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Laravel v8.x PHP 7.4

Orbit is a flat-file driver for Laravel Eloquent. It allows you to replace your generic database with real files that you can manipulate using the methods you're familiar with.


To install Orbit, run the following command in your project:

composer require ryangjchandler/orbit


To begin using Orbit, create a Laravel model and use the Orbit\Concerns\Orbital trait.

class Post extends Model
    use \Orbit\Concerns\Orbital;

The Orbital trait is responsible for hooking into the Eloquent lifecycle and ensuring all of your interactions are handled correctly.

Defining the Schema

Just like a database migration, you need to define the different pieces of data that your Orbit model can have. Add a public static function schema(Blueprint $table) method to your model.

This method will need to accept an instance of Illuminate\Database\Schema\Blueprint, just like a migration.

use Illuminate\Database\Schema\Blueprint;

class Post extends Model
    use \Orbit\Concerns\Orbital;

    public static function schema(Blueprint $table)

If some of your data is optional, make sure the corresponding column is nullable.

Storing content

By default, all content is stored inside of a content folder in the root of your application. If you wish to change this, publish the orbit.php configuration file and change the orbit.paths.content option.

Orbit will transform the base name of your model into a pluralized snake-cased string and use that as the main folder name, e.g. Post -> content/posts, PostCategory => content/post_categories.

🚨 Changing the name of a model will prevent Orbit from finding any existing records in the old folder. If you wish to change the name of the folder, overwrite the public static function getOrbitalName method on your model class and return the old name instead.

Any time you call Model::create(), Model::update or Model::delete, Orbit will intercept those calls and forward to the necessary driver method. The driver is then responsible for performing the necessary file system calls.

Changing the primary key

Just like a normal Eloquent model, you can change the primary key of your Orbit model. Overwrite the Model::getKeyName method and return the name of your new model.

class Post extends Model
    use Orbital;

    public function getKeyName()
        return 'slug';
    public function getIncrementing()
        return false;

If your model's primary key (the key you defined in getKeyName) doesn't need to automatically increment, you should either define public $incrementing = false on the model or overwrite the getIncrementing method.

Standard Orbit drivers will respect the new key name and use that when creating, updating and deleting files on disk, e.g. a Post with the slug hello-world will write to the content/posts/ file.

🚨 Changing the key for a model after records already exist can cause damage. Be sure to rename your files afterwards so that Orbit doesn't create duplicate content.

Soft Deletes

Since Orbit needs to update files on disk when your model is updated, the standard Eloquent SoftDeletes trait doesn't quite work. If you want to add soft delete support to your Orbit model, you can instead use the Orbit\Concerns\SoftDeletes trait.

This trait uses the Eloquent one under-the-hood, so you can still access all of your normal SoftDeletes methods, including isForceDeleting() and forceDelete().

The Orbit version adds in the necessary hooks to perform file system operations as well as ensure you don't completely delete your content.

Validation Rules

When dealing with validation rules that check against a database like exists and unique, you should use the fully-qualified namespace (FQN) of the model instead of the table name.

This is because Orbit runs on a separate database connection - using the FQN will allow Laravel to correctly resolve the qualified table name.

class StorePostRequest extends FormRequest
    public function authorize(): bool
        return true;

    public function rules(): array
        return [
            'slug' => 'required|alpha_dash|unique:App\Post,id',
            // 'slug' => ['required', 'alpha_dash', Rule::unique(Post::class)],
            'title' => 'required',
            'description' => 'required',


As previously mentioned in the Validation Rules section, Orbit operates on a custom connection called orbit. This means that Laravel's database testing utilities will work, as long as you specify the connection name.

$this->assertDatabaseCount('posts', 5, 'orbit');

$this->assertDatabaseHas('posts', [
    'title' => 'Hello, world',
    'slug' => 'hello-world',
], 'orbit');


Orbit is a driver-based package, making it very easy to change the storage format of your data.

Out of the box, Orbit provides the following drivers:

  • md -> Orbit\Drivers\Markdown
  • json => Orbit\Drivers\Json
  • yaml => Orbit\Drivers\Yaml
  • md_json => Orbit\Drivers\MarkdownJson


This is a Markdown that is capable of parsing Markdown files, as well as YAML front-matter.

