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Benjamin Delespierre
Benjamin Delespierre

Posted on • Updated on

How to implement a simple like system with Laravel

This tutorial has been updated for Laravel 8 (I also fixed a few issues).

A working implementation of this tutorial is also available on GitHub, enjoy!


In this (short) tutorial, I will show you how to add likes on any Laravel Eloquent Model.

// create something...
$something = new Post(['title' => "Laravel is AWESOME!"]);

// add a like to $something
$user->like($something);

// has $user has liked $something?
$user->hasLiked($something);

// how many likes does $something has?
$something->likes()->count();

// remove a like from $something
$user->unlike($something);
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We're going to implement this using traits and interfaces. Models "equipped" with the likeable capabilities will look like this:

class Post extends Model implements Likeable
{
    use Likes;
}
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I like to builds things from ground up, so we'll start with the database and we'll climb our way up to the browser. En route, we'll use many components provided by Laravel 8, which makes this tutorial a great exercise for beginners.

This tutorial covers:

  • Migrations
  • Models
  • Contracts (interfaces)
  • Concerns (traits)
  • Controllers
  • Requests
  • Gates
  • Routes
  • Views

I won't bother you with details on how everything works, who got time for that? I believe experience is the only teacher. If you need me to explain something specific, let me know in the comments or come chat with me. That being said, let's dive into it!

1. Migrations

Run

php artisan make:migration create_likes_table --create=likes
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In database/migrations/(date)_create_likes_table.php

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

class CreateLikesTable extends Migration
{
    public function up()
    {
        Schema::create('likes', function (Blueprint $table) {
            $table->bigIncrements('id');
            $table->foreignId('user_id')->constrained()->onDelete('cascade');
            $table->morphs('likeable');
            $table->timestamps();
        });
    }

    public function down()
    {
        Schema::dropIfExists('likes');
    }
}
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2. Model

Run

php artisan make:model Like
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In app/Models/Like.php

namespace App\Models;

use App\Models\User;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Factories\HasFactory;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;

class Like extends Model
{
    use HasFactory;

    public function user()
    {
        return $this->belongsTo(User::class)->withDefault();
    }

    public function likeable()
    {
        return $this->morphTo();
    }
}
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3. Contract (interface)

In app/Contrats/Likeable.php (you need to create the app/Contracts folder)

namespace App\Contracts;

use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Relations\MorphMany;

interface Likeable
{
    public function likes(): MorphMany;
}
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4. Concern (trait)

In app/Models/Concerns/Likes.php (you need to create the app/Models/Concerns folder)

namespace App\Models\Concerns;

use App\Models\Like;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Relations\MorphMany;

trait Likes
{
    public function likes(): MorphMany
    {
        return $this->morphMany(Like::class, 'likeable');
    }
}
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5. Likeable models

For the sake of the example, I'm going to use a post model generated using php artisan make:model Post. The logic is exactly the same regardless of the models you're using.

In app/Models/Post.php

namespace App\Models;

use App\Contracts\Likeable;
use App\Models\Concerns\Likes;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;

class Post extends Model implements Likeable
{
    use Likes;
}
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6. User

In app/Models/User.php add those methods

namespace App\Models;

use App\Contracts\Likeable;
use App\Models\Like;
// other namespaces...

class User extends Authenticatable
{
    // other user stuff...

    public function likes()
    {
        return $this->hasMany(Like::class);
    }

    public function like(Likeable $likeable): self
    {
        if ($this->hasLiked($likeable)) {
            return $this;
        }

        (new Like())
            ->user()->associate($this)
            ->likeable()->associate($likeable)
            ->save();

        return $this;
    }

    public function unlike(Likeable $likeable): self
    {
        if (! $this->hasLiked($likeable)) {
            return $this;
        }

        $likeable->likes()
            ->whereHas('user', fn($q) => $q->whereId($this->id))
            ->delete();

        return $this;
    }

    public function hasLiked(Likeable $likeable): bool
    {
        if (! $likeable->exists) {
            return false;
        }

        return $likeable->likes()
            ->whereHas('user', fn($q) =>  $q->whereId($this->id))
            ->exists();
    }
}
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7. Controller

