Extending the Database

    When you start building your application with UserFrosting, you'll no doubt be adding your own tables to the data model. After all, what's the point of having users if there's nothing in your application for them to use?

    Though you could add new tables to your database through the command line, phpMyAdmin, or another tool, you will probably want something that is portable, allowing you to set up your database on other developers' machines and your test and production servers. To do this, you should use a migration.


    A migration is nothing more than a PHP script that uses Eloquent's Schema interface to create, remove, and modify tables in your database. Migrations can also be used to perform additional setup tasks like seeding your tables with some default values, or prompting the developer for additional information in the command line.

    Semantic versioning

    Every Sprinkle can optionally have a migrations/ directory, which contains your migration scripts. Each migration script should follow a semantic versioning naming scheme - for example, /sprinkles/site/migrations/1.0.0-dev.php. The file name of your migration script represents the database version that it implements. For example:

    └── site/
        └── migrations/
            ├── 1.0.0-dev.php
            ├── 1.0.0.php
            ├── 1.1.0.php
            └── 2.0.0.php

    When you run the main UserFrosting install script (migrations/install.php), it will first check your versions table to see if any migrations have been run for each Sprinkle before:

    sprinkle version
    account 4.0.0-alpha
    admin 4.0.0-alpha
    site 1.0.0

    If the Sprinkle has a record in this table, the install script will only run those migrations that have a version greater than the version in this record. For example, in this case, the installer would only run the 1.1.0 and 2.0.0 migrations.

    Creating a migration

    Your migrations themselves will contain PHP commands to create, modify, and drop tables. For a simple example, suppose that you want to create an owlers table, which will be used to add application-specific fields for our users:

        use Illuminate\Database\Capsule\Manager as Capsule;
        use Illuminate\Database\Schema\Blueprint;
         * Owler table
        if (!$schema->hasTable('owlers')) {
            $schema->create('owlers', function (Blueprint $table) {
                $table->string('city', 255)->nullable();
                $table->engine = 'InnoDB';
                $table->collation = 'utf8_unicode_ci';
                $table->charset = 'utf8';
            echo "Created table 'owlers'..." . PHP_EOL;
        } else {
            echo "Table 'owlers' already exists.  Skipping..." . PHP_EOL;

    $schema is a global variable created by the installer script, which models your database structure. In this example, we call hasTable to check if the owlers table already exists, and then create it if it doesn't. We then call a series of methods on the $table variable in create's closure, to set up the columns and other table properties.

    You'll also notice that we've created a user_id column, which associates each record in owlers with a corresponding record in users. By adding a unique constraint to this column as well, we effectively set up a one-to-one relationship between owlers and users.

    For a complete explanation of the available methods for working with tables, see Laravel's Migrations chapter.

    For your table to work correctly with Eloquent, it should always have an autoincrementing id column which serves as the primary key. This is done automatically for you with the increments method.

    Running your migration

    To run your migrations simply re-run php install.php from your command line, in UserFrosting's main migrations/ directory. If you want to do a "fresh install" of your migration, you will have to reverse any changes it made manually, and then change the version for the Sprinkle's migration in the versions table to a lower value.