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Leaf CLI

Leaf CLI is a simple command line tool for creating and interacting with your Leaf applications. It gives you the options to create projects, install dependencies, run scripts, scaffold items and much more.


Video Docs

You can take a look at our leaf cli setup walkthrough on youtube.

Watch the leaf CLI installation walkthrough

You can install the leaf cli using composer. Composer is a dependency manager for PHP. You can follow the instructions on to install composer on your system. From there, you should have access to the composer command from anywhere on your system.

composer --version

You should then be able to get the Leaf CLI up and and running on your system using composer:

composer global require leafs/cli

After that, you should have access to the leaf command from anywhere on your system.

leaf --version

command not found: leaf

If you get a command not found: leaf error, it means your composer bin is not in your system path.

You need to make sure that Composer's system-wide vendor bin directory is in your system $PATH so the leaf executable can be located by your system. This directory exists in different locations based on your operating system; however, some common locations include:

  • Windows: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Composer\vendor\bin
  • macOS: $HOME/.composer/vendor/bin
  • GNU / Linux Distributions: $HOME/.config/composer/vendor/bin or $HOME/.composer/vendor/bin

You could also find the composer's global installation path by running composer global about and looking up from the first line.

Adding composer bin to path

Once you find your composer global installation path, you can add it to your path. There are some examples below which you can copy and paste in your terminal.

Eg (Adding composer bin to path linux):

export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/.config/composer/vendor/bin

Eg (Adding composer bin to path mac):

export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/.composer/vendor/bin
echo $PATH


To get leaf cli installed permanently, you will need to add your composer bin your .bashrc or .zshrc file on mac and linux.


echo 'export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/.composer/vendor/bin"' >> ~/.zshrc
source ~/.zshrc


echo 'export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/.composer/vendor/bin"' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Creating a leaf app

Video Docs

You can take a look at our leaf cli setup walkthrough on youtube.

Watch the leaf 3 installation walkthrough

To start a new project, open up your terminal and move into a directory you want to generate your projects in. From there, you can use the leaf create command to set up a new Leaf app in that directory:

leaf create <project-name>

This will prompt you to select a preset. Presets are quick ways to get your project up and running as quickly as possible. You can select a preset from the list of presets displayed to you:

? What kind of app do you want to create? [leaf]
  [0] leaf
  [1] leaf mvc
  [2] leaf api

You can select a number or type in the preset you prefer.

A leaf app will be generated based on the associated preset. As you can see, there are 3 presets:

  • Leaf: a bare Leaf project
  • Leaf MVC: a Leaf project with leaf mvc
  • Leaf API: a Leaf project with leaf api

The Leaf CLI will automatically install the dependencies for the preset you selected and set up your project using Leaf 3. From there, you can cd into your project and start building.

cd <project-name>
leaf serve

Custom installation New

The Leaf CLI also comes with a custom installation option. This allows you to customize your project to your liking. You can select the features you want to add to your project and the Leaf CLI will set it up for you.

leaf create <project-name> --custom

This will prompt you to select the features you want to add to your project. You can select the features you want to add to your project from the list of features displayed to you:

? What modules would you like to add? [none] eg: 1,2,7
  [0] None
  [1] Database
  [2] Authentication
  [3] Session support
  [4] Cookie support
  [5] CSRF protection
  [6] CORS support
  [7] Leaf Date
  [8] Leaf Fetch

For Leaf MVC, you can also select things like the View engine you prefer to use:

? What view engine would you like to use? [Blade]
  [0] Blade
  [1] Bare UI
  [2] React/Vue

Whether to add a bundler for your frontend assets:

? Do you want to add Vite to bundle your assets? [Yes]

And whether to add a testing framework:

? What testing framework would you like to use? [none]
  [0] none
  [1] pest
  [2] phpunit


These new options are quite a lot to take in, so we've also added a GUI to help you select the features you want to add to your project. The GUI allows you to select different structures and features you want to add to your project. The GUI can also install and setup frontend systems like React, Vue, Tailwind and more.

You can get started with the following command:

leaf ui

Quick presets

Leaf CLI also provides a quicker way to initialize your project without having to go through the interactive installer. You can use the --mvc, --api, and --basic options to generate your project based on a specific presets. These generate the following:

  • --basic: a bare Leaf project
  • --mvc: a Leaf project with leaf mvc
  • --api: a Leaf project with leaf api
leaf create <project-name> --mvc

Adding Tests

The Leaf CLI by default will generate your project without any testing framework. However, you will be prompted to add a testing framework if you select the --custom option.

leaf create <project-name> --custom

You can still add a testing framework without using the --custom option by using either the --pest for Pest PHP tests:

leaf create <project-name> --pest

Or the --phpunit option for PHPUnit tests:

leaf create <project-name> --phpunit

Using docker

Leaf CLI also provides a way to generate your project with docker. You can use the --docker option to add all the necessary files to your project to run it with docker.

leaf create <project-name> --docker

If you are using the --custom option, you will be asked if you want to add docker to your project. For the full docker guide, you can check out the docker guide.

