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View Composers In Laravel

05-10-2014

This article will go over how I used the view creators and view composers in Laravel to create a decoupled navigation system.

To explain the context a bit, I'm building re-useable parts of an application, to give me the ability to quickly create an administration interface for clients. To achieve this I'm using the Pingpong/Modules package. You can go over the modules I'm building over at my dedicated organisation on github.

The basic difference between a View Creator and a View Composer is when it's called. A View Creator is called directly when the view is instantiated. Compared to a View Composer, is called when the view is rendered. We can take adventage of this fact to create menu items using Laravals Collection class.

The goal was to give the ability to each module to send what navigation items it needs to a 'Core' module. This way to core module doens't care about what other modules there are.

Here is what my navigation looks like:

navigation

As you can see there are currently a Dashboard, Workshop, Users & Roles, Blog module.

So how did I do it? I used one View Creator and each module has its View Composer. The navigation is a Laravel Collection, with sub-collection if the module needs sub-lists. The View creator lives in the Core Module, and basically just initialises the collection.

It looks like this:

use Illuminate\Support\Collection;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Config;

class SidebarViewCreator
{
    public function create($view)
    {
        $view->prefix = Config::get('core::core.admin-prefix');
        $view->items = new Collection;
    }
}

This View Creator and the other View Composers are all attached to the navigation.blade partial view.

Then every module has its own View composer that adds one item to this Collection. For instance, in its simplest form, the Dashboard module has this View Composer:

class SidebarViewComposer
{
    public function compose($view)
    {
        $view->items->put('dashboard', [
            'weight' => 0,
            'request' => "*/$view->prefix",
            'route' => 'dashboard.index',
            'icon-class' => 'fa fa-dashboard',
            'title' => 'Dashboard',
        ]);
    }
}

The weight key is the one that'll be used to sort my menu. As you can see, this View Composer just puts an item in the previously created Laravel Collection.

If a module needs a sub menu, I just put a new Laravel Collection, as an item of the initial Collection. This is what it looks like:

<?php namespace Modules\User\Composers;

use Illuminate\Support\Collection;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Request;

class SidebarViewComposer
{
    public function compose($view)
    {
        $view->items->put('user', Collection::make([
            [
                'weight' => '1',
                'request' => Request::is("*/{$view->prefix}/users*") or Request::is("*/{$view->prefix}/roles*"),
                'route' => '#',
                'icon-class' => 'fa fa-user',
                'title' => 'Users & Roles',
            ],
            [
                'request' => "*/{$view->prefix}/users*",
                'route' => 'dashboard.user.index',
                'icon-class' => 'fa fa-user',
                'title' => 'Users',
            ],
            [
                'request' => "*/{$view->prefix}/roles*",
                'route' => 'dashboard.role.index',
                'icon-class' => 'fa fa-flag-o',
                'title' => 'Roles',
            ]
        ]));
    }
}

In this case I use the first item of the sub Collection to set its weight.

Now when every module is done sending its navigation item(s) to the Core module, I send the items to a Navigation Ordener which will re-order the menu items based on its defined weight key.

This is what that class looks like, it's basically very simple:

<?php namespace Modules\Core\Navigation;

use Illuminate\Support\Collection;

class NavigationOrdener
{
    public static function order(Collection $items)
    {
        return $items->sort(
            function ($item1, $item2) {
                $item1 = self::getItem($item1);
                $item2 = self::getItem($item2);

                if ($item1['weight'] > $item2['weight']) {
                    return 1;
                }
                if ($item1['weight'] < $item2['weight']) {
                    return -1;
                }
                return 0;
            }
        );
    }

    /**
     * @param $item
     * @return mixed
     */
    public static function getItem($item)
    {
        return isset($item['weight']) ? $item : $item->first();
    }
}

And as a final step, I loop over every item in the view to display it.


<ul class="sidebar-menu">
    <?php $items = \Modules\Core\Navigation\NavigationOrdener::order($items); ?>
    <?php foreach($items as $i => $item): ?>
        <?php if (is_object($item)): ?>
            <li class="treeview {{ $item[0]['request'] ? 'active' : ''}}">
                <a href="#">
                    <i class="{{ $item[0]['icon-class'] }}"></i> <span>{{ $item[0]['title'] }}</span>
                    <i class="fa fa-angle-left pull-right"></i>
                </a>
                <?php $item->shift(); ?>
                <ul class="treeview-menu">
                    <?php foreach($item as $subItem): ?>
                        <li class="{{ Request::is($subItem['request']) ? 'active' : ''}}">
                            <a href="{{ URL::route($subItem['route']) }}"><i class="{{$subItem['icon-class']}}"></i> {{ $subItem['title'] }}</a>
                        </li>
                    <?php endforeach; ?>
                </ul>
            </li>
        <?php else: ?>
        <li class="{{ Request::is($item['request']) ? 'active' : ''}}">
            <a href="{{ URL::route($item['route']) }}">
                <i class="{{ $item['icon-class'] }}"></i> <span>{{ $item['title'] }}</span>
            </a>
        </li>
        <?php endif; ?>
    <?php endforeach; ?>
</ul>

And voilà. Now every module can independently send its navigation and it'll be display as it should, in the correct order.

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