Using Laravel Factory States to Add More Configuration After Creation

Mar 27, 2024 laravel

I love using Laravel Database Factories for setting up test data. But, what about when we want to do more complex domain object creation besides just data values or relationships created outside of the factory? Let’s try using the afterCreated() hook and states.

To give this more clarity, let’s develop a scenario. We want to create a User object with our factory. We’re using the Spatie Laravel Permissions package, and we’d like to make some users with the role staff and some with the admin role.

Let’s take a look at our User factory and see how we might accomplish this using database factories states.

<?php declare(strict_types=1);

namespace Database\Factories;

use App\Models\Role;
use App\Models\User;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Factories\Factory;
use Illuminate\Support\Carbon;

 * @extends Factory<User>
class UserFactory extends Factory
  public function definition(): array
    return [
      'email' => $this->faker->unique()->email(),
      'first_name' => $this->faker->firstName(),
      'last_name' => $this->faker->lastName(),
      'activated' => true,
      // snip

  public function notActivated(): self
    return $this->state(fn() => ['activated' => false]);

  public function staff(): self
    return $this->afterCreating(fn(User $user) => $user->assignRole(Role::STAFF));

  public function admin(): self
    return $this->afterCreating(fn(User $user) => $user->assignRole(Role::ADMIN));

So, the beginning part just defines our user fields as we’d normally do. I snipped out some to not be distracting. Note that we have the activated field turned to true normally.

Now, I demonstrate how you might be familiar with states. The notActivated() will set a state value that disables activated. So, if you used User::factory()->notActivated()->create() you’d have a user created with default parameters, just not activated.

So, how do we add a role? Well there’s no easy way to do it in the initialization or definition. So, we can use callbacks - and we can access those callbacks in states.

Let’s imagine we want to create a staff user named Aaron who is activated. User::factory()->admin()->create(['first_name' => 'Aaron']). Perfect! Now, it calls the admin() state which - instead of setting a state, still fluently returns, but this time registering a callback into afterCreating(). Now, after the user is created, as a normal user, activated, named Aaron, a final handler executes and adds the Role::ADMIN to them.

Looking for more Laravel Tips & Tricks? Join Joel and I on the No Compromises bi-weekly podcast; around 15 minutes of thoughtful real-world advice and helpful info.
Go to All Posts