How to create Laravel Helper Function? [SOLVED]


Steve Alila

Laravel

Laravel is a powerful PHP framework with many built-in functionalities to streamline web development. However, sometimes you need to perform custom operations or encapsulate frequently used code into reusable functions. This is where the ability to create Laravel helpers comes in.

Laravel helpers provide a collection of utility functions. They simplify common programming tasks and enhance code organization. This article walks you through creating your own custom Laravel helper. You'll learn how to tailor Laravel's functionality to your project requirements. It explores the steps involved in creating a custom Laravel helper.

We also discuss best practices for organizing and naming your helpers. The best practices help you to create a library of custom Laravel helpers that streamline your development process, improve code organization, and enhance collaboration with other developers.

Are you ready to supercharge your development workflow and create Laravel helpers that boost productivity and code maintainability? Let's dive in right in!

Frequently used Laravel built-in helpers

Laravel's extensive collection of helpers simplifies common tasks and enhances the development experience by providing reusable and convenient functions. Before learning to create Laravel helpers, it crucial to know the frequently used built-in helpers. And use them where necessary.

Here are some examples of the frequently used built-in Laravel helpers:

  1. dd(): Used for debugging purposes. It dumps the given variables and terminates the script execution, displaying the variable contents and halting further code execution.
  2. route(): Generates URLs for named routes defined in your Laravel application. It accepts the route name and any required parameters and returns the corresponding URL.
  3. url(): Generates URLs for a given path or URL fragment. It is commonly used to create URLs for static assets, such as CSS, JavaScript, or image files.
  4. asset(): Generates URLs for assets stored in the public directory of your Laravel application. It is commonly used to generate URLs for images, stylesheets, or JavaScript files.
  5. config(): Retrieves values from the configuration files of your Laravel application. It allows you to access configuration variables defined in the config/app.php or custom configuration files.
  6. old(): Retrieves the old input values from a previous form submission. It is commonly used to repopulate form fields with the previously entered values when validation errors occur.
  7. env(): Retrieves values from the .env file of your Laravel application. It allows you to access environment variables, making it easy to configure your application based on different environments.

Now that you know a few built-in helpers, let me show you how to create a custom Laravel helper.

Create Laravel helper function [Step-by-Step]

Step 1: Create a new file for the helper

Open your Laravel project a preferred code editor then locate and navigate to the app directory within your Laravel project.

Next, create a new file in the app directory. Name the file appropriately to reflect the purpose of your helper. I have created a CustomHelper.php in the app/Helpers directory.

Step 2: Define the helper function

Helpers are typically defined as static functions to allow global access. Inside the app/Helpers/CustomHelper.php file, define a PHP function that encapsulates the desired functionality of your helper.

Here is an example of a helper function to generate a random string:

<?php

function generateRandomString($length = 10)
{
    $characters = '0123456789abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ';
    $randomString = '';

    for ($i = 0; $i < $length; $i++) {
        $randomString .= $characters[rand(0, strlen($characters) - 1)];
    }

    return $randomString;
}

create Laravel helper

Save the file.

Step 3: Make the helper globally accessible

Open the composer.json file located in the root directory of your Laravel project. Find the autoload section within the composer.json file. Add the path to your custom helper file under the files array.

"autoload": {
    "files": [
        "app/Helpers/CustomHelper.php"
    ]
}

How to create Laravel Helper Function? [SOLVED]

Save the composer.json file.

Step 4: Regenerate the Composer autoloader

Open your terminal or command prompt and run the following command to regenerate the Composer autoloader:

composer dump-autoload

Step 5: Use the custom helper

The custom Laravel helper is now ready to be used throughout your application. Call the helper function from anywhere in your Laravel codebase to use it.

Route::get('/', function () {
    $randomString = generateRandomString(50);
    echo $randomString;
    // return view('welcome');
});

How to create Laravel Helper Function? [SOLVED]

Best practices to create Laravel helpers [organization and naming]

When it comes to organizing and naming custom helpers in Laravel , following best practices can greatly improve code readability, maintainability, and collaboration.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Folder Structure:
    • Create a dedicated folder for your custom helpers within the app directory, such as app/Helpers.
    • Place all your helper files inside this folder to keep them organized.
  2. File Naming:
    • Use descriptive and meaningful names for your helper files that reflect their purpose or functionality.
    • Consider using PascalCase or StudlyCase for file names, e.g., CustomHelper.php.
  3. Function Naming:
    • Use descriptive and self-explanatory names for your helper functions.
    • Follow PHP naming conventions, typically using camelCase for function names.
    • Choose function names that accurately describe what the helper function does.
  4. Namespace:
    • Consider using a namespace for your custom helper functions to prevent naming conflicts with other functions or classes.
    • Assign a unique namespace for your custom helpers, such as App\Helpers.
  5. Static Functions:
    • Declare your helper functions as static functions to allow them to be globally accessible without the need for class instances.
  6. Helper Class:
    • Alternatively, you can create a helper class that encapsulates related helper functions as static methods.
    • This approach can provide better organization and allow grouping of related helper functions within a single class.
  7. Documentation:
    • Include comments or docblocks to document the purpose and usage of your helper functions.
    • Clearly explain the input parameters, expected return values, and any assumptions or dependencies.
  8. Code Reusability:
    • Aim for reusable helper functions that can be used in multiple contexts or projects.
    • Avoid hardcoding values specific to a particular use case unless it's explicitly intended for that purpose.

Summary

Creating custom Laravel helpers can significantly enhance the development experience and improve the maintainability of your Laravel applications. Encapsulating frequently used code snippets or application-specific logic into helper functions can achieve cleaner, more readable code and promote code reusability across your projects.

With the ability to create custom helpers, you can tailor Laravel's functionality to your project requirements. Whether generating random strings, formatting data, or performing complex operations, custom helpers can effectively encapsulate and reuse your code.

This article discussed the importance of Laravel helpers and their purpose in simplifying common programming operations. We explored the steps to create a custom Laravel helper, including defining helper functions, making them globally accessible, and utilizing them in your codebase. Additionally, we highlighted best practices for organizing and naming custom helpers to ensure code readability and maintainability.

Following the outlined steps and best practices, you can create a library of custom Laravel helpers that streamline your development process, improve code organization, and enhance collaboration with other developers.

Further Reading

How to create custom helper functions in Laravel
How do I make global helper functions in laravel

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Steve Alila

He specializes in web design, WordPress development, and data analysis, with proficiency in Python, JavaScript, and data extraction tools. Additionally, he excels in web API development, AI integration, and data presentation using Matplotlib and Plotly. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or check his projects on GitHub page.

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