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Current version: 2.x

Packagist: hackerboy/json-api

Making JSON API implementation (server side) easiest for you


composer require hackerboy/json-api

Run examples:

  • Example code: /example/index.php
  • Guide to set up /examples/index.php to see some examples of uses.
git clone ./hackerboy-json-api;
cd hackerboy-json-api;
composer install --dev;

Then config your localhost nginx/apache to access [LOCALHOST_PATH]/examples/index.php

Table of Contents

How to use?

Create your resource schema

Mapping your id, type, attributes from your model objects by creating Schema classes. Inside the Schema class, you can retrieve your model object through $this->model. For example, I'm gonna talk in a Laravel project context. Firstly, let's create a resource file: /app/Http/JsonApiResources/UserResource.php

namespace App\Http\JsonApiResources;
use HackerBoy\JsonApi\Abstracts\Resource;

class UserResource extends Resource {

    protected $type = 'users';

    public function getId()
        // $this->model is the instance of model, in this case, it's App\User
        return $this->model->id;

    public function getAttributes()
        return [
            'name' => $this->model->name,
            'email' => $this->model->email

    * Meta is optional
    public function getMeta()
        return [
            'meta-is-optional' => $this->model->some_value

Configuration and mapping your resources

Now we can easily generate a JSON API document object like this:

namespace App\Http\Controllers\Api;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;
use App\Http\Controllers\Controller;

use HackerBoy\JsonApi\Document;

class UserController extends Controller {
    public function index()
        // User to return
        $user = \App\User::find(1);
        $users = \App\User::take(10)->get();
        // Config and mapping
        $config = [
            'resource_map' => [
                \App\User::class => \App\Http\JsonApiResources\UserResource::class
                // Map your other model => resource
            'api_url' => '',
            'auto_set_links' => true, // Enable this will automatically add links to your document according to JSON API standard
        // Let's test it
        $document = new Document($config);
        $document->setData($user) // or set data as a collection by using ->setData($users)
                  ->setMeta(['key' => 'value']);
        return response()->json($document)->header('Content-Type', 'application/vnd.api+json');

Document methods

The difference between "set methods" and "add methods" are is: "Set methods" will override the data while "add methods" will append to data.

Available "set" methods from $document object are:

  • setData($resourceOrCollection, $type = 'resource') // Default $type = 'resource', in case you need to return data as relationship object, change $type to 'relationship'. Or you can use the setDocumentType() method below
  • setDocumentType($type) // $type = "resource" or "relationship".
  • setIncluded($resourceOrCollection)
  • setErrors($errors) // Array or HackerBoy\JsonApi\Elements\Error object - single error or multiple errors data will both work for this method
  • setLinks($links) // Array of link data or HackerBoy\JsonApi\Elements\Links object
  • setMeta($meta) // Array of meta data or HackerBoy\JsonApi\Elements\Meta object

Available "get" methods from $document object are:

  • getQuery() // Get Query object for finding resources
  • getConfig() // Get document config
  • getData() // Get document data
  • getIncluded() // Get document included data
  • getErrors() // Get document errors data
  • getMeta() // Get document meta data
  • getLinks() // Get document links
  • getUrl($path = '') // Get api url
  • getResourceInstance($modelObject) // Get resource instance of a model object

Available "add" methods from $document object are:

  • addIncluded($resourceOrCollection)
  • addErrors($errors) // Array or HackerBoy\JsonApi\Elements\Error object - single error or multiple errors data will both work for this method
  • addLinks($links) // Array of link data or HackerBoy\JsonApi\Elements\Links object
  • addMeta($meta) // Array of meta data or HackerBoy\JsonApi\Elements\Meta object



$document->setData([$post1, $post2]) // or ->setData($post) will also work
    ->setIncluded([$comment1, $comment2])
            'meta-key' => 'meta-value',
            'meta-key-2' => 'value 2'
            'first' => $document->getUrl('first-link'),
            'last' => $document->getUrl('last-link'),
            'prev' => $document->getUrl('prev-link'),
            'next' => $document->getUrl('last-link'),

// Get document data
$documentData = $document->getData();

Implement relationships

Simply return an array in getRelationships() method


namespace HackerBoy\JsonApi\Examples\Resources;

use HackerBoy\JsonApi\Abstracts\Resource;

class PostResource extends Resource {

    protected $type = 'posts';

    public function getId()
        return $this->model->id;

    public function getAttributes()
        return [
            'title' => $this->model->title,
            'content' => $this->model->content

    public function getRelationships()
        $relationships = [
            'author' => $this->model->author, // Post has relationship with author

            // If post has comments, return a collection
            // Not? Return a blank array (implement empty to-many relationship)
            'comments' => $this->model->comments ? $this->model->comments : []

        return $relationships;

Set data as relationships

Second param allows you to set data as relationship (for request like: /api/posts/1/relationships/comments)


// Set data as relationship
$document->setData($resourceOrCollection, 'relationship');

