Generate a JSON Feed with Laravel

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Generate a JSON Feed with Laravel image

JSON Feed is a new standard to formalize a JSON based RSS feed that aims to simplify creating feeds by doing away with the XML standard. Implementing a feed for your site is simple, and the spec is surprisingly clear.

Here is a simple example of it:

{
"version": "https://jsonfeed.org/version/1",
"title": "My Example Feed",
"home_page_url": "https://example.org/",
"feed_url": "https://example.org/feed.json",
"items": [
{
"id": "2",
"content_text": "This is a second item.",
"url": "https://example.org/second-item"
},
{
"id": "1",
"content_html": "<p>Hello, world!</p>",
"url": "https://example.org/initial-post"
}
]
}

I just implemented this feed format for Laravel News, and you can find the results here. As a quick example let’s go through setting up a feed like this.

Grab a list of Posts

The first step is to grab a list of records from the database. For this site the items are stored in a “Posts” table and using Eloquent I grab the latest 20 for the feed:

$posts = Post::limit(20)->get();

Setup the main JSON Feed data

The JSON Feed spec has a few optional top level fields such as title, feed URL, site icon, and more. Since these are not dynamic I added them to an array manually:

$data = [
'version' => 'https://jsonfeed.org/version/1',
'title' => 'Laravel News Feed',
'home_page_url' => 'https://laravel-news.com/',
'feed_url' => 'https://laravel-news.com/feed/json',
'icon' => 'https://laravel-news.com/apple-touch-icon.png',
'favicon' => 'https://laravel-news.com/apple-touch-icon.png',
'items' => [],
];

The empty items will hold all of our posts.

Add the JSON Feed Items

The final step is to loop through all of our $posts and add it to the items array. Here is an example using my data:

foreach ($posts as $key => $post) {
$data['items'][$key] = [
'id' => $post->id,
'title' => $post->title,
'url' => 'https://laravel-news.com/'.$post->uri,
'image' => $post->featured_image,
'content_html' => $post->parsed_content,
'date_published' => $post->created_at->tz('UTC')->toRfc3339String(),
'date_modified' => $post->updated_at->tz('UTC')->toRfc3339String(),
'author' => [
'name' => $post->user->name
],
];
}

The only part that is unique is the time stamps. I’m utilizing Carbon’s features to convert to UTC and then to the RFC 3339 format which the JSON spec requires.

Final Results

Here is the complete final method:

public function json()
{
$posts = Post::active()->limit(20)->get();
 
$data = [
'version' => 'https://jsonfeed.org/version/1',
'title' => 'Laravel News Feed',
'home_page_url' => 'https://laravel-news.com/',
'feed_url' => 'https://laravel-news.com/feed/json',
'icon' => 'https://laravel-news.com/apple-touch-icon.png',
'favicon' => 'https://laravel-news.com/apple-touch-icon.png',
'items' => [],
];
 
foreach ($posts as $key => $post) {
$data['items'][$key] = [
'id' => $post->id,
'title' => $post->title,
'url' => 'https://laravel-news.com/'.$post->uri,
'image' => $post->featured_image,
'content_html' => $post->parsed_content,
'date_created' => $post->publishes_at->tz('UTC')->toRfc3339String(),
'date_modified' => $post->updated_at->tz('UTC')->toRfc3339String(),
'author' => [
'name' => $post->user->name
],
];
}
return $data;
}

One thing to notice is that with Laravel we do not have to set any special headers or really anything. Just return the $data array, and it’ll automatically be converted to JSON and have the proper headers.

If you’d like to implement a package for this or need a more advanced setup check out the brand new LaravelJsonFeed package by Mateus Guimarães.

Eric L. Barnes photo

Eric is the creator of Laravel News and has been covering Laravel since 2012.

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