25 January 2016

Laravel - Using route parameters in middleware

I'm busy writing an application which is heavily dependent on personalized URLs.  Each visitor to the site will have a PURL which I need to communicate to the frontend so that my analytics tags can be associated with the user.

Before I go any further I should note that I'm using Piwik as my analytics package, and it respects "Do Not Track" requests.  We're not using this to track people, but we are tying it to our clients existing database of their user interests.

I want the process of identifying the user to be as magical as possible so that my controllers can stay nice and skinny.  Nobody likes a fat controller right?

I decided to use middleware to trap all my web requests to assign a "responder" to the request.  Then I'll use a view composer to make sure that all of the output views have this information readily available.

The only snag in this plan was that the Laravel documentation was a little sketchy on how to get the value of the request parameter in middleware.  It turns out that the syntax I was looking for was $request->route()->parameters()which neatly returns the route parameters in my middleware.

The result is that every web request to my application is associated with a visitor in my database and this unique id is sent magically to my frontend analytics.

So, here are enough of the working pieces to explain what my approach was:

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