In today’s digital age, communication has become an essential part of our lives. From chatting with friends to communicating with colleagues, we rely heavily on various messaging platforms to stay connected. Real-time chat applications have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their ease of use and real-time interaction. In this blog, we will explore how to build a real-time chat application using Laravel development.
What is Laravel?
Laravel is a popular PHP web application framework known for its elegant syntax and clean architecture. It was developed by Taylor Otwell in 2011 and has gained widespread adoption due to its ease of use and extensive documentation. Laravel offers various features such as routing, authentication, and ORM, making it a popular choice for web developers worldwide.
Before we dive into the Laravel development process, let’s discuss the prerequisites required to build a real-time chat application with Laravel.
- PHP 7.1.3 or higher version
- Laravel Echo Server
Step 1: Setting Up Laravel
To get started, we need to create a new Laravel project using the following command:
This will start the development server, and we can access the Laravel application by visiting in the browser.
Step 2: Setting Up Database
For our real-time chat application, we need to set up a database to store user information and messages. We can use the default SQLite database that comes with Laravel for this purpose. To create a new database, run the following command:
This will create a new SQLite database in the database directory. Next, we need to update the .env file with the following database configuration:
Replace the absolute path with the path to your newly created database.
Step 3: Installing Laravel Echo Server
Laravel Echo Server is a Node.js package that enables real-time communication between the server and the client. To install Laravel development Echo Server, run the following command: This will create a new configuration file called laravel-echo-server.json. We need to update this file with the following configuration:
Step 4: Setting Up Broadcasting
Laravel comes with a built-in broadcasting feature that allows us to broadcast events to various channels. To use this feature, we need to update the broadcasting configuration in the .env file with the following values:
This will use Redis as the broadcast driver and queue connection.
Step 5: Creating the User Model and Migration
To create the user model and migration, run the following command: This will create a new User model and migration file in the app/Models and database/migrations directories, respectively. Update the migration file with the following schema:
Step 6: Creating the Message Model and Migration
To create the message model and migration, run the following command: This will create a new Message model and migration file in the app/Models and database/migrations directories, respectively. Update the migration file with the following schema:
Step 7: Creating the User and Message Factories
To create the user and message factories, run the following commands:
This will create the UserFactory and MessageFactory files in the database/factories directory.
Step 8: Seeding the Database
To seed the database with sample data, we can use the following command: This will create 10 sample users and 50 sample messages in the database.
Step 9: Creating the Chat Controller
To create the chat controller, run the following command:This will create a new ChatController file in the app/Http/Controllers directory. Update the file with the following code: The index method returns the chat view, the fetchMessages method fetches all the messages from the database, and the sendMessage method creates a new message and broadcasts it to all the connected clients.
Step 10: Creating the Chat View
To create the chat view, we need to create a new file called chat.blade.php in the resources/views directory. Update the file with the following code:This code extends the default app layout and adds a new div with an id of app. We will use this div to mount our Vue.js chat component.
In this tutorial, we have learned how to build a real-time chat application using Laravel development and Vue.js. We started by setting up a new Laravel project, configuring the database, and creating the necessary routes, controllers, and models. We then created a Vue.js component to handle the real-time communication using Laravel Echo and Pusher. Finally, we built the front-end assets and tested the chat application.
Real-time applications are becoming increasingly popular, and it is essential for developers to learn how to build them. Laravel development provides an excellent platform for building real-time applications, and its integration with Vue.js and Laravel Echo makes it even easier.