Stop checking if record exists: Eloquent methods OrCreate and OrNew
Another "hidden gem" of Laravel which is surprisingly rarely used or even known, though it's mentioned in the official Eloquent documentation. Imagine that you have a record, and you need to check if that record already exists in the database - to prevent duplicate, you wouldn't save it second time. There's an elegant way to perform it in Eloquent.
Let's take an example - a user with email email@example.com (real email, feel free to get in touch!).
Typical code would be:
Yup, it's that easy. This sentence performs the same thing - checks the user by email, and if it doesn't exist - creates the record, filling the extra fields with the array in the second parameter.
There's also a method called firstOrNew(). It works almost identically to firstOrCreate(), except that it doesn't actually create a record in DB - it just returns a new Eloquent model object which then you can modify before saving:
$user = User::firstOrNew(['email' => 'firstname.lastname@example.org'],
['first_name' => 'Povilas', 'last_name' => 'Korop']);
// ... Some more manipulation on $user
But that's not all! You can do pretty much the same thing for updating the record.
Same logic of parameters here - Laravel will check for email field, and if it finds the record, it will get updated with first_name and last_name, otherwise new entry will be created with all those three fields.
Some more info and a different example - in the official Eloquent documentation.