Building an Entity List

We need an Entity List to display the list of instances for an entity. This list can be paginated, searchable, filtered, ... as we'll see below.


php artisan sharp:make:entity-list <class_name> [--model=<model_name>]

Write the class

First let's write the applicative class, and make it extend Code16\Sharp\EntityList\SharpEntityList. Therefore there are four abstract methods to implement:

  • buildListDataContainers() and buildListLayout() for the structure,
  • getListData(EntityListQueryParams $params) for the data,
  • and buildListConfig() for... the list config.

Each one is detailed here:


A "data container" is a column in the Entity List, named this way to abstract the presentation. This first function is responsible to describe each column:

function buildListDataContainers()
            ->setLabel("Full name")

Setting the label, allowing the column to be sortable and to display html is optional.


Next step, define how those columns are displayed:

function buildListLayout()
    $this->addColumn("picture", 1, 2)
        ->addColumn("name", 9, 10)
        ->addColumnLarge("capacity", 2);

We add columns giving:

  • the column key, which must match those defined in buildListDataContainers(),
  • the "width" of the column, as an integer on a 12-based grid,
  • and the 2nd integer in the width on small screen.

In this example, picture and name will be displayed respectively on 1/12 and 9/12 of the viewport width on large screens, and 2/12 and 10/12 on small screens. The third column, capacity, will only be shown on large screens, with a width of 2/12.

getListData(EntityListQueryParams $params)

Now the real work: grab and return the actual list data. This method must return an array of instances of our entity. You can do this however you want, so let's see a generic example:

The returned array is meant to be built with 2 rules:

  • each item must define the keys declared in the buildDatacontainer() function,
  • plus one attribute for the identifier, which is id by default (more on that later).

So for instance, if we defined 2 columns name and capacity:

function getListData(EntityListQueryParams $params)
    return [
            "id" => 1,
            "name" => "USS Enterprise",
            "capacity" => "10k"
        ], [
            "id" => 2,
            "name" => "USS Agamemnon",
            "capacity" => "20k"

Of course, real code would imply some data request in a DB, or a file for instance; the important thing is that Sharp don't care.


In a more realistic project, you'll want to transform your data before sending it to the front code. Sharp can help with that, as explained in the detailled How to transform data documentation.

Handle query params

As you may have noticed, getListData() accepts as an argument a EntityListQueryParams instance. This object will be filled by Sharp with query params:

  • sorting: $params->sortedBy() and $params->sortedDir()
  • search: $params->hasSearch() and $params->searchWords()
  • filters: $params->filterFor($filter)

If the Entity List was configured to handle sort, filters or search (see below to learn how), and if the user performed such an action, values will be accessible here.


$params->sortedBy() contains the name of the attribute, and $params->sortedDir() the direction: asc or desc.

Note that the ability of sorting a column is defined in buildListDataContainers().

$params->hasSearch() returns true if the user entered a search, and $params->searchWords() returns an array of search terms. This last method can take parameters, here's its full signature:

public function searchWords(
    $isLike = true,
    $handleStar = true,
    $noStarTermPrefix = '%',
    $noStarTermSuffix = '%'
  • $isLike: if true, each term will be surrounded by % (by default).
  • $handleStar: if true, and if a char * is found in a term, it will be replaced by % (default), and this term won't be surrounded by % (to allow "starts with" or "ends with" searches).
  • $noStarTermPrefix and $noStarTermSuffix: the char to use in a $isLike case.

Here's a code sample with an Eloquent Model:

if ($params->hasSearch()) {
    foreach ($params->searchWords() as $word) {
        $spaceships->where(function ($query) use ($word) {
            $query->orWhere('name', 'like', $word)
                ->orWhere('', 'like', $word);

We haven't see yet how we can build a Filter, but at this stage, a filter is a key and a value. So we can grab this calling $filterValue = $params->filterFor($filterKey), and use the value in our query code.


It's very common to return in getListData() paginated results: return a Illuminate\Contracts\Pagination\LengthAwarePaginator in this case.

With Eloquent or the QueryBuilder, this means calling ->paginate($count) on the query.


Finally, this last function must describe... the list config. Let's see an example:

function buildListConfig()
        ->setDefaultSort("name", "asc")

Here we declare that:

  • each item of our list is identified by an attribute id (this is the default value);
  • the list is meant to allow search to the user, meaning Sharp will display a search text input and process its content to fill the EntityListQueryParams instance (see above);
  • the list must be sorted by "name", meaning that the EntityListQueryParams instance will be filled with this default value;
  • and finally, the list is paginated, meaning that getListData(EntityListQueryParams $params) must return an instance of LengthAwarePaginator (see above) and that Sharp will display pagination links if needed.

This config can also contain things related to Filters, Commands or State, and all of this is discussed in following chapters.

Configure the entity

In the sharp config file, we have to declare our entity, and link it to the Entity List class:

// config/sharp.php

return [
    "entities" => [
        "spaceship" => [
            "list" => \App\Sharp\SpaceshipSharpList::class,

Then we can access the Entity List at the following URL: /sharp/s-list/spaceship (replace "spaceship" by our entity key).

To go ahead and learn how to add a link in the Sharp side menu, look here.

Last Updated:
Contributors: antoine