Laravel Posts

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Last week, we were working on one project where we were using LaravelCollective for generating our form. LaravelCollective is a really awesome package and reduces lots of efforts, specifically for automatically binding old inputs to our forms.

Problem

With LaravelColletive when we pass null as a second value, it tried to get old inputs if available and inject them. But for some reason, it was not working with datetimelocal.

datetimelocal need a date in Y-m-d\TH:i Format. When I went into the code of FormBuilder.php, it’s already managing that and tries to convert date into that format if you have passed DateTime object.

So it was completely working fine while creating a record when you do not have any value.

But I have the same form which was used at both the time of Create and Update. And I was passing null into value field at both of the time and LaravelCollective injects it automatically from model or old inputs if there is some error. Something like following,

<div class="form-group col-sm-6">
    {!! Form::label('due_date', 'Due Date:') !!}
    {!! Form::datetimeLocal('due_date', null, ['class' => 'form-control']) !!}
</div>

So, Due date will be automatically placed from the model. It’s working fine with all other fields except datetimelocal.

Solution

The reason behind that is, the value is retrieved from model due_date field, but it comes in Carbon instance and when it converts to a date string, it’s converted into default format which is Y-m-d h:i:s. So it will not work for datetimelocal input since it requires Y-m-d\TH:i format.

So as a solution, what change we did is, instead of passing null value, we first check, if the model is there then pass the value directly to the input. Something like,

<div class="form-group col-sm-6">
    {!! Form::label('due_date', 'Due Date:') !!}
    {!! Form::datetimeLocal('due_date', (isset($task)) ? $task->due_date : null, ['class' => 'form-control']) !!}
</div>

So, I will check if I have passed the model $task to the view and then I will pass a due_date value to input. So FormBuilder will convert it to the proper format and it will get displayed into an input.

Now, when we save the form, it will also return date into Y-m-d\TH:i format, so again we need to convert it to the proper format. For that, we created a mutate attribute for due_date in my Task Model.

public function setDueDateAttribute($value)
{
   $this->attributes['due_date'] = Carbon::parse($value);
}

And that’s it. Our datetimelocal input gets working. I have seen lots of issues on stackoverflow for it. So hope it may help someone.

November 14, 20192 minutesauthorMitul Golakiya
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In the previous article, we learned How to create Laravel Facade and how it can help to simplify our code and make it more accessible and beautiful.

In this article, we will see how we can control our SMS Provider/Gateway via configuration without even touching the code and change it from the environment directly.

Use Case

Imagine you have two SMS Providers called ABC and XYZ that you are using into our application. But you need to switch it over time. But the trick is, you do not want to change your code when you change to other SMS service provider. Just like when you change any driver in Laravel App like Log, Cache, Queue, Database, etc.

so let's figure out, how to do that.

Solution

Create SMS Service Contract

Create an SMS Service contract interface that contains the method to send the SMS.

Create a class app/Services/Contracts/SMSServiceContract.php with the following content,

<?php

namespace App\Services\Contracts;

interface SMSServiceContract
{
    public function sendSMS($phone, $message);
}

The purpose of this class is, every SMS Service should implement this interface and it should have at least one method sendSMS with given the same parameters.

Create SMS Service Implementations

The second step is to create the real implementation of our SMS Services which will be responsible to send the SMS.

So as we have two SMS services, we will create two classes,

ABC SMS Service

Create a class app/Services/ABCSMSService.php with the following content,

<?php

namespace App\Services;

class ABCSMSService implements SMSServiceContract
{
    public function sendSMS($phone, $message)
    {
        // Code here to call API of ABC SMS Provider to send SMS
    }
}

XYZ SMS Service

Create a class app/Services/XYZSMSService.php with the following content,

<?php

namespace App\Services;

class XYZSMSService implements SMSServiceContract
{
    public function sendSMS($phone, $message)
    {
        // Code here to call API of XYZ SMS Provider to send SMS
    }
}

Create Facade to Send SMS

The third step is to create a Facade to send an SMS. Create a facade class app/Facades/SMSGateway.php with the following content,

<?php

namespace App\Facades;

use App\Services\Contracts\SMSServiceContract;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Facade;

class SMSGateway extends Facade
{
    /**
     * Get the registered name of the component.
     *
     * @return string
     */
    protected static function getFacadeAccessor()
    {
        return SMSServiceContract::class;
    }
}

Here, note that we are giving SMSServiceContract class name as a facade accessor. So we will need to use that same class name while binding it to the real implementation in our service provider.

