Build a Live Search Box With Laravel Livewire and MySQL

Laravel Livewire is a library for building reactive and dynamic interfaces using Blade as your templating engine. It works by making AJAX requests to the server when a user interaction occurs and rendering the updated HTML sent to it by the server.
In …

Laravel Livewire is a library for building reactive and dynamic interfaces using Blade as your templating engine. It works by making AJAX requests to the server when a user interaction occurs and rendering the updated HTML sent to it by the server.

In this tutorial, we will build a live search page for a list of users stored in a MySQL database. The reactive parts of our interface such as changing loading state, dynamically showing and hiding parts of the web page, etc will be handled by Livewire.

Pre-requisites

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following:

Set up Laravel, Livewire, and Tailwind CSS

To get started, generate a fresh Laravel application with the Laravel CLI and enter the directory with the commands below:

$ laravel new livewire-search && cd livewire-search

Next, install Livewire as a composer dependency by running the command below in the project folder.

$ composer require livewire/livewire

Since the project doesn’t require any special configuration for Tailwind CSS, and Tailwind CSS is the only npm dependency it needs, we will build it directly using npx. Alternatively, you can link to Tailwind CSS directly from the CDN. For production usage, the documentation recommends that you set it up as a PostCSS plugin. Generate the Tailwind CSS files by running:

$ npx tailwindcss-cli@latest build -o public/css/tailwind.css 

The command above will create a tailwind.css file in the public/css folder. We can then import it to our Blade templates using HTML <link> tags as we would any other stylesheet.

Set up database migrations and FULLTEXT Indexes

At this point, ensure that you have a new MySQL database set up for the project and populate the project’s env file with the database credentials (database name, username, and password). Next, we will modify the user migrations file that comes built-in with Laravel to add a bio field and a FULLTEXT index.

The index will cover the name, email, and bio of a given user. That way, any search we perform will scan through all three fields. Open the user migrations file (you can find it at database/migrations/2014_10_12_000000_create_users_table.php) and replace its content with the following:

<?php

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

class CreateUsersTable extends Migration
{
    public function up()
    {
        Schema::create('users', function (Blueprint $table) {
            $table->id();
            $table->string('name');
            $table->string('email')->unique();
            $table->mediumText('bio');
            $table->timestamp('email_verified_at')->nullable();
            $table->string('password');
            $table->rememberToken();
            $table->timestamps();
        });

        DB::statement(
            'ALTER TABLE users ADD FULLTEXT fulltext_index(name, email, bio)'
        );
    }

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

Note that we are using raw SQL queries to add the index above. That is because Laravel does not have built-in support for FULLTEXT indexes as they are MySQL specific.

While at it, let’s also set up the factories and seeders for the user table whose migration we created above, that way, we can focus on getting our code to work instead of the data in the database.

Open the generated factory file at database/factories/UserFactory.php (feel free to create it if it doesn’t exist) and replace the definition method with the code block below:

<?php

    public function definition()
    {
        return [
            'name' => $this->faker->name,
            'email' => $this->faker->unique()->safeEmail,
            'bio' => $this->faker->text(200),
            'email_verified_at' => now(),
            'password' => Hash::make("password"),
            'remember_token' => Str::random(10),
        ];
    }

Next, direct Laravel to generate users based on the factory above, by changing the run method of the database seeder class (/database/seeders/DatabaseSeeder.php) to the one below.

public function run()
{
    \App\Models\User::factory(50)->create();
}

The code above will generate and add 50 users to the users table when the seeder is run. Apply the migrations and the seeders by running the set of commands below.

$ php artisan migrate && php artisan db:seed

Search your database with Traits

We will make our database search a bit flexible by using Traits. Traits help PHP developers achieve code reuse while working around some of the limitations of PHP’s single inheritance model.

