Today We Learned: Laravel Single Action Controller Route Definitions

Published in Today We Learned and Backend on Jan 6, 2021 by Brendan Quinlan

Intro to Single Action Controllers

In Laravel, the PHP framework we use to power our backend and API at Aryeo, route definitions typically reference a controller and method.

Route::get('/example-route', [ExampleController::class, 'method'])

However, at times, we come across one-off or complex actions. These actions don't fit well in an existing controller.

In these cases, we may choose create a separate controller for this action entirely. This controller does follow a full CRUDY implementation with index, show, edit, etc actions for a particular resource. Instead, this one controller encompasses just this single action.

Laravel refers to these as Single Action Controllers, and you can read about them in the framework's documentation here.

Route Definitions For Single Action Controllers

When defining a single action controller, we place a single __invoke method on the controller. This gives the following structure:


namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use App\Http\Controllers\Controller;

class ExampleController extends Controller
    public function __invoke()
        // some action

Now with the implementation above, the following route definition logicially follows:

Route::get('/example-route', [ExampleController::class, '__invoke'])

However, today we learned the syntax is far cleaner. In face, you don't need to specify the method at all. The following route definition is also valid.

Route::get('/example-route', ExampleController::class)

Simply define invokable controller as such, and Laravel will resolve the __invoke method as expected.