Define SMS Driver in config

We need to define our SMS Driver into our config file. You can create a new config file or can use config/services.php. To keep it simple, we will define it in services.php. I will add the following content at the end of the file before the closing bracket. so it will look like something,

<?php

return [
    ...
    'sms' => env('SMS_SERVICE')
]

Define your driver in .env file

Update your .env file and add SMS_SERVICE variable, something like

SMS_SERVICE=abc

Create/Modify Service Provider

The final step here is, we need to either create our own service provider and add it to config/app.php or we can use AppServiceProvider.php as well. To keep it simple let's add it to AppServiceProvider.

In app/Providers/AppServiceProvider.php we will add the following code under the register method,

$this->app->bind(SMSServiceContract::class, function ($app) {
    if (config('services.sms') == 'abc') {
        return new ABCSMSService();
    } else {
        return new XYZSMSService();
    }
});

Note: Do not forget to import all these classes at the top.

And that's it.

Usage

Now you can use your Facade to send the SMS.

\App\Facades\SMSGateway::sendSMS($phoneNumber, $message);

Or if you made an alias,

\SMSGateway::sendSMS($phoneNumber, $message);

Change service provider,

Now if you want to change your service provider, all you need to do is, just go to the .env and change the provider to xyz and it will use the XYZSMSService class to send the SMS.

I hope this will help to understand Laravel Service Providers and Facade in a much better way.

November 08, 20193 minutesauthorMitul Golakiya
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We are working on an inventory system for one of our client for a long time and recently, what we needed was to retrieve inventory item information by UPC code or ISBN or EAN. so the end customer does not need to fill a full form with all the details.

We implemented a feature where customers can just enter or scan UPC/ISBN/EAN code on the mobile app and we retrieve all the information of the product and auto-fill it with an image of the product as well.

So we started using UPCItemDB, which has a very nice database of items. You can call their API and retrieve information about the product by sending UPC code. It has a free plan that you can use for trial purposes.

But there was no proper PHP or Laravel package for that, so we decided to make our own and publish it to Github.

It's called laravel-upcitemdb and here is the link for it: https://github.com/InfyOmLabs/laravel-upcitemdb

Here are the installation steps and how to use this package.

Installation

Install the package by the following command,

composer require infyomlabs/laravel-upcitemdb

Publish the config file

Run the following command to publish config file,

php artisan vendor:publish --provider="InfyOm\UPCItemDB\UPCItemDBServiceProvider"

Add Facade

Add the Facade to your config/app.php into aliases section,

'UPCItemDB' => \InfyOm\UPCItemDB\UPCItemDB::class,

Usage

Lookup

For UPC Lookup, use the lookup method by calling,

\UPCItemDB::lookup('4002293401102');

Search

For Search API, you can use the search method,

\UPCItemDB::search('iphone 6');

\UPCItemDB::search('iphone 6', [
    'brand' => 'apple'
]);
November 05, 20191 minuteauthorMitul Golakiya
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Last month, I started training in one company where I am giving Laravel Training to around 15-20 PHP Developers, where we discussed the core Laravel concepts to them including Service Providers, Facades, Eloquent, and many more.

There I explained to them the use and beauty of Laravel Facades and how the use of Facade can simplify code. We took a real practical example and use case they have, which I'm outlining here.

Use Case

They are building a CRM application and using some third party API to send an SMS. Though Laravel Notification Channels are the best way to send the SMS but here that's not the goal of this post, so we will try to stick to the Facade development to send the SMS.

Here is how we were sending SMS so far.

Traditional way

Have one common Class/Repository/Manager called SMSManager.

