Laravel Rest Api

Laravel provides a variety of helper methods to assist you in this situation. The when method may be used to conditionally add an attribute to a resource response: use IlluminateSupportFacadesAuth; /. Transform the resource into an array. API resources were introduced in Laravel 5.5. Before the introduction of API resources, we often used a package like fractal as a transformation layer to output JSON responses when building REST APIs. So, in this tutorial, I’ll be showing how to build a robust API in Laravel using API resources.

  • Concept Overview
  • Writing Resources


When building an API, you may need a transformation layer that sits between your Eloquent models and the JSON responses that are actually returned to your application's users. For example, you may wish to display certain attributes for a subset of users and not others, or you may wish to always include certain relationships in the JSON representation of your models. Eloquent's resource classes allow you to expressively and easily transform your models and model collections into JSON.

Of course, you may always convert Eloquent models or collections to JSON using their toJson methods; however, Eloquent resources provide more granular and robust control over the JSON serialization of your models and their relationships.

Generating Resources

To generate a resource class, you may use the make:resource Artisan command. By default, resources will be placed in the app/Http/Resources directory of your application. Resources extend the IlluminateHttpResourcesJsonJsonResource class:

Resource Collections

In addition to generating resources that transform individual models, you may generate resources that are responsible for transforming collections of models. This allows your JSON responses to include links and other meta information that is relevant to an entire collection of a given resource.

To create a resource collection, you should use the --collection flag when creating the resource. Or, including the word Collection in the resource name will indicate to Laravel that it should create a collection resource. Collection resources extend the IlluminateHttpResourcesJsonResourceCollection class:

Concept Overview

{tip} This is a high-level overview of resources and resource collections. You are highly encouraged to read the other sections of this documentation to gain a deeper understanding of the customization and power offered to you by resources.

Before diving into all of the options available to you when writing resources, let's first take a high-level look at how resources are used within Laravel. A resource class represents a single model that needs to be transformed into a JSON structure. For example, here is a simple UserResource resource class:

Every resource class defines a toArray method which returns the array of attributes that should be converted to JSON when the resource is returned as a response from a route or controller method.

Note that we can access model properties directly from the $this variable. This is because a resource class will automatically proxy property and method access down to the underlying model for convenient access. Once the resource is defined, it may be returned from a route or controller. The resource accepts the underlying model instance via its constructor:

Resource Collections


If you are returning a collection of resources or a paginated response, you should use the collection method provided by your resource class when creating the resource instance in your route or controller:

Note that this does not allow any addition of custom meta data that may need to be returned with your collection. If you would like to customize the resource collection response, you may create a dedicated resource to represent the collection:

Once the resource collection class has been generated, you may easily define any meta data that should be included with the response:

After defining your resource collection, it may be returned from a route or controller:

Preserving Collection Keys

When returning a resource collection from a route, Laravel resets the collection's keys so that they are in numerical order. However, you may add a preserveKeys property to your resource class indicating whether a collection's original keys should be preserved:

When the preserveKeys property is set to true, collection keys will be preserved when the collection is returned from a route or controller:

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Customizing The Underlying Resource Class

Typically, the $this->collection property of a resource collection is automatically populated with the result of mapping each item of the collection to its singular resource class. The singular resource class is assumed to be the collection's class name without the trailing Collection portion of the class name. In addition, depending on your personal preference, the singular resource class may or may not be suffixed with Resource.

For example, UserCollection will attempt to map the given user instances into the UserResource resource. To customize this behavior, you may override the $collects property of your resource collection:

Writing Resources

{tip} If you have not read the concept overview, you are highly encouraged to do so before proceeding with this documentation.

In essence, resources are simple. They only need to transform a given model into an array. So, each resource contains a toArray method which translates your model's attributes into an API friendly array that can be returned from your application's routes or controllers:

Once a resource has been defined, it may be returned directly from a route or controller:


If you would like to include related resources in your response, you may add them to the array returned by your resource's toArray method. In this example, we will use the PostResource resource's collection method to add the user's blog posts to the resource response:

{tip} If you would like to include relationships only when they have already been loaded, check out the documentation on conditional relationships.

Resource Collections

While resources transform a single model into an array, resource collections transform a collection of models into an array. However, it is not absolutely necessary to define a resource collection class for each one of your models since all resources provide a collection method to generate an 'ad-hoc' resource collection on the fly:


However, if you need to customize the meta data returned with the collection, it is necessary to define your own resource collection:

Like singular resources, resource collections may be returned directly from routes or controllers:

Data Wrapping

By default, your outermost resource is wrapped in a data key when the resource response is converted to JSON. So, for example, a typical resource collection response looks like the following:

A7r3 shutter count. If you would like to use a custom key instead of data, you may define a $wrap attribute on the resource class:

If you would like to disable the wrapping of the outermost resource, you should invoke the withoutWrapping method on the base IlluminateHttpResourcesJsonJsonResource class. Typically, you should call this method from your AppServiceProvider or another service provider that is loaded on every request to your application:

{note} The withoutWrapping method only affects the outermost response and will not remove data keys that you manually add to your own resource collections.

