Watch me get grumpy - event sourcing refactor

As I continue to build out OpenCFP Central I wanted to share with you some of the work I have been doing to move it from your typical CRUD structure to something a little more robust -- CQRS and event sourcing.

So at the time I wrote this, I had two problems I needed to solve:

  • how to refactor existing code for talk creation to support CQRS+ES
  • how to go back and create events for data that already exists

Solving the first problem appears straightforward. This is a Laravel 5.8 application, so I spent time looking at some different packages that I thought could help me implement the core features that I needed for event sourcing quickly. My first research lead me to two solutions tailored towards PHP:

The problem I quickly ran into was there was some friction in using these packages with Laravel. They both are very powerful, but you will end up spending a lot of time writing the wiring and/or glue yourself. That was time that I felt I did not have. After all OpenCFP Central is a project I can only really devote 1-2 days a week on. I needed some help to implement the basic concepts and let me build stuff quickly.

Like with a lot of problems I try and solve over the years, sometimes if you wait long enough someone else will create the solution for you!

I discovered that Freek Murze had been tweeting about Laravel Event Projector. This turned out to be exactly what I needed to get started.

So, I need to go backwards and first figure out how do I take the existing data we have and create events from it. The work I needed to do will be used when I go and refactor the existing user registration code to support the new event sourcing.

What do I need to start?

  • An aggregate that represents a talk
  • An event that needs to be triggered to create our talk aggregate
  • A script that reads in the existing data and creates those events.

The aggregate looks like this:


namespace App\Domain\User;

use App\Domain\User\Events\UserCreated;
use Spatie\EventProjector\AggregateRoot;

final class UserAggregateRoot extends AggregateRoot
    public function createUser(string $email, string $name, string $password)
        $this->recordThat(new UserCreated($email, $name, $password));

        return $this;

Remember, all I'm storing is the data about this user that is important to the system. It will automatically create a UUID that belongs to this aggregate. I'll worry about what ends up in the database we will read information from when I create a projector to extract data from the event store.

Next, I have to create the code for the event that will in turn generate our user aggregate.


namespace App\Domain\User\Events;

use Spatie\EventProjector\ShouldBeStored;

final class UserCreated implements ShouldBeStored
    /** @var string */
    public $email;

    /** @var string */
    public $name;

    /** @var string */
    public $password;

     * UserCreated constructor.
     * @param string $email
     * @param string $name
     * @param string $password
    public function __construct(string $email, string $name, string $password)
        $this->email    = $email;
        $this->name     = $name;
        $this->password = $password;

It takes the user information passed into it and assigns it to class attributes.

Finally, I will create a console command that I can execute with php artisan that will loop through all my existing user records, storing aggregates for them.

declare(strict_types=1); namespace App\Console\Commands; use App\Domain\User\UserAggregateRoot; use App\User; use Illuminate\Console\Command; use Ramsey\Uuid\Uuid; class GenerateUserCreatedEvents extends Command { /** * The name and signature of the console command. * * @var string */ protected $signature = 'admin:generate_user_events'; /** * The console command description. * * @var string */ protected $description = 'Set an existing user to be an admin'; public function handle() : void { foreach (User::all() as $user) { UserAggregateRoot::retrieve((string) Uuid::uuid4()) ->createUser( $user->email, $user->name, $user->password ) ->persist(); } } }

The UserAggregateRoot uses some magic behind the scenes to then take the data I submitted and write it to the event store.

So what ends up being stored in the events table? In my current test environment I have exactly one user and here's a slightly-edited version of what got created.

id               | 4
aggregate_uuid   | 2b5f88da-1f51-4443-a080-c566c04d452e
event_class      | App\Domain\User\Events\UserCreated
event_properties | {"email":"","name":"Chris Hartjes","password":"clearlynotmypassword"}
meta_data        | []
created_at       | 2019-04-26 19:31:44

Again, I remind you to understand the central concept that we are creating events that do not necessarily map exactly to what ends up in a database. One of the central parts of CQRS is that by separating the "command" (typically writing something to a database) from the "query" (typically reading something from a database). This gives me the flexibility to have multiple database tables that can display information in different ways. This is especially useful for domains where multiple types of reports are required. Multiple tables with exactly the data you need are, in my opinion, better than one big table where you have to create customized queries to filter out, and group, and aggregate things you are looking for.

First, I need to modify the controller method that handles user creation to create an aggregate instead of directly writing to the database.

Here's what it looks like right now:

* Create a new user instance after a valid registration.
* @param  array  $data
* @return \App\User
protected function create(array $data) : User
    return User::create([
        'name' => $data['name'],
        'email' => $data['email'],
        'password' => Hash::make($data['password']),

Here's what it does instead:

protected function create(array $data) : User
    $newUuid = (string) Uuid::uuid4();

        return User::where('email', $data['email'])->first();

Now, this is not exactly normal behaviour in a CQRS+ES application. Because Laravel's Auth system was not created with this is in mind, I had to cheat a little to make the use registration system behave correctly.

Next I need to create a projector that will be triggered whenever the UserCreated event happens.


namespace App\Domain\User\Projectors;

use App\Domain\User\Events\UserCreated;
use App\User;
use Spatie\EventProjector\Projectors\Projector;
use Spatie\EventProjector\Projectors\ProjectsEvents;

final class UserProjector implements Projector
    use ProjectsEvents;

    public function onUserCreated(UserCreated $event, $aggregateUuid) : void
            'name' => $event->name,
            'email' => $event->email,
        'password' => $event->password

Alert readers will notice this is what the old controller method used to do.

Any projectors you write will be automatically detected and registered by the application.

So there you have it! A successful refactor of some existing code to support a new underlying paradigm. There is still more work to do and I'll share some of it in another blog post soon.