Recently I stumbled upon interesting article by Povilas Korop on laravel-news 20 eloquent tips and tricks. First of all thanks for sharing your knowledge Povilas – it helps many people out there, keep it up!

As you may know, I’ve worked with Eloquent for long and love its features, at the same time I’ve become very sensitive about some dangers lurking for inexperienced developers that come with all the magic of Eloquent :) Let’s use this opportunity to look at the tips from different perspective and learn even more by going through some of them in more details!

In order to make it valuable for you I’m keeping it as concise as possible:

  1. in/decrement: GOOD

  2. findOrFail: GOOD, but there’s a catch in findOrFail. Laravel internally handles ModelNotFoundException here and it means that any call that fails here, will trigger a 404 NOT FOUND response from your app. This works fine when called for example for something like this:

     Route::get('products/{id}', function ($id) {
      return Product::findOrFail($id);

    Laravel uses the same pattern for implicit route model binding described here

    However, if you’re calling your query deeper in the code of your application, you do not want to automatically trigger 404 for any not-found record, as it might have nothing to do with the routing or even HTTP layer at all.
    That being said, findOrFail is cool for top, HTTP layer. Other than that I recommend something between the lines of (yes, oldskool, even archaic, no magic involved… you get the idea):

     $model = $someQuery->find($id);
     if (is_null($model)) {
      // handle logic when record is not found
  3. boot GOOD

  4. default ordering on relationships – definitely no (unless the relationship itself explicitly states that):

     // Organization
     public function approvedUsers() {
      return $this->hasMany('App\\User')->where('approved', 1)->orderBy('email');
     // then somewhere you need this

    Now you’re scratching your head and trying to figure out why you don’t get latest users. After a while you notice that they are ordered by email, so you’re tracking it down – relationship is found, so the question arises – can I change the relationship? Not really, it would break some functionality, probably untested, so it is not the way to go. Eventually it seems that the only way is a NEW relationhsip. Not good at all.

    You could make it better, if you really need default ordering, by creating custom and explicit relation in the first place – just like here

  5. props: GOOD. There’s one exception – I recommend not using $appends EVER as this one very easily leads to huge problems if abused. Imagine using accessor that does some heavy logic (which it should not), like querying relation and returning its value:

     public function getOrganizationNameAttribute()
      return $this->organization->name;

    this is evil as it is, trust me. Now, imagine you have an API endpoint that serves your model directly, and some time later your colleague needs to add organization_name to the JSON result. Easy does it, right? Just added to $appends and it is automagically in the JSON!

    Only now you realize that your endpoint serves data 20 times slower now and you have no idea why. Here it is – magic has its cost. You endpoint used, say, 5 queries before, but now it uses 5 + N queries, because accessor runs the query under the hood. Finding it out is not trivial and even noticing it might take long, which can hurt the business. Don’t go this path, be like new Leo and save yourself some headache 😉

  6. findMany: GOOD. I’d only add note about different return values find(int|string 1) : ?Model while find(array|Arrayable $ids) : Collection. Which means the first returns Model or null, but the latter returns Collection always (even if empty).

  7. dynamic wheres: NEVER do this. It is illogical, confusing, impossible to understand for anyone without decent knowledge about Eloquent.
    Next thing is this: if you ever need to restructure your DB or just investigate usage and find all queries against a column, you’d find easily where('some_column'), orderBy('some_column') etc by simply grepping against 'some_column', but you won’t find whereSomeColumn($value).
    Another catch is this: you know already that Eloquent provides those magic calls (dynamic wheres), so when you see whereDate you can think it is the same. But wait, there’s no date column in the table, so WTF? Oh, sure, this is actually real method whereDate($column, $value). You get the idea, trust me, you neighbor and their dog will hate you if you use it even once.

  8. order by relation: Custom relation definitely GOOD, but ordering nope. While it is valid, it’s dangerous as well. You should NEVER depend on the collection ordering if you don’t know how many items collection has (and it must be rather small collection). Imagine this code when your page grows from 20 Topics to 20 thousands Topics – then every single pageload is looong seconds, sometimes memory exhausted errors occur etc. Databases are pretty good with ordering, use them.

  9. when: I totally agree with the comment: It may not feel shorter or more elegant – True, it is not shorter, nor more elegant, nor better in any way for me. Here’s what I recommend:

     if ($request->has('role')) { // I know the intent already
      $query->where('role_d', $request->get('role')); // then following action
     // vs
     // Reading this I am not sure what false means, no idea what $role will be
     // in the closure, I have to spend a few seconds analyzing it every time.
     // It adds up in big codebase and I love to avoid unnecessary overload
     $query->when(request('role', false), function ($q, $role) {
      return $q->where('role_d', $role);

    One may argue that you HAVE TO avoid if statements, but here’s the thing – removing them doesn’t make you functional programmer, using function () {} rather than if doesn’t make you functional programmer, it doesn’t add any value to the business either.

  10. withDefault: OKAY in general. I prefer explicit code, so don’t use it myself, but it’s matter of preference. However using it strictly for presentation purpose as in the example – no like.

  11. accessor ordering: Smart – as in No. 8 be careful in cases, where you cannot be sure bout collection size.

  12. global scope: OKAY. Personally I wouldn’t do that in a global scope, as global scopes are good for only so many cases, and only to apply some where constraints (SoftDeletes is a good example, Active might be applicable in many cases etc).

  13. raw: GOOD

  14. replicate: GOOD

  15. chunk: VERY GOOD. I would add that you NEVER want to call Model::all() unless you have a dictionary-like model, say, a list of countries. A model that you can be sure will never grow (there won’t be more than 300 countries in our lifetime I guess).

  16. generators: GOOD

  17. updated_at: GOOD

  18. update return value: GOOD

  19. orWhere: This one is actually incorrect, both in the code and logically. I believe it comes from the bad example in the Laravel’s own docs. I corrected the example and added some notes to the docs recently, so feel free to look it up now docs

  20. orWhere again: Same as No. 19.