# Countable Relationships

# Introduction

WARNING

We are planning to make breaking changes to the countable relations feature during the 1.0.0-beta series. This feature is therefore consider not ready for use in production applications.

Sometimes you may want to count the number of related models for a given relationship without actually loading the models. Eloquent provides this feature via its withCount method on the query builder, and loadCount method on model instances, as documented here. (opens new window)

Laravel JSON:API exposes this capability via its Countable feature. This adds a query parameter that allows a client to specify which relationships on a model it wants a count for - and then this value is added to the meta member of the relationship.

TIP

The JSON:API specification allows implementation-specific query parameters, which we have used to add this capability to Laravel JSON:API.

# Countable Fields

All to-many relationship fields are countable by default. If the client lists a countable field name in the countable query parameter, the implementation takes care of ensuring the count value is loaded on the model (or models) and then added to a relationship's meta member.

# Aliasing the Attribute

By default Eloquent will place a {relation}_count attribute on models for which the count is loaded. For example, if we are counting the comments relationship on the posts model, the attribute will be comments_count.

If this count name conflicts with an existing attribute on the model, you will need to provide an alias for the attribute. You can do this on the to-many field in your schema using the countAs() method. For example, if our comments relationship used a HasMany field in our posts schema, we could alias the count attribute as follows:

HasMany::make('comments')->countAs('total_comments');

# Disabling Counting

If you do not want a client to be able to request a count for a relationship, use the cannotCount() method on the field in the schema. For example:

HasMany::make('comments')->cannotCount();

# Query Parameter

The client can request relationship counts using the withCount query parameter. This is a comma-separated list of the relationships that the client wants a count for. For example, if the client wanted the comments and tags relationships of a post resource counted, it would set the withCount query parameter to comments,tags.

# Customising the Parameter

The query parameter can be customised if you want to use something different to withCount. This can be set in the boot method of your AppServiceProvider, for example:

use LaravelJsonApi\Laravel\LaravelJsonApi;

public function boot()
{
    LaravelJsonApi::withCountQueryParameter('with-count');
}

If you have multiple APIs that need to use different names for the query parameter, call the LaravelJsonApi::withCountQueryParameter method within your server's serving() hook.

WARNING

The JSON:API specification states that custom query parameters MUST be a legal member name and contain at least one non a-z character. It is recommended that a capital letter (i.e. camel-casing) is used, which is why our default is withCount.

When changing the parameter name, you should ensure you comply with the specification and use a camel-case, snake-case or dash-case parameter name.

# Validation

Our implementation only uses query parameters that are validated. This means if you have a query or collection query class for a resource type, you must ensure that a rule is added for the withCount query parameter. For example, if we had a PostQuery or PostCollectionQuery class, we would add it as follows:

namespace App\JsonApi\V1\Posts;

use LaravelJsonApi\Validation\Rule as JsonApiRule;
use LaravelJsonApi\Laravel\Http\Requests\ResourceQuery;

class PostQuery extends ResourceQuery
{

    /**
     * Get the validation rules that apply to the request.
     *
     * @return array
     */
    public function rules(): array
    {
        return [
            // ... other rules
            'withCount' => [
              'nullable',
              'string',
              JsonApiRule::countable(),
            ],
        ];
    }
}

If you have a collection query class for a polymorphic to-many relationship, you should use the JsonApiRule::countableForPolymorph() method instead.

# Relationship Meta

The count value will automatically be added to the meta member of a relationship when using a schema to serialize a model to JSON. By default the value is added as the count key, for example:

"relationships": {
  "comments": {
    "links": {
      "self": "http://localhost/api/v1/posts/1/relationships/comments",
      "related": "http://localhost/api/v1/posts/1/comments"
    },
    "meta": {
      "count": 17
    }
  }
}

# Customising the Meta Key

You can change the key that is used when serializing the relationship meta by adding the following to the boot method of your AppServiceProvider:

use LaravelJsonApi\Laravel\LaravelJsonApi;

public function boot()
{
    LaravelJsonApi::withCountMetaKey('total');
}

If you have multiple APIs that need to use different names for the meta key, call the LaravelJsonApi::withCountMetaKey() method within your server's serving() hook.

# Resources Classes

If you have a resource class then you will need to add the count value to your relationship. You can do this using the withMeta() method on the resource relationship. For example:

$this->relation('comments')->withMeta(array_filter([
    'count' => $this->comments_count,
], fn($value) => !is_null($value)));

# Requests

# Resource Requests

A client can request that a response includes counts for specified relationships by adding the withCount parameter to the request. For example:

GET /api/v1/posts/1?withCount=comments,tags HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/vnd.api+json

Would result in the following response:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/vnd.api+json

{
  "data": {
    "type": "posts",
    "id": "1",
    "attributes": {
      "content": "...",
      "title": "Hello World"
    },
    "relationships": {
      "comments": {
        "links": {
          "self": "http://localhost/api/v1/posts/1/relationships/comments",
          "related": "http://localhost/api/v1/posts/1/comments"
        },
        "meta": {
          "count": 17
        }
      },
      "tags": {
        "links": {
          "self": "http://localhost/api/v1/posts/1/relationships/tags",
          "related": "http://localhost/api/v1/posts/1/tags"
        },
        "meta": {
          "count": 4
        }
      }
    },
    "links": {
      "self": "http://localhost/api/v1/posts/1"
    }
  }
}

The parameter also works when requesting multiple resources, for example:

GET /api/v1/posts?withCount=comments HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/vnd.api+json

The JSON:API specification allows clients to request the related resources in a relationship, e.g. GET /api/v1/posts/1/comments. The withCount parameter works with these requests and refers to the relationships in the resources that appear within the response.

So for example, in this request:

GET /api/v1/posts/1/comments?withCount=likes HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/vnd.api+json

The withCount parameter refers to the likes relationship on the comments resources that appear in the response.

However, as the posts resource's comments relationship is also countable, we add the number of comments the posts resource has to the top-level meta member of the response document. So for our example request, the response will be:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/vnd.api+json

{
  "meta": {
    "count": 2
  },
  "data": [
    {
      "type": "comments",
      "id": "123",
      "attributes": {
        "content": "..."
      },
      "relationships": {
        "likes": {
          "links": {
            "self": "http://localhost/api/v1/comments/123/relationships/likes",
            "related": "http://localhost/api/v1/comments/123/likes"
          },
          "meta": {
            "count": 4
          }
        }
      }
    },
    {
      "type": "comments",
      "id": "345",
      "attributes": {
        "content": "..."
      },
      "relationships": {
        "likes": {
          "links": {
            "self": "http://localhost/api/v1/comments/345/relationships/likes",
            "related": "http://localhost/api/v1/comments/345/likes"
          },
          "meta": {
            "count": 0
          }
        }
      }
    }
  ]
}

# Disabling Merging Relationship Meta

If you did not want the comments count to appear in the top-level meta member of the related resource response, you can disable this on the comments field in your posts schema. Use the dontCountInRelationship() method. For example:

HasMany::make('comments')->dontCountInRelationship();
Last Updated: 4/22/2021, 4:59:19 PM