Additional Attributes

To increase the flexibility of the Data Provider, we’d like to add arbitrary properties. These can’t be defined as their own column in the database, because at some point they will be settable through the UI. Therefore, we use the 'HasAdditionalProperties' trait.

This trait relies on storing the additional properties in a single column, a JSON column called 'additional_attributes'.


In the service provider, we define the additional properties the model can handle. This is done through the Model::addProperty($key) method call. Two methods are then defined, getAdditionalAttribute($key) and setAdditionalAttribute($key, $value). These retrieve the additional_attributes, using the defined mutator to ensure it is an array, then return or set the correct values.

To let us keep doing things the 'Laravel' way, we also override the get and setAttribute functions. Before the default implementations of these methods are called, we check to see if the user is getting or setting an 'additional property'. If they are, we pass the method call onto the corresponding set or get additionalAttribute function, otherwise we continue with the default method call.

Finally, we want to automatically enter these parameters into the model when cast to an array. To do that, the trait automatically adds additional properties to the appends array. We then define a __call method, which handles the method call if it’s an accessor or mutator attempt for an additional property.

Other models must define the get and setAdditonalAttribte methods, and return the additional attributes when casted to an array or a string.