Database attachments

File attachments

Models can support file attachments using a subset of the polymorphic relationship. The $attachOne or $attachMany relations are designed for linking a file to a database record called "attachments". In almost all cases the System\Models\File model is used to safekeep this relationship where reference to the files are stored as records in the system_files table and have a polymorphic relation to the parent model.

In the examples below the model has a single Avatar attachment model and many Photo attachment models.

A single file attachment:

public $attachOne = [
    'avatar' => 'System\Models\File'

Multiple file attachments:

public $attachMany = [
    'photos' => 'System\Models\File'

Note: In the above examples, the key name used is identical to the file upload field name. When creating the polymorphic relationship between your model and the System\Models\File model, if you have a column that shares the same name as the file upload field name, this can cause unexpected results.

Protected attachments are uploaded to the application's uploads/protected directory which is not accessible for the direct access from the Web. A protected file attachment is defined by setting the public argument to false:

public $attachOne = [
    'avatar' => ['System\Models\File', 'public' => false]

Creating new attachments

For singular attach relations ($attachOne), you may create an attachment directly via the model relationship, by setting its value using the Input::file method, which reads the file data from an input upload.

$model->avatar = Input::file('file_input');

You may also pass a string to the data attribute that contains an absolute path to a local file.

$model->avatar = '/path/to/somefile.jpg';

Sometimes it may also be useful to create a File instance directly from (raw) data:

$file = (new System\Models\File)->fromData('Some content', 'sometext.txt');

For multiple attach relations ($attachMany), you may use the create method on the relationship instead, notice the file object is associated to the data attribute. This approach can be used for singular relations too, if you prefer.

$model->avatar()->create(['data' => Input::file('file_input')]);

Alternatively, you can prepare a File model before hand, then manually associate the relationship later. Notice the is_public attribute must be set explicitly using this approach.

$file = new System\Models\File;
$file->data = Input::file('file_input');
$file->is_public = true;


You can also add a file from a URL. To work this method, you need install cURL PHP Extension.

$file = new System\Models\File;


Occasionally you may need to change a file name. You may do so by using second method parameter.

$file->fromUrl('', 'somefilename.jpg');

Viewing attachments

The getPath method returns the full URL of an uploaded public file. The following code would print something like

echo $model->avatar->getPath();

Returning multiple attachment file paths:

foreach ($model->photos as $photo) {
    echo $photo->getPath();

The getLocalPath method will return an absolute path of an uploaded file in the local filesystem.

echo $model->avatar->getLocalPath();

To output the file contents directly, use the output method, this will include the necessary headers for downloading the file:

echo $model->avatar->output();

You can resize an image with the getThumb method. The method takes 3 parameters - image width, image height and the options parameter. The following options are supported:

Option Description
mode auto, exact, portrait, landscape, crop, fit. Default: auto
quality 0 - 100. Default: 90
interlace boolean: false (default), true
extension auto, jpg, png, gif. Default: jpg

The width and height parameters should be specified as a number or as the auto word for the automatic proportional scaling.

echo $model->avatar->getThumb(100, 100, ['mode' => 'crop']);

Viewing Modes

The mode option allows you to specify how the image should be resized. Here are the available modes:

  • auto will automatically choose between portrait and landscape based on the image's orientation
  • exact will resize to the exact dimensions given, without preserving aspect ratio
  • portrait will resize to the given height and adapt the width to preserve aspect ratio
  • landscape will resize to the given width and adapt the height to preserve aspect ratio
  • crop will crop to the given dimensions after fitting as much of the image as possible inside those
  • fit will fit the image inside the given maximal dimensions, keeping the aspect ratio

Usage example

This section shows a full usage example of the model attachments feature - from defining the relation in a model to displaying the uploaded image on a page.

Inside your model define a relationship to the System\Models\File class, for example:

class Post extends Model
    public $attachOne = [
        'featured_image' => 'System\Models\File'

Build a form for uploading a file:

<?= Form::open(['files' => true]) ?>

    <input name="example_file" type="file">

    <button type="submit">Upload File</button>

<?= Form::close() ?>

Process the uploaded file on the server and attach it to a model:

// Find the Blog Post model
$post = Post::find(1);

// Save the featured image of the Blog Post model
if (Input::hasFile('example_file')) {
    $post->featured_image = Input::file('example_file');

Alternatively, you can use deferred binding to defer the relationship:

// Find the Blog Post model
$post = Post::find(1);

// Look for the postback data 'example_file' in the HTML form above
$fileFromPost = Input::file('example_file');

// If it exists, save it as the featured image with a deferred session key
if ($fileFromPost) {
    $post->featured_image()->create(['data' => $fileFromPost], $sessionKey);

Display the uploaded file on a page:

// Find the Blog Post model again
$post = Post::find(1);

// Look for the featured image address, otherwise use a default one
if ($post->featured_image) {
    $featuredImage = $post->featured_image->getPath();
else {
    $featuredImage = '';

<img src="<?= $featuredImage ?>" alt="Featured Image">

If you need to access the owner of a file, you can use the attachment property of the File model:

public $morphTo = [
    'attachment' => []


$user = $file->attachment;

For more information read the polymorphic relationships

Validation example

The example below uses array validation to validate $attachMany relationships.

use October\Rain\Database\Traits\Validation;
use System\Models\File;
use Model;

class Gallery extends Model
    use Validation;

    public $attachMany = [
        'photos' => File::class

    public $rules = [
        'photos'   => 'required',
        'photos.*' => 'image|max:1000|dimensions:min_width=100,min_height=100'

    /* some other code */

For more information on the attribute.* syntax used above, see validating arrays.