<?php

namespace App\Managers;

class SMSManager
{
    public function sendSMS($recipient, $message)
    {
        // code to send sms
    }
}

This code and pattern look completely fine. But the problem was every time when we need to send an SMS they need to either Create/Inject SMSManager class and call sendSMS method of it.

...
$smsManager = new SMSManager();
$smsManager->sendSMS($phoneNumber, $message);
...

Also, this code is not scalable. If you want to change your SMS Provider then you need to replace the function or create a new function. Or you want to use multiple SMS Providers for different users based on their subscription then this way doesn't work.

Laravel Facade Way

Laravel Facades is a great way to call static interfaces of the classes. So you don't need to make/inject SMSManager class instance and you can directly call sendSMS function.

To do that, we need to create Facade class and bind its accessor in Service Provider. We can create our own service provider or even can do it in AppServiceProvider as well. To keep it simple, let's use AppServiceProvider as of now.

Create a Facade Class

Create a new class called SMSGateway into app\Facades directory with the following code,

<?php

namespace App\Facades;

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Facade;

class SMSGateway extends Facade
{
    /**
     * Get the registered name of the component.
     *
     * @return string
     */
    protected static function getFacadeAccessor()
    {
        return 'sms_gateway';
    }
}

Bind Facade with SMSManager Implementation

The next step is to bind our facade class with our real SMSManager implementation. To do that, open AppServiceProvider and add the following line to the register method,

$this->app->bind('sms_gateway', function ($app) {
    return new SMSManager();
});

Now, we are all set to use our Facade in our code.

Usage of Facade in code

To send an SMS, we now no longer need to create instance of SMSManager, we can directly use,

\App\Facades\SMSGateway::sendSMS($phoneNumber, $message);

Make Alias (Optional)

Or, you can add this facade to config/app.php into aliases section,

'SMSGateway' => App\Facades\SMSGateway::class,

And you can directly call,

\SMSGateway::sendSMS($phoneNumber, $message);

So this way, we can clean out our code and utilize the Laravel Facade to make our code more beautiful.

Hope this helps.

November 03, 20193 minutesauthorMitul Golakiya
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Last month we started working on one of our internal project called InfyTracker, which we were planning to use as a simple time tracker and very little of project management or task reporting.

We have also published it as an open source project to our Github account so other people from the community can use it. It's still in alpha stage and we are still working on it and making tons of improvements. But, While building this project, we found a few things that we think might be useful to optimize the app or can be used in other projects. Also, I think lots of developers even do not realize these things.

So I planned to share it with the community where I will be discussing them in a detail with solutions we used. So here are the things/mistakes that we found during our project development.

  1. Adding all stylesheets and scripts in a layout file
  2. Not separating out page level CSS or JS
  3. Not using laravel-mix

1. Adding all stylesheets and scripts in layout

What I've seen is, when we want to add a new library/package to the project, people generally go to the layout file and just insert a style and script tag there.

For e.g., I want to use moment-js in the app, so what I do, I go to my layout file and include moment-js script tag there via CDN. Even if I only need moment-js in few of my pages. same can be there for other libraries like datatables, even if we only need datatables in a few pages of the app.

The problem it creates is, even if we don't need them in most of our pages, those files are still included in our page and of course, the page takes more time to load.

2. Not separating out page level CSS or JS

Generally, we use lots of JS in our code. And for all page level JS/CSS, most of the developers put it in a blade file of the page at the bottom with some section of JS/CSS.

For e.g., I have used a datatable in my page, so I need to initialize datatable. so generally, I will have declared one section called scripts or bottom_js which will be yield in my layout file. That's what I have seen in lots of code.

But, there are two problems with that,

  1. When that page is loaded, your JS code is completely visible to the world and sometimes that's not good and secure
  2. It's not minified (and since it's sitting into your blade files, there is no way to minify it either)

3. Not using laravel-mix

In really few projects or very few expert developers use laravel-mix or use laravel-mix in the right way. When you do not use laravel-mix in your site, your JS/CSS files are not minified. It's completely visible to the world which can be sometimes dangerous and file sizes are big as well in large projects.

That's the three major things that we found while developing this project.