// Or

toArray() and toJson() methods

New methods in v1.1. Available for document, elements and resources

$data = $document->toArray();
$json = $document->toJson();

Easily create elements for your document

Suppose that we created a $document object

Create errors


// Create an error
$errorData = [
    'id' => '123',
    'status' => '500',
    'code' => '456',
    'title' => 'Test error'

// Return an error
$error = $document->makeError($errorData);

// Return multiple errors
$errors = [$document->makeError($errorData), $document->makeError($errorData)];

// Attach error to document
// Or
// It'll even work if you just put in an array data

Create links


$linkData = [
        'self' => $document->getUrl('self-url'),
        'ralated' => $document->getUrl('related-url')

// Create links
$links = $document->makeLinks($linkData);

// Attach links to document
// this will also work

// Create pagination
$pagination = $document->makePagination([
        'first' => $document->getUrl('first-link'),
        'last' => $document->getUrl('last-link'),
        'prev' => $document->getUrl('prev-link'),
        'next' => $document->getUrl('last-link'),

// Attach pagination to document

Create other elements

It'll work the same way, available methods are:

You can see more examples in /examples/index.php

Document Query

New feature in v2, now you can make query to find resources (HackerBoy\JsonApi\Abstracts\Resource) in a document by using $document->getQuery() method. $document->getQuery() return an instance of Laravel Illuminate\Support\Collection (Check the link for full document of querying methods).

Objects returned by query are \HackerBoy\JsonApi\Abstracts\Resource

Example of document query


$findResourceById = $document->getQuery()->where('type', '...')->where('id', '...')->first();
$findResourceByAttributes = $document->getQuery()->where('attributes.title', '...')->first();

Client-Side usages

Flexible document and resources

  • Flexible document can be used exactly like normal document, but $config is optional, flexible resource allowed... You can consider it as a "free schema" version of document.
  • Flexible document can use the same $config as normal document, then you can use it to work with flexible resource and mapped resource in the same document.
  • Flexible document might be helpful for projects with no ORM, build JSON API data quickly without configuration, build JSON API data to POST to another JSON API endpoint...
  • Flexible document is not recommended anyway, as it allows to build a document in a free way and may cause unpredicted errors to your API like missing elements, invalid format...etc... So use it carefully and wisely

Example of flexible document


$flexibleDocument = new HackerBoy\JsonApi\Flexible\Document; // $config is the same format with normal document but it is optional

// Create a flexible resource
$flexibleResource = $flexibleDocument->makeFlexibleResource();
                        'attribute_name' => 'attribute value'
                        'meta-key' => 'meta value'
                        'self' => '/link'

// Or with faster way to set type and id
$flexibleResource = $flexibleDocument->makeFlexibleResource('resource-type', 'resource-id');

// Attach flexible resource to document
$flexibleDocument->setData($flexibleResource); // You can put in a collection as well, all other methods are the same

echo $flexibleDocument->toJson();

Parse from string or array

Parse from string


use HackerBoy\JsonApi\Helpers\Validator;

$jsonapiString = '{
    "data": {
      "type": "articles",
      "id": "1",
      "attributes": {
        "title": "Rails is Omakase"
      "relationships": {
        "author": {
          "links": {
            "self": "/articles/1/relationships/author",
            "related": "/articles/1/author"
          "data": { "type": "people", "id": "9" }
        "images": {
            "data": [
                    "type": "images",
                    "id": "1"
                    "type": "images",
                    "id": "2"
    "included": [
            "type": "people",
            "id": "1",
            "attributes": {
                "name": "John Doe"
            "type": "images",
            "id": "1",
            "attributes": {
                "src": ""
            "type": "images",
            "id": "2",
            "attributes": {
                "src": ""

// Helper method to validate request JSON:API string
if (!Validator::isValidRequestString($jsonapiString)) {
    throw new Exception('Invalid request string');

// Helper method to validate response JSON:API string
if (!Validator::isValidResponseString($jsonapiString)) {
    throw new Exception('Invalid response string');

$document = FlexibleDocument::parseFromString($jsonapiString);

// Get primary data
$article = $document->getData();

// Get article's images and author
$articleAuthor = $article->getRelationshipData('author');
$articleImages = $article->getRelationshipData('images');

// Find the people resource
$peopleResource = $document->getQuery()->where(['type' => 'people', 'id' => '1'])->first();

if ($articleAuthor === $peopleResource) {
    echo 'Great! They are the same';

// Get data
echo $peopleResource->getId(); // Expect '1'
echo $peopleResource->getType(); // Expect 'people'
echo $peopleResource->getAttribute('name'); // Expect 'John Doe'
echo $peopleResource->getAttribute('not-found-attribute', 'Default value'); // Expect 'Default value'
var_dump($peopleResource->getAttributes()); // Expect ['name' => 'John Doe']

// Modify resource data
$peopleResource->setAttribute('email', '');

// Check document after modification
echo $document->toJson();


PHP JSON API implementation (server side)



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