Tips On Data Seeding In Laravel

The article shares tips on how to seed data in Laravel technology.

Chapter 1

Tips On Data Seeding In Laravel

Laravel has a straightforward method of seeding your database with test data using seed classes. It stores all the seed classes in the “database/seeds” directory. You can name seed classes as u wish, but you need to follow some sensible convention, such as “UsersTableSeeder”, etc. By default, a “DatabaseSeeder” class is defined for you. From this class, you can use the “call” method to run other seed classes, allowing you to control the seeding order.

Writing seeders:

To generate a seeder, you will need to execute the "make: seeder" Artisan command. The system will place all the seeders that the framework creates in the database/seeds directory. A seeder class contains only one method by default, i.e. "run". This method is instrumental when it executes the "db: seed" Artisan command. Within the "run" method, you can put in data into your database however you wish. You can use the query builder to insert data manually, or you can also use Eloquent Model Factories.

Running Seeders:

Once you write your seeder, you will need to regenerate the Composer's autoloader using the "dump-autoload” command – composer dump-autoload.

You may use the db: seed Artisan command to seed your database. By default, the db-seed command runs the DataBaseSeeder class, which may help call other seed classes. However, you can use the—class option to specify a specific seeder class to run individually-

php artisan db: seed

php artisan db: seed –class=UsersTableSeeder 

Also, you might need your database using the "migrate: refresh" command, which will also rollback and re-run all your migrations. This command is instrumental in completely rebuilding your database-

php artisan migrate: refresh –seed

Using Model Factories:

Manually specifying the attributes for each model seed is cumbersome. Instead, you can use "model factories" to efficiently generate large amounts of database records. First, you must review the model factory documentation to learn how to define your factories. Once you have set your factories, you can use the factory helper function to insert records into your database.

Calling Additional Seeders:

Within the database class, you may use the call method to execute additional seed classes. Using the call method allows you to divide your database seeding into multiple files so that no single seeder class becomes excessively large. Pass the name of the seeder class you want to run. 

Forcing Seeders to Run in Production:

Few seeding operations may make you alter or lose data. To protect you from running seeding commands against your production database, you will be prompted for confirmation before you execute the seeders. To force the seeders to run without a prompt, use the "—force flag" – 

php artisan db: seed --force

Here are a few tips on Data Seeding from Laravel developers who have experience in real-life cases:

  • Use updateOrCreate() to avoid double-seeding :- For example, if a seeder code is launched more than once, the second attempt to run seeder will probably fail because of conflicting IDs. On the other side, if you do not specify IDs, then you may end up with too much data in the table, with repeating entries. 
  • Run only one Seeder class :- The “php artisan db: seed” launches everything listed in DatabaseSeeder.php file. But you can limit the launch to exact one seeder – "php artisan db: seed –class=UsersTableSeeder."
  • Run seeder class from migration :- Often you need to create a new DB table and immediately seed it with some data. But in the production environment, you cannot just run "artisan db: seed", especially if you have an automated deployment setup which has only "artisan migrate" command. The trick is to launch a specific seeder from migration file itself.
  • Database seeder for Local and Production :- Sometimes you need to seed some data only in your local environment, but not in production. Or,      you might also need to use different seeder files for different situations. 
  • Use iSeed to generate seeders from the database. For Seeder Factory with Relationship use Parent’s Factory.

A professional Laravel Developer is often well versed with all of these tips and mechanisms. Mostly a fresher finds these tips useful. However involved or related you are to Laravel, you will need to know these tips. Whether you are a Laravel developer yourself, or you are working with a team of Laravel developers for hire, or you have hired a Laravel developer, these tips will help you, as long as you mediate these to the main guy.


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