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Eager Loading in Laravel

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by Samarth Sinha on 2017-02-19 16:20:15

When accessing Eloquent relationships as properties, the relationship data is "lazy loaded". This means the relationship data is not actually loaded until you first access the property. However, Eloquent can "eager load" relationships at the time you query the parent model. Eager loading alleviates the N + 1 query problem. To illustrate the N + 1 query problem, consider a Book model that is related to Author:

<?php

namespace App;

use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Model;

class Book extends Model
{
    /**
     * Get the author that wrote the book.
     */
    public function author()
    {
        return $this->belongsTo('App\Author');
    }
}

Now, let's retrieve all books and their authors:

$books = App\Book::all();

foreach ($books as $book) {
    echo $book->author->name;
}

This loop will execute 1 query to retrieve all of the books on the table, then another query for each book to retrieve the author. So, if we have 25 books, this loop would run 26 queries: 1 for the original book, and 25 additional queries to retrieve the author of each book.

Thankfully, we can use eager loading to reduce this operation to just 2 queries. When querying, you may specify which relationships should be eager loaded using the with method:

$books = App\Book::with('author')->get();

foreach ($books as $book) {
    echo $book->author->name;
}

For this operation, only two queries will be executed:

select * from books

select * from authors where id in (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)

 

Eager Loading Multiple Relationships

Sometimes you may need to eager load several different relationships in a single operation. To do so, just pass additional arguments to the with method:

$books = App\Book::with('author', 'publisher')->get();

Nested Eager Loading

To eager load nested relationships, you may use "dot" syntax. For example, let's eager load all of the book's authors and all of the author's personal contacts in one Eloquent statement:

$books = App\Book::with('author.contacts')->get();

About the Author

  • avatar
    Samarth Sinha

    My name Samarth Sinha. I work on developing Web Applications using PHP and MySQL and in different frameworks of PHP like Laravel, CakePHP, CodeIgnitor and Smarty. In databases I have worked in MySQL and Postgres. I started this blog to share my knowledge to those who wants to start developing Web Applications using PHP.