Matt Stauffer has posted the latest in his "What's New in Laravel 5" series today with a look at the changes in creating Artisan commands with a newer, simpler syntax.
If you're not familiar with Artisan commands, they're command-line functions that you can run to interact with your Laravel application. If you run php artisan from the command line in any Laravel application directory, you'll see a list of all of the Artisan commands available for each app. As you can see, Laravel comes with quite a few enabled out of the box.
He starts with a look at the old way of creating the commands using the "artisan make:console" command to build the class and an example of its contents. This version requires a good bit of extra code to reference things like arguments and define required parameters. He then compares this with the new way with a much simpler syntax and reduced about of code overall. One of the main differences he mentions is the concept of a "signature" for the command - a specially formatted string that defines configuration such as required and optional parameters. He finishes the post with a few examples of these signatures.