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Controllers are classes used to group related request handling logic.

You can manually create controller files, or you can have Artisan generate them for you using the command php artisan make:controller followed by the controller name.

For example:

$ php artisan make:controller BookController
Controller created successfully.

Find the resulting file at foobooks/app/Http/Controllers/BookController.php


namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;

class BookController extends Controller

Some observations about the generated controller:

  • Location
    • Controller class files are stored in /app/Http/Controllers/. This directory is psr-4 loaded in /composer.json, so anything you put here will be readily available using the appropriate namespace.
  • Naming conventions
    • Suffix controller file names with Controller and use upper CamelCase style (ex: BookController).
    • Controllers are classes, so they should be named singularly (e.g. BookController, not BooksController).
  • Parent Controller class
    • Controller classes should extend Laravel's Controller class, which also exists in /app/Http/Controllers/.
    • This base class is where you can put common logic shared by all your controllers, and it imports several Laravel convenience methods which we'll be taking advantage of.
  • Methods (aka actions)
    • Within your controller class you'll have public methods which represent the actions of your Controller; these actions will be tied to routes.

Connecting routes to controllers

Once you have controllers, you can set up your routes so that they invoke an action instead of a closure. In Laravel terms, an action is just a method in a controller that can be invoked from your routes using the pattern Controller@method, e.g. BookController@index.

So, this...

Route::get('/books', function () {
    return 'Here are all the books...';

Can become this:

Route::get('/books', 'BookController@index');

And the work that was happening in the route can now be outsourced to a index method in the Controller:


namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;

class BookController extends Controller {

    * GET /books
    public function index()
        # Work that was previously happening in the routes file is now happening here
        return 'Here are all the books...';

After making these changes, visit http://foobooks.loc/books to make sure it's still working.

Route parameters

Your controller actions/methods can accept route parameters just like the closures did, as can be seen if we refactor the Show a book route.

Refactor route to invoke BookController@show:

Route::get('/books/{title}', 'BookController@show');

And add the following show method to the BookController.

* GET /books/{title}
public function show($title)
    return 'Results for the book: '.$title;

Note how the show method accepts a single parameter, $title, which will automatically correspond to our {title} route parameter just like it did with closures.


Controllers provide a way to organize your application into logical parts. As we progress, we'll add all book related actions (add a book, edit a book, etc.) to the BookController.

As applications grow in complexity, you can/should organize them via multiple controller files. For example, eventually our Foobooks app will have the ability to add/edit/view authors, and to handle that functionality we would add an AuthorController.

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