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Wrapping Nested Resources

You have total freedom to determine how your resource's relationships are wrapped. If you would like all resource collections to be wrapped in a data key, regardless of their nesting, you should define a resource collection class for each resource and return the collection within a data key.

You may be wondering if this will cause your outermost resource to be wrapped in two data keys. Don't worry, Laravel will never let your resources be accidentally double-wrapped, so you don't have to be concerned about the nesting level of the resource collection you are transforming:

Data Wrapping And Pagination

When returning paginated collections via a resource response, Laravel will wrap your resource data in a data key even if the withoutWrapping method has been called. This is because paginated responses always contain meta and links keys with information about the paginator's state:


You may pass a Laravel paginator instance to the collection method of a resource or to a custom resource collection:

Paginated responses always contain meta and links keys with information about the paginator's state:

Conditional Attributes

Sometimes you may wish to only include an attribute in a resource response if a given condition is met. For example, you may wish to only include a value if the current user is an 'administrator'. Laravel provides a variety of helper methods to assist you in this situation. The when method may be used to conditionally add an attribute to a resource response:

In this example, the secret key will only be returned in the final resource response if the authenticated user's isAdmin method returns true. If the method returns false, the secret key will be removed from the resource response before it is sent to the client. The when method allows you to expressively define your resources without resorting to conditional statements when building the array.

The when method also accepts a closure as its second argument, allowing you to calculate the resulting value only if the given condition is true:

Merging Conditional Attributes

Sometimes you may have several attributes that should only be included in the resource response based on the same condition. In this case, you may use the mergeWhen method to include the attributes in the response only when the given condition is true:

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Again, if the given condition is false, these attributes will be removed from the resource response before it is sent to the client.

{note} The mergeWhen method should not be used within arrays that mix string and numeric keys. Furthermore, it should not be used within arrays with numeric keys that are not ordered sequentially.

Conditional Relationships

In addition to conditionally loading attributes, you may conditionally include relationships on your resource responses based on if the relationship has already been loaded on the model. This allows your controller to decide which relationships should be loaded on the model and your resource can easily include them only when they have actually been loaded. Ultimately, this makes it easier to avoid 'N+1' query problems within your resources.

The whenLoaded method may be used to conditionally load a relationship. In order to avoid unnecessarily loading relationships, this method accepts the name of the relationship instead of the relationship itself:

In this example, if the relationship has not been loaded, the posts key will be removed from the resource response before it is sent to the client.

Conditional Pivot Information

In addition to conditionally including relationship information in your resource responses, you may conditionally include data from the intermediate tables of many-to-many relationships using the whenPivotLoaded method. The whenPivotLoaded method accepts the name of the pivot table as its first argument. The second argument should be a closure that returns the value to be returned if the pivot information is available on the model:

If your relationship is using a custom intermediate table model, you may pass an instance of the intermediate table model as the first argument to the whenPivotLoaded method:

If your intermediate table is using an accessor other than pivot, you may use the whenPivotLoadedAs method:

Adding Meta Data

Some JSON API standards require the addition of meta data to your resource and resource collections responses. This often includes things like links to the resource or related resources, or meta data about the resource itself. If you need to return additional meta data about a resource, include it in your toArray method. For example, you might include link information when transforming a resource collection:

When returning additional meta data from your resources, you never have to worry about accidentally overriding the links or meta keys that are automatically added by Laravel when returning paginated responses. Any additional links you define will be merged with the links provided by the paginator.

Laravel Rest Api

Top Level Meta Data

Sometimes you may wish to only include certain meta data with a resource response if the resource is the outermost resource being returned. Typically, this includes meta information about the response as a whole. To define this meta data, add a with method to your resource class. This method should return an array of meta data to be included with the resource response only when the resource is the outermost resource being transformed:


Adding Meta Data When Constructing Resources

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You may also add top-level data when constructing resource instances in your route or controller. The additional method, which is available on all resources, accepts an array of data that should be added to the resource response:

Resource Responses

As you have already read, resources may be returned directly from routes and controllers:

However, sometimes you may need to customize the outgoing HTTP response before it is sent to the client. There are two ways to accomplish this. First, you may chain the response method onto the resource. This method will return an IlluminateHttpJsonResponse instance, giving you full control over the response's headers:

Laravel Rest Api Documentation

Alternatively, you may define a withResponse method within the resource itself. This method will be called when the resource is returned as the outermost resource in a response: