Part 4 - Database Migrations and Seeding

2015-08-28 Laravel Package Creating a Laravel 5.x Package


For part 4 of the series we will cover some basic migrations and seeding as it pertains to package development.

Some packages will require a database but sometimes we just need it for our own local testing while developing a package. In particular if it's a package that extends Eloquent or other database operations.

For package testing I prefer to just use sqlite as I find it's easiest to use for isolated local testing. However, if you're using eloquent it should work on all supported databases. It's a good idea to document this in your packages README file in case there are issues.

Setting up the DB

There is not much out of the ordinary here, you will setup your connection as normal. If you are using sqlite then you may need to create a storage/database.sqlite file.

Also since the Laravel we will be using is just for package testing we can remove the existing user migration files.

> rm ./database/migrations/2014_10_12_000000_create_users_table.php
> rm ./database/migrations/2014_10_12_100000_create_password_resets_table.php

From there we can just run a migrate to make sure the connection is working correctly. You should see the Nothing to migrate. message.

> php artisan migrate
> Nothing to migrate.

Migration Files

Next we'll just create a src/migrations directory for our migration files. It's good idea to prefix your migration file names and tables to avoid conflicts.

// src/migrations/0000_00_00_000000_create_websanova_demo_items_table.php

use Illuminate\Database\Schema\Blueprint;
use Illuminate\Database\Migrations\Migration;

class CreateWebsanovaDemoItemsTable extends Migration
    public function up()
        Schema::create('websanova_demo_items', function(Blueprint $t)
            $t->text('slug', 255);
            $t->text('name', 255);
            $t->text('description', 255);

    public function down()

For the migration file names you must provide the proper format with YYYY_MM_DD_TTTTTT_FILENAME. This will be necessary for migrate to parse the file properly. For the most part you can just put 0 there. If you need to run them in a specific sequence you can add appropriate values there.

There are two options for publishing migration files. The first is like we have been doing using the publishes method.

public function boot()
        __DIR__ . '/migrations' => $this->app->databasePath() . '/migrations'
    ], 'migrations');


Generally you will want to set it up this way if developers need to have that as part of their app.

> php artisan vendor:publish --tag=migrations

Again we could use our --force and --provider flags as necessary.

If the tables are strictly used for package testing then I would not use the above method. We can just run it directly using --path option.

> php artisan migrate --path=/packages/websanova/demo/src/migrations

NOTE: There is a small caveat here regarding rollback in this case. Since the migration files are not actually in the app we will need to add the migrations path in the composer.json file.

"autoload": {
    "classmap": [

This of course is not necessary if you are publishing the migrations directly into the app's migrations folder.

To reiterate if the migration files are strictly for testing the package and are not actually needed within the app then we want to avoid publishing any files when the user runs vendor:publish.

Seeding Files

First we will create src/seeds folder and follow the same naming conventions for our files.

// src/seeds/DemoSeeder.php

namespace Websanova\Demo;

use Illuminate\Database\Seeder;

class DemoSeeder extends Seeder
    public function run()
            'slug' => 'test',
            'name' => 'Test',
            'description' => 'My first item test.',
            'created_at' => \Carbon\Carbon::now(),
            'updated_at' => \Carbon\Carbon::now()

You probably won't use an insert call but we won't get into the details of seeding here. You can follow whatever regular practices you use for seeding. Here we will just illustrate how to run the package seeding file.

For seeding we don't need to publish the files. We will specify which class to run using the class option.

> php artisan db:seed --class=Websanova\Demo\Seeds\DemoSeeder

The only hassle here is that we can't run migrate:refresh --seed in one line. We will need to run them separately.

> php artisan migrate:rollback
> php artisan migrate --path=/packages/websanova/demo/src/migrations
> php artisan db:seed --class=Websanova\Demo\Seeds\DemoSeeder


Let's wrap things up by retrieving some data from a model and displaying it. We'll create a src/models folder to keep our models in.

// src/models/Item.php

namespace Websanova\Demo\Models;

use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;

class Item extends Model
    protected $table = 'websanova_demo_items';

Then we create our view in our src/Http/routes.php file.

Route::get('demo/model', function () {

We should see this successfully run with or without data.


We have covered a lot in part 4 on migrations and seeding. These will be necessary if we are building full blown packages that integrate right into our app, like some analytics back end or shopping cart.

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