Top Laravel Tools for 2021 to Turbo-charge Your Workflow

Top Laravel Tools for 2021 to Turbo-charge Your Workflow


4 min read

Let's talk tooling! One of the benchmarks of a great framework is the ecosystem & tooling. I may be biased, but I think Laravel has some of the best tooling around. These are my top tooling choices for 2021. Let's gooo.


Tinkerwell screen shot

Tinkerwell may be my new favorite tool. What is it? It's a "magical code editor" as described on the site. Basically, it's a code editor that allows you to execute code in any PHP runtime context. It's a scratch pad to try real eloquent queries without setting up a test or test controller.

My typical workflow for this is:

  • Have a feature idea, or query I'm trying to write
  • Write the queries / feature in Tinkerwell on my local dev DB data.
  • Get feature working in this scratch pad
  • Refactor and implement in the actual codebase with tests.

It may seem like an extra step, but the freedom and flexibility of having a place to try out ideas has speed up my development considerably, especially when writing new features.

๐Ÿ”— Tinkerwell


Laravel Clockwork image

Ya'll. Let's talk about Clockwork. Everyone is sleeping on this tool. It's absolutely fantastic. It's a debug tool that also has a browser extension in the inspector panel.

For example, this is an actual waterfall-esque view from the performance tab.

Screenshot of Clockwork performance waterfall

It's great, but what really wowed me was the next view, where I'm able to see not only the DB queries, but the line number of the eloquent call that created them.

Screenshot of Clockwork queries

From this panel above, I'm able to see that the eloquent call that created this query is in my ReviewsController on line 114. This is also the tool I used to discover that despite using Spatie's response cache package, I was still costing a DB call from the custom route binding I registered in the Route Service Provider. But, not to worry, I wrote a workaround for that issue too.

So far, this has helped me:

  • Find slow queries
  • Find N+1
  • Optimize queries
  • Find caching opportunities

๐Ÿ”— Clockwork

Laravel Extensions Pack for VS Code

Laravel Extensions Pack

This is basically the NBA All-star team of VS Code extensions in the Laravel ecosystem. Installing this pack gives you a great foundation of tools for VS Code to maximize your productivity. Some of my personal favorites are the GoToView & GoToController. They're small quality of life improvements that really add up to a great experience.

The pack includes:

๐Ÿ”— Laravel Extensions Pack

Are there any tools that you've used lately that I should try? Drop them in the comments!