For our use case, we will create a Search trait that we can use from any Laravel model by adding a $searchable field to the model. This should represent the fields that have been added to a FULLTEXT index. Then, create a new file, named Search.php, file in app/Models, and add the trait implementation shown below:

<?php

namespace App\Models;

trait Search
{
    private function buildWildCards($term) {
        if ($term == "") {
            return $term;
        }

        // Strip MySQL reserved symbols
        $reservedSymbols = ['-', '+', '<', '>', '@', '(', ')', '~'];
        $term = str_replace($reservedSymbols, '', $term);

        $words = explode(' ', $term);
        foreach($words as $idx => $word) {
            // Add operators so we can leverage the boolean mode of
            // fulltext indices.
            $words[$idx] = "+" . $word . "*";
        }
        $term = implode(' ', $words);
        return $term;
    }

    protected function scopeSearch($query, $term) {
        $columns = implode(',', $this->searchable);

        // Boolean mode allows us to match john* for words starting with john
        // (https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.6/en/fulltext-boolean.html)
        $query->whereRaw(
            "MATCH ({$columns}) AGAINST (? IN BOOLEAN MODE)",
            $this->buildWildCards($term)
        );
        return $query;
    }
}

Here, we’ve split the search operation into two methods: buildWildCards and scopeSearch. buildWildCards cleans up the search term by:

  • Ensuring that there’s no MySQL reserved symbol present in the search term. You can modify it to escape them instead of replacing them if they turn out to be important to the search term for you.
  • Adding MySQL wildcard characters (+ and *) to the search term. This helps it to take advantage of MySQL’s boolean mode.

scopeSearch on the other hand is a Laravel local scope (identified by the “scope” prefix). Models are automatically searchable via a static search method once they:

  • Import and use the Search trait.
  • Declare a $searchable array that contains the columns that should be searched e.g the User model below searches the name, email, and bio columns.

Next, bring the Search trait into the User model class, and set up the $searchable fields as shown below:

<?php

namespace App\Models;

/* --- existing code here --- */
class User extends Authenticatable
{
    use HasFactory, Notifiable;
    use Search; // Use the search trait we created earlier
        
    /* --- existing code here --- */

    protected $searchable = [
        'name',
        'email',
        'bio',
    ];

    /* -- rest of user class code --- */
}

Get familiar with Livewire Components

To initialize Livewire in your Laravel app, you need to add the @livewireStyles and @livewireScripts directive within the <head> tag, and at the end of the <body> tag respectively, in your app layout. So, in resources/views/welcome.blade.php add the code below:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title>@yield('title', 'My cool Livewire App')</title>
    @livewireStyles
</head>
<body>
    <!-- other app content goes here-->

    @livewireScripts
</body>
</html>

Livewire components are meant to live in individual template files rendered within Blade. To render a component, use the @livewire directive or the livewire tag, e.g:

<div>
    @livewire('search-users')
</div>
<!-- This also works -->
<div>
    <livewire:search-users />
</div>

Livewire components are typically attached to a “component class” that performs the necessary computation and holds the data needed to render the component. The classes live in app/Http/Livewire and are automatically generated when you generate a component with php artisan make:livewire.

Traditional JavaScript concepts like data binding and event handling happen in Livewire using the wire: attribute. For instance, The snippet below binds the value of the text field to a $name variable in the component class, and the value of $name is rendered within the h1 tag as it changes.

    <input wire:model="message" type="text">

    <h1>{{ $message }}</h1>

You can learn more about Livewire’s features and how it handles traditional Javascript operations from the Livewire documentation.

Hook Livewire Components to Blade Templates

Armed with some knowledge of Livewire, we can now set it up in our application. Create the SearchUser component by running the artisan command below, in the project folder.

$ php artisan make:livewire SearchUser

The command creates two files in our project:

  • app/Http/Livewire/SearchUser.php: The component class that interacts with our database and prepares the data to be rendered.
  • resources/views/livewire/search-user.blade.php: The component template that holds the UI for the component.