Here is the solution that we used to overcome these problems.

Solution 1. Adding all stylesheets and scripts in specific pages

To resolve this problem, we declared two sections in our layout file.

  1. stylesheets
  2. scripts

so all of our web pages which has a dependency for the third-party CSS/JS libraries will look like following,


@extends('layouts.app')
@section('stylesheets')
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://rawgit.com/fronteed/iCheck/1.x/skins/all.css">
@endsection

@section('content')
    ....content here....
@endsection

@section('scripts')
    <script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/iCheck/1.0.2/icheck.min.js"></script>
@endsection

As per the above example, the iCheck library will be only added on pages where we are actually using iCheck instead of all of my web pages.

Solution 2. Separating out page level CSS or JS

To resolve this problem, we also declared two new sections in the layout file.

  1. page_css
  2. page_js

page_css section will contain page level CSS and page_js section will contain page level javascript like initializing datatable or checkboxes etc. Also, this all page level CSS and JS are not placed directly inside the blade file. But we go one step further.

Under the resources/assets folder, we have two folders,

  1. js - contains all page level JS for different blade files
  2. styles - contains all page level CSS for different blade files

We tried to follow the same folder structure for this that we used for our blade views.

Folder Structure

If you have multiple files then you can try to use names like index.js, edit.js, etc, just the same as your blade view names.

And in your blade view files, you can include them as a script or stylesheet. For e.g.


@section('page_js')
    <script src="{{ mix('assets/js/task/task.js') }}"></script>
@endsection

Note: Use of mix is explained in the next section. so you can just ignore that as of now. But the basic idea is, include them as a script or stylesheet with sections, instead of directly putting them in blade files.

Solution 3. Using laravel-mix

Laravel mix is a great tool for asset compilation. All of the page level JS/CSS files and other common JS/CSS should be compiled by laravel mix and should be copied to the public folder with versioning for cache busting. And then it will be included via mix helper in our blade views. (As explained in the above solution at the bottom of the section).

For e.g. our webpack.mix.js looks like the following, 


/* CSS */
mix.sass('resources/assets/style/sass/laravel/app.scss', 'public/assets/style/css/app.css')
   .sass('resources/assets/style/sass/style.scss', 'public/assets/style/css/style.css')
   .sass('resources/assets/style/sass/dashboard.scss', 'public/assets/style/css/dashboard.css')
   .version();

/* JS */
mix.js('resources/assets/js/custom.js', 'public/assets/js/custom.js')
   .js('resources/assets/js/users/user.js', 'public/assets/js/users/user.js')
   .js('resources/assets/js/task/task.js', 'public/assets/js/task/task.js')
   .version();

This will minify our code and make it secure in the production environment.

Hope this helps.

June 19, 20195 minutesauthorMitul Golakiya
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Lots of people asked a question on our Github Repo that how they can display relationship data into index while using Datatables. so I decided to write a post with a detailed tutorial on that. Let's see how it's possible.

Problem:

Let's imagine the following simple scenario. We have a users table and we have posts table. Post table is pretty simple with the following fields:

  • id
  • author_id
  • title
  • body
  • created_at
  • updated_at

Where author_id is a foreign key to the users table. We want to display author name into the index table.

But since we need that data from the relationship, there is no direct way to display that into Datatable.

Solution:

Let's perform the following steps (before performing these steps, generate your CRUD with datatables for Post model):

Step 1: Add author relationship into Post model

Since we want to display the author name of the post, let's add author relationship into Post.php

public function author()
{
    return $this->belongsTo(User::class, 'author_id');
}

Step 2: Modify PostDataTable

Since we have to display relationship data we need to load it using eager loading of laravel. Modify the query method of PostDataTable.php. something like,

public function query(Post $model)
{
    return $model->newQuery()->with(['author']);
}

Also, we need to add one more column author name into datatable. so modify getColumns method and add that to the array. something like,

protected function getColumns()
{
    return [
        'title',
        'author_name' => new \Yajra\DataTables\Html\Column(['title' => 'Author Name', 'data' => 'author.name', 'name' => 'author.name'])
    ];
}

This will add one more column with header "Author Name" in the datatable before "Action" column. Here, we are adding custom datatable column where key will the name of column which datatable use internally, title will be used for Datatable Column header title and data will be used for retrieving data.

