Complex application rules in CakePHP3

I had a pretty interesting task recently. We have profiles that must implement certain constraints depending on what kind of profile / product the client purchased. So a profile can have a specific number of languages depending on the constraints. This means we need to validate the number of languages an user has picked by a value from another database table that needs to be picked up somehow at runtime.

Why a validation rule won’t can’t do the job

Validation rules are stateless. They are intended to operate in a stateless way. They are best leveraged to ensure that the shape, data types and format of data is correct.

Application rules are stateful, so they are best leveraged to check stateful properties of your entities. For example, validation rules could ensure that an email address is valid, while an application rule could ensure that the email address is unique.

When validation rules are applied the entity has not yet been marshalled, in other words the entity has not yet really been constructed and processed, the data is still a simple array.

So when you inspect the $context, the 2nd arg of a validation rule, you’ll notice that the `data` key of the array just contains what you’ve passed, but not the whole entity!

Application rules will do it

An application rule will run after the entity object was built by the marshaller and you’ll have all data available you need that was passed and merged if you used patchEntity() for example.

See the “Creating custom rule objects” section of the official documentation on how to create your own rule objects.


Application rules are a nice thing to work with in CakePHP3 even the fact they might not be that easy to understand by a first quick look. You can implement more complex requirements that require you to work on the DB level to validate the integrity of your requirement and database as application rules.

Looking for a new CakePHP job? is online!

I’ve recently launched my first personal project, no contract work, my very own project. There has been no dedicated place for CakePHP related jobs yet. I knew that other frameworks like Laravel have one and so I decided to come up with one for CakePHP:

Screenshot 2015-12-13 22.36.29

If you’re a web development company, or know a company doing development with CakePHP please feel free to spread the word about the page! Thank you!


CakePHP & AngularJS Pagination

It is actually pretty easy to make your RESTful calls in CakePHP paginateable by using what the Paginator Component already offers us and using Angular UI Bootstrap Paginator on the client side code. On our server side we just use the built in serialization of CakePHP to generate the response. This is an example of a CakePHP controller index() method that is paginateable:

Now let’s fetch the data via a custom Angular JS service in our Angular controller. The service “someApiService” is doing nothing more than a $http.get() call internally and resolving the result and then returning the promise again.

We also need a method to do the page change when one of the pagination links is clicked, so that a new request is done with the “page” param is issued. This is actually the reason we’ve wrapped the API call in a function, we don’t have to duplicate the code. You’ll call getData() one time to load the data when you enter the page and later each time a page button is clicked.

In your Angular view:

That’s all, as you can see it is pretty easy to get AJAX pagination working with these two awesome frameworks!