Back in 2011 codeIgniter was one of the most popular and widely used web application development framework written in PHP. Codeigniter was the most preferred PHP framework that time, because it was easy to learn, well documented and had great support from its community and creators. Web developers could quickly start developing applications using codeigniter. But codeigniter was lacking some of very essential features that time such as user authorization and authentication. Taylor Otwell, started the development of Laravel as to find more advanced alternative to the CodeIgniter framework, as Taylor Otwell believed that codeigniter is lacking certain essential features required in building web applications.
In June 9, 2011 Laravel’s first beta version was released and just within a month Laravel 1 released. Laravel 1 came with built-in support for all the major features like authentication, routing, localization, sessions, models, views.
Laravel 1 was lacking support for controllers which prevented it to be considered as true MVC framework. In September 2011, Laravel 2 released with built-in support for controllers, templating system called Blade and inversion of control principle.Laravel 2 was considered as fully MVC compliant framework. But in Laravel 2 support for third-party packages is removed.
In February 2012, Laravel 3 released with some great new features included such as Artisan command line interface, migration system for database, event handling, more session drivers and database drivers and a packaging system called Bundles. Laravel 3 was the most stable release of Laravel framework at that time, from this point of time Laravel framework started to gain popularity and user base.
In May 2013, Laravel 4 was released and is codenamed as Illuminate. Laravel 4 was considered to be completely re-written version of Laravel framework. It was a major release of the framework included features like Composer, database seeding and support for message queues.
In February 2015, Laravel 5 was released with majorly internal changes in core framework.
The latest stable version of Laravel is 5.4