Open the component class (app/Http/Livewire/SearchUser.php) and add the code below to it:

<?php

namespace App\Http\Livewire;

use App\Models\User;
use Livewire\Component;

class SearchUser extends Component
{
    public $term = "";

    public function render()
    {
        sleep(1);
        $users = User::search($this->term)->paginate(10);

        $data = [
            'users' => $users,
        ];

        return view('livewire.search-user', $data);
    }
}

The code above calls the search method on the User model class (which User inherited from the Search trait) and paginates the result. The result is then returned with the component template in the same way we would do it from a regular Laravel controller.

Note that we have added a sleep call to the code above. This is to delay the code execution to simulate a page load. This delay will help us see Livewire’s loading state in action in our development environment.

Next, open the component template (resources/views/livewire/search-user.blade.php) and add the code block below to it:

<div>
    <div class="px-4 space-y-4 mt-8">
        <form method="get">
            <input class="border-solid border border-gray-300 p-2 w-full md:w-1/4" 
                type="text" placeholder="Search Users" wire:model="term"/>
        </form>
        <div wire:loading>Searching users...</div>
        <div wire:loading.remove>
        <!-- 
            notice that $term is available as a public 
            variable, even though it's not part of the 
            data array 
        -->
        @if ($term == "")
            <div class="text-gray-500 text-sm">
                Enter a term to search for users.
            </div>
        @else
            @if($users->isEmpty())
                <div class="text-gray-500 text-sm">
                    No matching result was found.
                </div>
            @else
                @foreach($users as $user)
                    <div>
                        <h3 class="text-lg text-gray-900 text-bold">{{$user->name}}</h3>
                        <p class="text-gray-500 text-sm">{{$user->email}}</p>
                        <p class="text-gray-500">{{$user->bio}}</p>
                    </div>
                @endforeach
            @endif
        @endif
        </div>
    </div>
    <div class="px-4 mt-4">
        {{$users->links()}}
    </div>
</div>

In the template, we use Livewire’s data-binding functionality to map the $term variable in the component class to the search field. We’ve also used wire:loading to show the div when our data is loading. Finally, we used wire:loading.remove to hide the div containing the search results when loading.

Set up our application’s UI

Now, let’s add the Livewire component by first initializing Livewire in the welcome.blade.php file that was automatically generated by Laravel, and rendering the component within the welcome template. While we’re at it, we will also include the Tailwind CSS file we generated while setting up the application.

Open the welcome.blade.php file and replace its content with the code below:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="{{ str_replace('_', '-', app()->getLocale()) }}">
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
    <title>uSearch</title>
    <link href="/css/tailwind.css" rel="stylesheet">
    <link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Nunito:wght@400;600;700&display=swap" rel="stylesheet">
    <style>
        body {
            font-family: 'Nunito';
        }
    </style>
    @livewireStyles
</head>
<body>
<header class="bg-gray-900 text-gray-200 w-full py-4 px-4">
    uSearch
</header>
<livewire:search-user/>
@livewireScripts
</body>
</html>

Testing

At this point, you are now ready to test out the application. Start the Laravel server by running php artisan serve in a terminal and the command should launch the server on http://localhost:8000. Visit the application URL (http://localhost:8000) in your browser to see the home page below:

Laravel Livewire & MySQL application home page showing the search input field

Enter a search query using the input field on the page and it should return the list of users whose name, email, or bio matches the query you entered as shown:

Sample search results from the Laravel Livewire & MySQL application

You can also open up your browser’s developer console while searching to see how Livewire moves the network requests between your application’s frontend and the server.

Conclusion

Laravel Livewire presents an approach to building dynamic interfaces that is quite different from frontend frameworks like Vue and React, one that doesn’t require you to leave the comfort of PHP and HTML/Blade templates. The complete source code for this tutorial is available on GitLab. Feel free to raise a GitLab issue if you notice an issue.

Michael Okoko is a CS undergrad at Obafemi Awolowo University. He loves open source and is mostly interested in Linux, Golang, PHP, and fantasy novels! You can reach him via:

 


Print Share Comment Cite Upload Translate
CITATION GOES HERE CITATION GOES HERE
Select a language: