Package providing helper functions for a Laravel REST-API

v0.7.0 2017-03-28 18:49 UTC


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This helper package provides functionality for parsing the URL of a REST-API request.


Note: This version is for Laravel 5. When using Laravel 4 you need to use version 0.4.x.

Install the package through composer by running

composer require marcelgwerder/laravel-api-handler

Once composer finished add the service provider to the providers array in app/config/app.php:


Now import the ApiHandler facade into your classes:

use Marcelgwerder\ApiHandler\Facades\ApiHandler;

Or set an alias in app.php:

'ApiHandler' => Marcelgwerder\ApiHandler\Facades\ApiHandler::class,

That's it!

Migrate from 0.3.x to >= 0.4.x

Relation annotations

Relation methods now need an @Relation annotation to prove that they are relation methods and not any other methods (see issue #11).

 * @Relation
public function author() {
    return $this->belongsTo('Author');  

Custom identification columns

If you pass an array as the second parameter to parseSingle, there now have to be column/value pairs. This allows us to pass multiple conditions like:

ApiHandler::parseSingle($books, array('id_origin' => 'Random Bookstore Ltd', 'id' => 1337));


To override the configuration, create a file called apihandler.php in the config folder of your app.
Check out the config file in the package source to see what options are available.

URL parsing

Url parsing currently supports:

  • Limit the fields
  • Filtering
  • Full text search
  • Sorting
  • Define limit and offset
  • Append related models
  • Append meta information (counts)

There are two kind of api resources supported, a single object and a collection of objects.

Single object

If you handle a GET request on a resource representing a single object like for example /api/books/1, use the parseSingle method.

parseSingle($queryBuilder, $identification, [$queryParams]):

  • $queryBuilder: Query builder object, Eloquent model or Eloquent relation
  • $identification: An integer used in the id column or an array column/value pair(s) (array('isbn' => '1234')) used as a unique identifier of the object.
  • $queryParams: An array containing the query parameters. If not defined, the original GET parameters are used.
ApiHandler::parseSingle($book, 1);

Collection of objects

If you handle a GET request on a resource representing multiple objects like for example /api/books, use the parseMultiple method.

parseMultiple($queryBuilder, $fullTextSearchColumns, [$queryParams]):

  • $queryBuilder: Query builder object, Eloquent model or Eloquent relation
  • $fullTextSearchColumns: An array which defines the columns used for full text search.
  • $queryParams: An array containing the query parameters. If not defined, the original GET parameters are used.
ApiHandler::parseMultiple($book, array('title', 'isbn', 'description'));


Both parseSingle and parseMultiple return a Result object with the following methods available:

getBuilder(): Returns the original $queryBuilder with all the functions applied to it.

getResult(): Returns the result object returned by Laravel's get() or first() functions.

getResultOrFail(): Returns the result object returned by Laravel's get() function if you expect multiple objects or firstOrFail() if you expect a single object.

getResponse($resultOrFail = false): Returns a Laravel Response object including body, headers and HTTP status code. If $resultOrFail is true, the getResultOrFail() method will be used internally instead of getResult().

getHeaders(): Returns an array of prepared headers.

getMetaProviders(): Returns an array of meta provider objects. Each of these objects provide a specific type of meta data through its get() method.

cleanup($cleanup): If true, the resulting array will get cleaned up from unintentionally added relations. Such relations can get automatically added if they are accessed as properties in model accessors. The global default for the cleanup can be defined using the config option cleanup_relations which defaults to false.

ApiHandler::parseSingle($books, 42)->cleanup(true)->getResponse();


Every query parameter, except the predefined functions _fields, _with, _sort, _limit, _offset, _config and _q, is interpreted as a filter. Be sure to remove additional parameters not meant for filtering before passing them to parseMultiple.

/api/books?title=The Lord of the Rings

All the filters are combined with an AND operator.

/api/books?title-lk=The Lord*&created_at-min=2014-03-14 12:55:02

The above example would result in the following SQL where:

WHERE `title` LIKE "The Lord%" AND `created_at` >= "2014-03-14 12:55:02"

Its also possible to use multiple values for one filter. Multiple values are separated by a pipe |. Multiple values are combined with OR except when there is a -not suffix, then they are combined with AND. For example all the books with the id 5 or 6:


Or all the books except the ones with id 5 or 6:


The same could be achieved using the -in suffix:


Respectively the not-in suffix:

Suffix Operator Meaning
-lk LIKE Same as the SQL LIKE operator
-not-lk NOT LIKE Same as the SQL NOT LIKE operator
-in IN Same as the SQL IN operator
-not-in NOT IN Same as the SQL NOT IN operator
-min >= Greater than or equal to
-max <= Smaller than or equal to
-st < Smaller than
-gt > Greater than
-not != Not equal to


Two ways of sorting, ascending and descending. Every column which should be sorted descending always starts with a -.


Fulltext search

Two implementations of full text search are supported. You can choose which one to use by changing the fulltext option in the config file to either default or native.

Note: When using an empty _q param the search will always return an empty result.

Limited custom implementation (default)

A given text is split into keywords which then are searched in the database. Whenever one of the keyword exists, the corresponding row is included in the result set.

/api/books?_q=The Lord of the Rings

The above example returns every row that contains one of the keywords The, Lord, of, the, Rings in one of its columns. The columns to consider in full text search are passed to parseMultiple.

Native MySQL implementation

If your MySQL version supports fulltext search for the engine you use you can use this advanced search in the api handler.
Just change the fulltext config option to native and make sure that there is a proper fulltext index on the columns you pass to parseMultiple.

Each result will also contain a _score column which allows you to sort the results according to how well they match with the search terms. E.g.

/api/books?_q=The Lord of the Rings&_sort=-_score

You can adjust the name of this column by modifying the fulltext_score_column setting in the config file.

Limit the result set

To define the maximum amount of datasets in the result, use _limit.


To define the offset of the datasets in the result, use _offset.


Be aware that in order to use offset you always have to specify a limit too. MySQL throws an error for offset definition without a limit.

Include related models

The api handler also supports Eloquent relationships. So if you want to get all the books with their authors, just add the authors to the _with parameter.


Relationships, can also be nested:


To get this to work though you have to add the @Relation annotation to each of your relation methods like:

 * @Relation
public function author() {
    return $this->belongsTo('Author');  

This is necessary for security reasons, so that only real relation methods can be invoked by using _with.

Note: Whenever you limit the fields with _fields in combination with _with. Under the hood the fields are extended with the primary/foreign keys of the relation. Eloquent needs the linking keys to get related models.

Include meta information

It's possible to add additional information to a response. There are currently two types of counts which can be added to the response headers.

The total-count which represents the count of all elements of a resource or to be more specific, the count on the originally passed query builder instance. The filter-count which additionally takes filters into account. They can for example be useful to implement pagination.


All meta fields are provided in the response header by default. The following custom headers are used:

Config Header
meta-total-count Meta-Total-Count
meta-filter-count Meta-Filter-Count

Use an envelope for the response

By default meta data is included in the response header. If you want to have everything togheter in the response body you can request a so called "envelope" either by including response-envelope in the _config parameter or by overriding the default config.php of the package.

The envelope has the following structure:

  "meta": {

  "data": [