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How to write custom Laravel Nova Cards without making them a package

October 12, 20184 min read

Laravel Nova has been released in August 2018 and we implemented it in our backend administration for Exposify. It’s a breeze to set up and looks fantastic in our eyes — however since it’s still in its early versions I think there is lots to work on for the team behind it. This leads straight to…

Galaxy with Code

Galaxy with Code

The problem

Nova allows to extend most of its parts through custom composer packages. This is great for easy sharing with the community, eg. through However this is not so great if you need a truly custom extension.

I wanted to implement a Nova card that allows to easily switch between different teams in our app and suggest recently active teams to choose from.

If you go ahead with php artisan nova:card company/my-card Nova will create an extra directory with its own package.json, composer.json, compiled asset folder etc.

In our case this default approach was problematic:

  • added complexity in app structure and file maintenance
  • separate asset compilation (when we develop we have the Webpack watcher running to compile our assets into our main asset directory — for this one card we would need to run separate NPM scripts or even commit compiled assets)
  • it’s so custom it will never be released and the logic is so tightly coupled to our app that it doesn’t make sense to split it from e.g. defined metric cards in the app\Nova directory

The solution

Remove all the „packaging“ (get it?) and bring the custom components into the regular Nova scaffolding. I proceeded with the following 8 steps:

Step 1

Create a regular card with php artisan nova:card company/custom-card and follow the setup as described in the docs. See that a package is created in /nova-components.

Step 2

Move the src/CustomCard.php into a directory /app/Nova/Cards. Now it has the same visual status as defined filters, actions or metric. Adjust its namespace.

Step 3

The src/CardServiceProvider.php needs to get merged into the app/Providers/NovaServiceProvider.php. So inform Nova about the assets of our components by modifying the boot() method in app/Providers/NovaServiceProvider.php like this:

// ...
public function boot()
// Let Nova know where your compiled assets will be.
Nova::serving(function (ServingNova $event) {
// Only add the following line if you don't use Single File
// Components and plan to compile CSS separately.
// Nova::style('nova', public_path('assets/css/nova.css'));
Nova::script('nova', public_path('assets/js/nova.js'));
// ...

Step 4

Inform Nova about routes of the card (and potentially other components) by modifying the routes() method in app/Providers/NovaServiceProvider.php like this:

// ...
protected function routes()
// Set this namespace wherever you want to respond
// to requests from your Nova components.
// ...

Step 5

Import the CustomCard class in the Service Provider and add an instance of it to the returned array in the cards() method so it looks like this:

use App\Nova\Cards\CustomCard;
// ...
protected function cards()
return [
new CustomCard,
// ...

Step 6

Store the frontend component. Copy the content of /nova-components/CustomCard/resources/js and paste it in your project asset folder (eg. /resources/assets/js/Nova/CustomCard).

Add a general /resources/assets/js/nova.js and import the card component (import CustomCard from 'Nova/CustomCard/card.js'). Configure Webpack to compile this file — in this case to /public/assets/js/nova.js (remember Step 3?). If you are using Vue Single-File-Components you don’t need an extra CSS file.

If you are using Laravel Mix you can compile your components super easy with mix.js('resources/assets/js/nova.js', 'public/assets/js/nova.js').

Step 7

Add the route file for custom components. Create /routes/nova.php and add routes as usual — they’ll be discovered because of our preparation from step 4.

Step 8

Clean up. Nova will have added custom scripts to package.json, so remove them. It will also have required the package in composer.json and added a repository entry there, so remove these ones as well.

Delete the /nova-components directory.

And that’s it. Now you can run npm run watch and continue developing your app. Custom Nova components will be compiled and you can easily edit and use them like filters, actions or metric cards.

Let me know what you think about Laravel Nova and whether you see a different solution for the described problem!

Got thoughts on this? Write me a response!

Trying to craft articles like little tasty pieces of knowledge — written to understand things and become better at explaining them.

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