Run

php artisan make:controller LikeController
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In app/Http/Controllers/LikeController.php

namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use App\Http\Requests\LikeRequest;
use App\Http\Requests\UnlikeRequest;

class LikeController extends Controller
{
    public function like(LikeRequest $request)
    {
        $request->user()->like($request->likeable());

        if ($request->ajax()) {
            return response()->json([
                'likes' => $request->likeable()->likes()->count(),
            ]);
        }

        return redirect()->back();
    }

    public function unlike(UnlikeRequest $like)
    {
        $request->user()->unlike($request->likeable());

        if ($request->ajax()) {
            return response()->json([
                'likes' => $request->likeable()->likes()->count(),
            ]);
        }

        return redirect()->back();
    }
}
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8. Requests

Run

php artisan make:request LikeRequest
php artisan make:request UnlikeRequest
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In app/Http/Requests/LikeRequest.php

namespace App\Http\Requests;

use App\Contracts\Likeable;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;
use Illuminate\Foundation\Http\FormRequest;

class LikeRequest extends FormRequest
{
    public function authorize()
    {
        return $this->user()->can('like', $this->likeable());
    }

    public function rules()
    {
        return [
            // the class of the liked object
            'likeable_type' => [
                "bail",
                "required",
                "string",
                function ($attribute, $value, $fail) {
                    if (! class_exists($value, true)) {
                        $fail($value . " is not an existing class");
                    }

                    if (! in_array(Model::class, class_parents($value))) {
                        $fail($value . " is not Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model");
                    }

                    if (! in_array(Likeable::class, class_implements($value))) {
                        $fail($value . " is not App\Contracts\Likeable");
                    }
                },
            ],

            // the id of the liked object
            'id' => [
                "required",
                function ($attribute, $value, $fail) {
                    $class = $this->input('likeable_type');

                    if (! $class::where('id', $value)->exists()) {
                        $fail($value . " does not exists in database");
                    }
                },
            ],
        ];
    }

    public function likeable(): Likeable
    {
        $class = $this->input('likeable_type');

        return $class::findOrFail($this->input('id'));
    }
}
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Fortunately for us, the unlike request is very easy since it's basically the same request with a minor difference in the authorize method.

In app/Http/Requests/UnlikeRequest.php

namespace App\Http\Requests;

use App\Http\Requests\LikeRequest;

class UnlikeRequest extends LikeRequest
{
    public function authorize()
    {
        return $this->user()->can('unlike', $this->likeable());
    }
}
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9. Gates

In app/Providers/AuthServiceProvider.php

namespace App\Providers;

use App\Contracts\Likeable;
use App\Models\User;
use Illuminate\Auth\Access\Response;
use Illuminate\Foundation\Support\Providers\AuthServiceProvider as ServiceProvider;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Gate;

class AuthServiceProvider extends ServiceProvider
{
    protected $policies = [
        // your policies...
    ];

    public function boot()
    {
        $this->registerPolicies();

        // $user->can('like', $post)
        Gate::define('like', function (User $user, Likeable $likeable) {
            if (! $likeable->exists) {
                return Response::deny("Cannot like an object that doesn't exists");
            }

            if ($user->hasLiked($likeable)) {
                return Response::deny("Cannot like the same thing twice");
            }

            return Response::allow();
        });

        // $user->can('unlike', $post)
        Gate::define('unlike', function (User $user, Likeable $likeable) {
            if (! $likeable->exists) {
                return Response::deny("Cannot unlike an object that doesn't exists");
            }

            if (! $user->hasLiked($likeable)) {
                return Response::deny("Cannot unlike without liking first");
            }

            return Response::allow();
        });
    }
}
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10. Routes

In routes/web.php

Route::middleware('auth')->group(function () {
    Route::post('like', 'LikeController@like')->name('like');
    Route::delete('like', 'LikeController@unlike')->name('unlike');
});
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11. Views (Blade)

For the sake of the example, I'm going to use a $post variable representing an App\Models\Post model (as described above). You're obviously free to use whatever model you like, as long as they implement the App\Contracts\Likeable interface and possess the App\Models\Concerns\Likes trait.

