Ruby on Rails to Laravel

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How to convert from Ruby on Rails to Laravel

If you're an experienced Ruby on Rails developer transitioning to Laravel, this guide will help you convert your applications smoothly. Let's delve into the step-by-step process, focusing on key differences and best practices.

Understanding the Frameworks

Before diving into code conversion, it's crucial to understand the core principles of Ruby on Rails and Laravel.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is an opinionated framework emphasizing Convention over Configuration (CoC) and Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY) principles. It uses an Active Record pattern for ORM (Object-Relational Mapping).

Laravel

Laravel, a PHP framework, follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern and is known for elegant syntax, extensive documentation, and robust features. It uses Eloquent ORM, which also follows Active Record patterns, making it somewhat familiar for RoR developers.

Setting Up Your Laravel Environment

First, ensure your development environment is ready for Laravel. You'll need:

  • PHP >= 7.3
  • Composer (for dependency management)
  • A web server like Apache or Nginx
  • Database (MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc.)

Run the following Composer command to create a new Laravel project:

composer create-project --prefer-dist laravel/laravel ProjectName

Routing Conversion

Ruby on Rails Routing

In Rails, you define routes in the config/routes.rb file:

Rails.application.routes.draw do
  resources :posts
  get 'about', to: 'pages#about'
end

Laravel Routing

In Laravel, routes are defined in the routes/web.php file:

Route::resource('posts', 'PostController');
Route::get('about', 'PageController@about');

Controller Conversion

Laravel controllers are similar to those in Rails but with some syntax differences.

Ruby on Rails Controller

Example Rails controller:

class PostsController < ApplicationController
  def index
    @posts = Post.all
  end

  def show
    @post = Post.find(params[:id])
  end
end

Laravel Controller

Convert the Rails controller to a Laravel controller:

class PostController extends Controller
{
    public function index()
    {
        $posts = Post::all();
        return view('posts.index', compact('posts'));
    }

    public function show($id)
    {
        $post = Post::find($id);
        return view('posts.show', compact('post'));
    }
}

Note: Laravel's view function is used to render Blade templates, which we'll convert next.

View Conversion

Ruby on Rails Views

In Rails, views are typically written in Embedded Ruby (ERB) files located in app/views:

<% @posts.each do |post| %>
  <h2><%= post.title %></h2>
  <p><%= post.body %></p>
<% end %>

Laravel Views

Laravel uses Blade templates located in resources/views:

@foreach ($posts as $post)
  <h2>{{ $post->title }}</h2>
  <p>{{ $post->body }}</p>
@endforeach

Model Conversion

Both Rails and Laravel use an Active Record pattern, making model conversion straightforward.

Ruby on Rails Model

A typical Rails model looks like this:

class Post < ApplicationRecord
  validates :title, presence: true
end

Laravel Model

The equivalent Laravel model:

namespace App\Models;

use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;

class Post extends Model
{
    protected $fillable = ['title'];

    public static function boot()
    {
        parent::boot();
        self::creating(function ($model) {
            // Custom logic before creating a post
        });
    }
}

Database Migrations

Ruby on Rails Migrations

Rails migration example:

class CreatePosts < ActiveRecord::Migration[6.0]
  def change
    create_table :posts do |t|
      t.string :title
      t.text :body

      t.timestamps
    end
  end
end

Laravel Migrations

Convert Rails migrations to Laravel:

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

class CreatePostsTable extends Migration
{
    public function up()
    {
        Schema::create('posts', function (Blueprint $table) {
            $table->id();
            $table->string('title');
            $table->text('body');
            $table->timestamps();
        });
    }

    public function down()
    {
        Schema::dropIfExists('posts');
    }
}

Helper Functions and Libraries

In Rails, helper functions are defined in app/helpers. In Laravel, you can define custom helper functions in a separate file, often in app/helpers.php.

Laravel features extensive built-in helpers, but for custom helpers, ensure you include them in your composer.json file’s autoload section and run composer dump-autoload:

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

Conclusion

Converting a Ruby on Rails application to Laravel requires a systematic approach, understanding both frameworks' intricacies. By following this guide, focusing on routing, controllers, views, models, and migrations, you can ensure a smooth transition. Leveraging Laravel's robust ecosystem will empower you to build scalable and maintainable web applications.

By now, you should have a basic understanding of how to convert your Ruby on Rails codebase to Laravel. Happy coding!

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