy – to help with technical challenges that arise, meaning any problems get solved faster.
Laravel has happy developers – like any job, happy motivated workers mean greater efficiency, more creative problem solving, better staff retention and lower potential costs. Quite simply for marketers, since developers enjoy writing beautiful code, whether it is in-house or in your digital agency, your Laravel IT ticket is less likely to be pushed to the back of the queue.
There is no silver bullet that will solve a chief technology officer or chief marketer’s every digital challenge, but Laravel has always been our first place to start. Whether it was for the truly life-changing Cancer Research Technology tool Ximbio, a crowdsourced marketplace to share chemical reagents between different research laboratories, or for an interactive Cadbury’s Heroes’ advent calendar in the form of a multiplayer shareable quiz app, bringing to digital life the Cadbury Heroes’ ‘Share Good Times’ brand promise to millions of UK customers – Laravel’s Framework can be used to deliver functionality in whatever ‘flavor’ the brand or organization needs.
Sylvain Reiter, client services officer at Cyber-Duck.