In resources/views/like.blade.php:

{{ trans_choice('{0} no like|{1} :count like|[2,*] :count likes', count($model->likes), ['count' => count($model->likes)]) }}

@can('like', $model)
    <form action="{{ route('like') }}" method="POST">
        @csrf
        <input type="hidden" name="likeable_type" value="{{ get_class($model) }}"/>
        <input type="hidden" name="id" value="{{ $model->id }}"/>
        <button>@lang('Like')</button>
    </form>
@endcan

@can('unlike', $model)
    <form action="{{ route('unlike') }}" method="POST">
        @csrf
        @method('DELETE')
        <input type="hidden" name="likeable_type" value="{{ get_class($model) }}"/>
        <input type="hidden" name="id" value="{{ $model->id }}"/>
        <button>@lang('Unlike')</button>
    </form>
@endcan
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In resources/views/post.blade.php:

<div class="post">
    <h3>{{ $post->title }}</h3>
    <p>{{ $post->body }}</p>
    @include('like', ['model' => $post])
</div>
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Congratulations! You have now finished this tutorial and have implemented a basic, yet robust like system!

Tell me what you think! Especially if you faced difficulties understanding and/or implementing. I always do my best to respond to comments and help my readers.


From the same author:

Discussion (36)

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theovier profile image
Theo Harkenbusch

Hey, thanks for the tutorial! However, I think there is a slight mistake in the Likes.php class.

It should be
return $likeable->likes()->whereHas('user', function(Builder $query) {
return $query->whereId($this->id);
})->exists();

rather than
return $likeable->likes()->whereHas('user', function($query) {
return $query->whereId($this->id)->exists();
});

in Laravel 7.

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mateator profile image
mateator • Edited on

Ty man, i have been stuck for weeks because of that, it wasnt working until you wrote to took out the ->exists();

same thing to delete, the result is:
$likeable->likes()->whereHas('user', function(Builder $query) {
$query->whereId($this->id);
})->delete();

Also, if someone implements this, dont forget to add this in Likes.php
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Builder;

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Yeah I removed the Builder typehint, it wasn't very helpful anyway.

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stleroux profile image
stleroux • Edited on

For some reason I get an error message when I try to post my own comment

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

My mistake. I'll change it, thanks for pointing it out

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devkitshow profile image
devkitshow • Edited on

Hello! There's also a problem in LikesRequest

'id' => [
                "required",
                function ($attribute, $value, $fail) {
                    $class = $this->getClass($value);

                    if (! $class::where('id', $value)->exists()) {
                        $fail($value." is not present in database");
                    }
                },
            ],
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this would give you an error due to getClass($value) is trying to get class of numeric id.
So it should probably be like

$class = $this->getClass($this->input('likeable'));
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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Thanks for pointing this out. I'm fixing the article as we speak to take your feedback into account. Stay tuned!

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Should be fixed now. What do you think?

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deyvidbh profile image
Deyvidbh

Thank you very much for the tutorial! I have some doubts regarding how to implement this on my blade, I am a beginner. could you give me a tip? what do I put on my like button?

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author • Edited on

assuming you've done everything in the tutorial right you should have a route "/like"

You can check it with php artisan route:list --name like

The button should look like this:

@if(!auth()->user()->hasLiked($post))
    <form action="/like" method="post">
        @csrf
        <input type="hidden" name="likeable" value="{{ get_class($post) }}">
        <input type="hidden" name="id" value="{{ $post->id }}">
        <button type="submit" class="btn btn-primary">
            Like
        </button>
    </form>
@else
    <button class="btn btn-secondary" disabled>
        {{ $post->likes()->count() }} likes
    </button>
@endif
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I believe you can figure out how to make the unlike button by yourself with the resources provided in the tutorial ;-)

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md3108 profile image
MD3108

Could u show how unlike works because I'm just managing to like but not dislike... #alsoBeginner

Thread Thread
md3108 profile image
MD3108

I get this error when I try my dislikeSQLSTATE[22007]: Invalid datetime format: 1292 Truncated incorrect INTEGER value: 'like' (SQL: delete fromnoteswhereid= like

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Sure, I think I'll update the article to add the views, stay tuned!

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Aaaaand done. check it out!

Thread Thread
md3108 profile image
MD3108

ohh nice, couldn't have hoped for better. I'll leave a comment on how it went once I get to it again!

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

most welcome my friend. You can also check this out, it's a working implementation of the like system github.com/bdelespierre/laravel-li...

Thread Thread
md3108 profile image
MD3108

I managed to get as far as last time same error presists...
SQLSTATE[22007]: Invalid datetime format: 1292 Truncated incorrect INTEGER value: 'like' (SQL: delete fromnoteswhereid= like)`

however I think in 'app/Models/Concerns/Likes.php' the 'use App\Like' should be 'use App\Models\Like'. For the rest I got a flaw less exp. just don't know how to solve that issue there.

