How to use Laravel's Eloquent ORM with the Slim Framework

I’m building a small Slim Framework application at New Media Campaigns. Because this application is for internal use, I figured I’d learn something new while building it. Even though the database schema is pretty simple, I’ve heard great things about Laravel — a full-stack framework from Taylor Otwell — and how many of its components are available as separate Composer packages on Packagist.

So I decided to use Laravel’s Eloquent ORM with my Slim Framework application. Several of my readers asked how I did this. So here goes…

File Structure

Here’s how I’m organizing my application. The virtual host document root is the public/ directory.



First, prepare the composer.json file so it will pull down and install the Slim Framework and the Eloquent ORM. The composer.json file should look like this:

    "require": {
        "slim/slim": "*",
        "illuminate/database": "*"

When this is done, run composer install to install the application dependencies.

Bootstrap The Eloquent ORM

Next, I tell Composer to autoload the application’s dependencies by requiring Composer’s autoload.php file.

// Autoload our dependencies with Composer
require '../vendor/autoload.php';

And now I bootstrap the Eloquent ORM and pass it my database connection information (be sure you add your own username, password, and database name).

// Database information
$settings = array(
    'driver' => 'mysql',
    'host' => '',
    'database' => '',
    'username' => '',
    'password' => '',
    'collation' => 'utf8_general_ci',
    'prefix' => ''

// Bootstrap Eloquent ORM
$connFactory = new \Illuminate\Database\Connectors\ConnectionFactory();
$conn = $connFactory->make($settings);
$resolver = new \Illuminate\Database\ConnectionResolver();
$resolver->addConnection('default', $conn);

Now that the Eloquent ORM is bootstrapped, I can create and use models that extend the Eloquent abstract model. This example assumes your database contains a table named books with columns title and author.

class Book extends \Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model


Include this model file into index.php and use your Eloquent ORM models in your Slim application routes:

// Create Slim app
$app = new \Slim\Slim();

$app->get('/foo', function () {
    // Fetch all books
    $books = \Book::all();
    echo $books->toJson();

    // Or create a new book
    $book = new \Book(array(
        'title' => 'Sahara',
        'author' => 'Clive Cussler'
    echo $book->toJson();


If you want to read a more indepth tutorial about the Slim Framework and the Eloquent ORM, read Mixing and matching PHP components with composer by Phil Sturgeon.

Happy coding!