Running your leaf apps

After generating your leaf app, you can cd into the directory and spin up a local dev server using leaf cli's serve command.

cd backend-api
leaf serve

You can also specify the port to run your leaf app on using the --port or -p options.

leaf serve -p 3000

File watching

In v2.1, you can also start the leaf server with hot module watching. This reloads your application anytime a change is made to your application code. To get started, simply start the leaf server with the --watch flag.

leaf serve --port 8000 --watch

Dependency Management

The serve command will also try to install dependencies for your project if it doesn't detect a vendor folder present in the current working directory.

Video Docs

Working with packages and the leaf cli

Working with packages on the Leaf CLI

Testing your Leaf apps

Testing helps prevent bugs in your app which you may not catch until you publish your app to production. Leaf introduced a test runner which helps you initialize testing and run tests in your app without needing any config first. Alchemy has also been integrated into the Leaf CLI and so you can use it's functionality directly.

Setting up tests

If you already have a project and want to setup tests, you can use the test:setup. It will automatically detect the testing framework you are using and setup tests for you. It also supports Pest PHP and PHPUnit, so you can use either of them using the --phpunit or --pest options.

# pest
leaf test:setup --pest

# phpunit
leaf test:setup --phpunit

This will create a tests folder in your project and add example tests to it based on the testing framework you are using.

Running tests

To run tests you've setup or created, you can use the test command.

leaf test

Installing packages

This cli tool also adds a feature to install leaf packages from composer.

leaf install leafs/ui

If you are installing a leaf module or package, you can leave out the leafs/ part.

leaf install ui

You can also pass in a bunch of packages to install at once.

leaf install ui db illuminate/support


Leaf CLI also allows you to install a particular version of any package using @

leaf install ui@1.0 illuminate/support@9.0.2

Interactive Shell

You can also use the interactive shell to interact with your app.

$ leaf interact
>>> $user = new User;
>>> $user->name = "Mychi";
>>> $user->save();

Updating leaf cli

Leaf CLI keeps getting better with every release, and by default, it checks for updates every time you run a command. However, you can also manually update your leaf cli using the update command.

leaf update

If this doesn't work, or you want to hard reset the Leaf CLI to clear cache, you can re-install it via composer:

composer global remove leafs/cli
composer global require leafs/cli

View commands New

Leaf CLI also allows you to create and interact with frontend setups using the view commands. You can scaffold frontend setups like React, Vue, templating engines, build tools, and more.

Scaffolding views

Leaf CLI ships with a view:install command that allows you to setup React, Vue, and templating engines like Blade and BareUI. You can use the --react, --vue, --blade, and --bareui options to scaffold your frontend setup.

leaf view:install --react

You can also use the --vite and --tailwind options to scaffold Vite and Tailwind respectively.

Running frontend setups

Since Leaf CLI is a backend tool, it doesn't come with a frontend server. However, you can use the view:dev command to run your frontend setup which may include in a dev server for your frontend.

leaf view:dev

Building frontend setups

You can also use the view:build command to build your frontend setup for production.

leaf view:build

Running Scripts

Leaf CLI also now allows you run scripts defined in your composer.json file. For example, if you have this in your composer.json:

You can run the test script like this:

leaf run test

Usage Guide

 _              __    ___ _    ___ 
| |   ___ __ _ / _|  / __| |  |_ v2.8.3
| |__/ -_) _` |  _| | (__| |__ | | 
|____\___\__,_|_|    \___|____|___|                       

  command [options] [arguments]

  -h, --help            Display help for the given command. When no command is given display help for the list command
  -q, --quiet           Do not output any message
  -V, --version         Display this application version
      --ansi|--no-ansi  Force (or disable --no-ansi) ANSI output
  -n, --no-interaction  Do not ask any interactive question
  -v|vv|vvv, --verbose  Increase the verbosity of messages: 1 for normal output, 2 for more verbose output and 3 for debug

Available commands:
  completion    Dump the shell completion script
  create        [init|new] Create a new Leaf PHP project
  deploy        [publish] Deploy your leaf project
  help          Display help for a command
  install       Add a new package to your leaf app
  interact      Interact with your application
  list          List commands
  run           Run a script in your composer.json
  serve         Run your Leaf app
  test          Test your leaf application through leaf alchemy
  uninstall     Uninstall a  package
  update        Update leaf cli to the latest version
  test:setup    Add tests to your application
  view:build    Run your frontend dev server
  view:dev      Run your frontend dev server
  view:install  Run a script in your composer.json

This is the full list of commands available with Leaf CLI 2. A new update command has been added to allow you seamlessly update leaf CLI without having to run a bunch of commands. You don't even need to run this manually since leaf cli will automatically check for updates and upgrade to the latest stable release.

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