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stleroux profile image
stleroux

Hi,
Love the code. Straight forward and works like a charm.
Is there a way to eager load the likes data on index pages?
I tried adding "likes" to the with query but it doesn't seem to reduce the amount of queries being performed.

Thanks

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author • Edited on

I have just tried

$posts = Post::latest()->with('likes')->take(5)->get();
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Using the demo project and Laravel Debug bar.

From 8 queries (with the N+1) problem you mention, I now have only 4 šŸ‘

See before and after

Hint: be sure to place the ->with('...') part BEFORE ->get() or ->all().

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stleroux profile image
stleroux

Actually, I was using the code in the index page and doing a @can ('like') and @can ('unlike') which was querying the DB twice per record. I changed the @can ('unlike') for @else and now the duplicate queries are gone.
Thanks

Thread Thread
bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author • Edited on

Yes, that's because the gates in AuthServiceProvider are using User::hasLike :

    public function hasLiked(Likeable $likeable): bool
    {
        if (! $likeable->exists) {
            return false;
        }

        return $likeable->likes()
            ->whereHas('user', fn($q) =>  $q->whereId($this->id))
            ->exists();
    }
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You may change it to use a cache, like this (actual working solution) :

    public function hasLiked(Likeable $likeable): bool
    {
        if (! $likeable->exists) {
            return false;
        }

        return $this->likes->contains(
            fn($like) => $like->likeable_type == get_class($likeable) && $like->likeable_id == $likeable->id
        );
    }
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It should minimize the number of queries. It's ugly but it works!

Result before with 15 queries (one per @can('like')) and after only 6!

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Can you show us what you tried?

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webfuelcode profile image
webfuelcode • Edited on

I followed the steps, running the localhost says "trait app\concerns\likeable" not found... Tried a lot to figure out the reason but failed. It may be a typo or the new version is the reason. Can you tell me...

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

It's very unlikely a version issue (if you're running PHP7.2+ of course).

If you see the 'not found' error it means a namespace import is missing.

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stleroux profile image
stleroux

Hello,
I have run into a weird issue.
Wen I run the code on the localhost where I do my development, everything works fine.
This is a Windows 10 machine running PHP 7.4.15

However, when I transfer my files to my Ubuntu 18.04 server, I get the following error message on all pages :
->> syntax error, unexpected '=>' (T_DOUBLE_ARROW), expecting '{' <<-
And it is pointing to


      $likeable->likes()
        ->whereHas('user', function($q) => $q->whereId($this->id))
        ->delete();

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in my User model.
I am running PHP 7.4.21 on the server.
If I comment out the lines, the pages load properly.
Hopefully, this is enough info to TS, if not, please let me know what else is needed.
Thanks

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

In the code snippet you provided, there's a typo on the arrow function, it should be:

      $likeable->likes()
        ->whereHas('user', fn($q) => $q->whereId($this->id))
        ->delete();
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fatahidzhar profile image
FatahIdzhar • Edited on

i get proble on
Undefined property: stdClass::$likes

flareapp.io/share/q5YLj4j7#F62

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Your $model variable shouldn't be an stdClass instance. It should be a Post instance. (or anything with the Likes trait).

I suggest you dump this variable with dd($model) in the controller before returning the view and try to understand what's going on.

Good luck!

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fatahidzhar profile image
FatahIdzhar • Edited on

I've tried it, it's still an error in the
Undefined property: stdClass::$likes

and already using dd()

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winnusjohn profile image
TheJazzEvangelistšŸŽ¹

Thanks for this tutorial sir. Just curious is there a way to do this without having the user to sign in before liking a post? Thank you, sir

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bdelespierre profile image
Benjamin Delespierre Author

Well, you could tweak the design a bit by making the user_id nullable in order to create userless likes.

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fatahidzhar profile image
FatahIdzhar

i get proble on stdClass::$Likes

More details are here :
flareapp.io/share/q5YLj4j7#F62

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zhandos998 profile image
zhandos998

using Post::all();
no DB::table('post')->get();

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snalpas profile image
Silvere

Nice work that will serve as a reference for the design of features on Laravel 8
Thank you šŸ‘

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heilkesitler profile image
Heil Kesitler

Hi thanks a lot this sharing us this system.
How can i sort my posts by the number of likes?