When Orbit loads files using this driver, it will map each front-matter key into a column in your models schema.

By default, the Markdown driver will also add a TEXT content column to your schema. This is used to store the Markdown body from the file.

πŸ’‘ If you wish to customise the name of the content column, you can use the Markdown::contentColumn() method and provide a new column name. This is applied to all models that use the Markdown driver.


This is a JSON driver that is capable of parsing .json files. Each key in the file is mapped to a column in your schema.


This is a YAML driver that is capable of parsing .yml files. Each key in the file is mapped to a column in your schema.


This driver is very similar to the Markdown / md driver, but it supports JSON-based front-matter as opposed to the default YAML format.

πŸ’‘ If you wish to customise the name of the content column, you can use the MarkdownJson::contentColumn() method and provide a new column name. This is applied to all models that use the MarkdownJson driver.

Registering drivers

You can register custom Orbit drivers by using the Orbit::extend method. You should call this method from the boot method in a ServiceProvider.

\Orbit\Facades\Orbit::extend('json', function ($app) {
    return new \App\Drivers\JsonDriver($app);

All drivers must implement the Orbit\Contracts\Driver contract, or extend the Orbit\Drivers\FileDriver class. This enforces drivers to have at least 4 methods:

interface Driver
    public function shouldRestoreCache(string $directory): bool;

    public function save(Model $model, string $directory): bool;

    public function delete(Model $model, string $directory): bool;

    public function all(string $directory): Collection;

Here is what each method is used for:

  • shouldRestoreCache - used to determine if the file cache should be updated.
  • save - used to persist model changes to a file on disk, or create a new file.
  • delete - used to delete an existing file on disk
  • all - used to retrieve all records from disk and cache.

Extending FileDriver

Extending the Orbit\Drivers\FileDriver class is useful when you want some of the heavy lifting done for you. To work with this base class, you should do the following:

  1. Implement an extension(): string method that returns the file extension as a string, i.e. return 'md' for Markdown.
  2. Implement a dumpContent(Model $model): string method. This method should return the updated content for the file.
  3. Implement a parseContent(SplFileInfo $file): array method. This method should return an array of key => value pairs, where each key is a column in the schema.

Changing drivers

If you wish to use a different driver for one of your models, you can add a public static $driver property to your model and set the value to the name of a driver.

class Post extends Model
    use Orbital;

    public static $driver = 'json';

Driver names are determined when they are registered with Orbit. You should always use the string name of the driver instead of the fully-qualified class name.

Git Integration (experimental)

Orbit comes with convenient Git integration out of the box. This means that any changes made to your content can be automatically persisted back to your Git repository, keeping everything up-to-date.

To enable Git integration, define a new ORBIT_GIT_ENABLED environment variable in your .env file and set the value to true.


When Git integration is enabled, Orbit will add event listeners to the OrbitalCreated, OrbitalUpdated and OrbitalDeleted events and commit any changed files back to your repository.

This is extremely powerful and can greatly improve your local - production workflows.

Customising the repository root

By default, Orbit uses the base_path as your repositories root directory. If this is not applicable to your application, you can change the path by defining an ORBIT_GIT_ROOT environment variable and setting it's value to the root of your Git repository.

Customising the author name and email

By default, Orbit will use the system's name and email address when making commits to your repository. If you wish to change the name, use the ORBIT_GIT_NAME and ORBIT_GIT_EMAIL environment variables.

If you would like to use a more dynamic name and email address, you can use the Orbit::resolveGitNameUsing and Orbit::resolveGitEmailUsing methods instead:

public function boot()
    Orbit::resolveGitNameUsing(function () {
        return Auth::user()->name;

    Orbit::resolveGitEmailUsing(function () {
        return Auth::user()->email;

Customising the Git binary

If your Git binary is not found in the usual place (/usr/bin/git on most UNIX machines), you can customise the location using the ORBIT_GIT_BINARY environment variable.


A flat-file database driver for Eloquent. πŸ—„



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