Laravel comes with Monolog which it uses to log application exceptions and such. The need arose recently to log other information to text files, specifically searches performed by users. I tried logging this to the database but the table grew very quickly and performance suffered as a result.
So I decided to log to text files, which I can then process when reporting is needed. It would be relatively easy to use PHP file operations to open and append to a text file, but I decided to try to stick to using Monolog. Most of the information I was able to find online about how to do this involved overwriting Laravel's Logging Configuration classes to allow different types of data to be written to different log files, but it seemed like an awful lot of code to do something that should be relatively simple. After more searching I found a method that uses 4 lines of code and works perfectly:
$logPath = [path to log file]
$orderLog = new Logger('searches');
$orderLog->pushHandler(new StreamHandler($logPath), Logger::INFO);
$orderLog->info('Search : ', $data);
By including the date in the $logPath as part of the file name I can automatically rotate the logs and write to whatever location I choose to. The $data variable needs to be an array and is encoded to JSON and written to the log. The parameter passed into the new Logger() is the channel written to the log.
The only thing I have not yet been able to customize is the Priority - in this case "Info." For my purposes this isn't really necessary and could be ommitted, but having it doesn't have any downsides so I don't know if it's worth the trouble of figuring out how to remove it.