Working with CakePHP 3.0 Entity objects vs CakePHP 2.0 arrays

CakePHP3 finds will now return a ResultSet object that contains entity objects, one per records. You’ll have to work with these objects now instead of arrays. This is the official description of them:

  • Cake\ORM\ResultSet – A collection of results that gives powerful tools for manipulating data in aggregate.
  • Cake\ORM\Entity – Represents a single row result. Makes accessing data and serializing to various formats a snap.

Further down on that page there is even more info about that. Take a look at the ResultSet API. You’ll see that it implements Iterator, you can use it like an array because of that but it’s an object.

Let’s start with the example UsersController.

The UsersTable, formerly known as a Model.

In your App/View/Products/index.ctp put this:

If you add a

in the loop it will show you the Entity object. I’m not pasting the whole long debug output here, skipping a few fields.

As you can see you’re getting an object back not an array any longer. To access the values or “fields” of your entity object just access it as a property of the object, the magic getter will get you the value of it from the protected _properties property of the Entity object.

Now try adding this into the foreach loop.


Not all fields were converted, fields that contain an object stay an object. Calling toArray() here will convert the object into an array in the case you really want to continue using arrays instead of object. I would not recommend to do so because your’re simply throwing the new features and possibilities objects make possible away!

Callbacks in CakePHP forms using events

If you ever have the need to inject fields or other things into a form, for example when building a blog or CMS system, you can use the event system that comes with CakePHP. The basic concept can be used every where within the views and is not limited to forms only, but a form is a good example.

You can find the complete sample as working application in the cake2-form-events branch of my Github cakephp-sample repository.

Please note that this sample code is using php 5.4 specific notations.

The form in a view file is dispatching two events, the View.Form.someFormStart and View.Form.someFormEnd event. The places where these callbacks are fired are the places where custom fields or other output is going to be injected by the triggered event listener callbacks.

The event listener class that will inject something to your form events.  I would not write a lot view code in the event listener itself, it is just done for demonstration purpose in this sample, I would always put the additional things I would like to display in an element and only echo that element from the event, to keep the view pieces it will inject separated from the event listener to respect separation of concerns.

You can put your event listeners into App/Event for example. After you’ve created your event listener and saved it to App/Event/FormListener.php you have to attach your listener to the CakeEventManager. In your App/Config/bootstrap.php add this to attach the listener to the global event manager.

The additional_fields element will output the user we fetched in the first event for demonstration purpose to give you an idea of what is possible and how it works and data is made available between the different steps.

I hope you enjoyed the article and learned something. Any kind of critic to improve it is welcome!