And that's it. Run your code and you should be able to see Author name of the post into your datatable.

March 19, 20192 minutesauthorMitul Golakiya
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InfyOm Laravel Generator comes with two possible choices for a table in the index view.

  1. Native table with blade
  2. Datatables

Datatables comes with a huge set of features if you really need it and InfyOm Generator is capable to generate your CRUD table with Datatables. It uses yajra/laravel-datatables-oracle for that. But I heard from lots of people that they got confused into the installation of that package and how to use it with Generator. so I decided to write a post on that.

Yajra datatables comes with few different packages, one for core datatables and other plugins like buttons, HTML, export CSV etc. When you are using it with InfyOm Generator, you will need all of them since we generate a table with a full set of features.

Perform the following steps.

Step 1: Add Packages

In the first step, we need to add these packages into our project based on laravel version we are using. Check the following table:

Laravel Version yajra/laravel-datatables-oracle yajra/laravel-datatables-buttons

yajra/laravel-datatables-html

5.5 8.x 4.x 4.x
5.6 8.x 4.x 4.x
5.7 8.x 4.x 4.x
5.8 9.x 4.x 4.x

Based on your laravel version, install these packages and add the following service providers and facade in config/app.php.

/** Service Providers **/

 Yajra\Datatables\DatatablesServiceProvider::class,
Yajra\Datatables\ButtonsServiceProvider::class,
Yajra\Datatables\HtmlServiceProvider::class,

/** Facade **/

'Datatables' => Yajra\Datatables\Facades\Datatables::class,

Step 2: Run Vendor Publish

Once, you added this, publish the assets for all these service providers. This is also one critical step. Make sure you run vendor:publish for all these service providers. Or you can just run php artisan vendor:publish and select the service provider from the list and do this for all of these three service providers. It will publish some assets into your public directory.

Step 3: Enable Datatable option for Generator

After publishing assets, go to config/infyom/laravel_generator.php and make add_on => datatables => true.

Step 4: Scripts and CSS section into blade layout (Optional)

If you have used publish layout option then you can skip this step. Otherwise, make sure, you have scripts and CSS section into your main blade layout file. Since that's where all scripts and CSS will be added for datatables.

And that's it. Try to generate CRUD for some model and it should generate your crud with Datatables.

March 15, 20192 minutesauthorMitul Golakiya
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Introducing Laravel 5.8 support to InfyOm Laravel Generator with more cleaner Repository Pattern

Laravel 5.8 just release this week with a bunch of new improvements. You can read the full post here about new updates. so in a very small fraction of time, we also worked on to add support of Laravel 5.8 into our generator. You can read the installation steps here.

Also, one another feature or improvement we have done is, we tried to create a cleaner and extendable repository pattern while generating CRUD. so far we were using prettus/l5-repository package, which is really awesome if you do not want to write your general functions of create/all/update/delete/find in all of your repositories. I really loved that package and that's the reason we extended that package when we create our repository.

This is all great when you are talking about simple CRUD functions. But things get confusing when people want to customize their code. I got a lot of emails and also lots of people created issues on Github regarding how to customize that function based on their certain needs.

So with this version, I decided to write our own simple BaseRepository which will be published into app/Repositories/BaseRepository.php. so developers are free to customize all the basic functions.

Actually, this is also possible with prettus/l5-repository as well and with our generator as well by publishing templates. But that needs some more work and some deep knowledge of customizing templates. But with this update, it will be easier.

Right now, I do not expect any breaking changes who are migrating their code from 5.7 to 5.8 which is using a generator. I tried to keep all old BaseRepository classes and repository package into dependencies. All their existing generated repositories should work fine.

Still, if someone is getting any error then they can contact me by creating issues on Github. I will try to respond there.

Hope this release will help and people can start to get started to upgrade their code to Laravel 5.8.

March 02, 20192 minutesauthorMitul Golakiya