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Callback Methods

If you want to sneak in some logic just before or after a CakePHP model operation, use model callbacks. These functions can be defined in model classes (including your AppModel) class. Be sure to note the expected return values for each of these special functions.

When using callback methods you should remember that behavior callbacks are fired before model callbacks are.


beforeFind(array $query)

Called before any find-related operation. The $query passed to this callback contains information about the current query: conditions, fields, etc.

If you do not wish the find operation to begin (possibly based on a decision relating to the $query options), return false. Otherwise, return the possibly modified $query, or anything you want to get passed to find and its counterparts.

You might use this callback to restrict find operations based on a user’s role, or make caching decisions based on the current load.


afterFind(array $results, boolean $primary = false)

Use this callback to modify results that have been returned from a find operation, or to perform any other post-find logic. The $results parameter passed to this callback contains the returned results from the model’s find operation, i.e. something like:

$results = array(
    0 => array(
        'ModelName' => array(
            'field1' => 'value1',
            'field2' => 'value2',

The return value for this callback should be the (possibly modified) results for the find operation that triggered this callback.

The $primary parameter indicates whether or not the current model was the model that the query originated on or whether or not this model was queried as an association. If a model is queried as an association the format of $results can differ; instead of the result you would normally get from a find operation, you may get this:

$results = array(
    'field_1' => 'value1',
    'field_2' => 'value2'


Code expecting $primary to be true will probably get a “Cannot use string offset as an array” fatal error from PHP if a recursive find is used.

Below is an example of how afterfind can be used for date formatting:

public function afterFind($results, $primary = false) {
    foreach ($results as $key => $val) {
        if (isset($val['Event']['begindate'])) {
            $results[$key]['Event']['begindate'] = $this->dateFormatAfterFind(
    return $results;

public function dateFormatAfterFind($dateString) {
    return date('d-m-Y', strtotime($dateString));


beforeValidate(array $options = array())

Use this callback to modify model data before it is validated, or to modify validation rules if required. This function must also return true, otherwise the current save() execution will abort.



Called after data has been checked for errors. Use this callback to perform any data cleanup or preparation if needed.


beforeSave(array $options = array())

Place any pre-save logic in this function. This function executes immediately after model data has been successfully validated, but just before the data is saved. This function should also return true if you want the save operation to continue.

This callback is especially handy for any data-massaging logic that needs to happen before your data is stored. If your storage engine needs dates in a specific format, access it at $this->data and modify it.

Below is an example of how beforeSave can be used for date conversion. The code in the example is used for an application with a begindate formatted like YYYY-MM-DD in the database and is displayed like DD-MM-YYYY in the application. Of course this can be changed very easily. Use the code below in the appropriate model.

public function beforeSave($options = array()) {
    if (!empty($this->data['Event']['begindate']) &&
    ) {

        $this->data['Event']['begindate'] = $this->dateFormatBeforeSave(
        $this->data['Event']['enddate'] = $this->dateFormatBeforeSave(
    return true;

public function dateFormatBeforeSave($dateString) {
    return date('Y-m-d', strtotime($dateString));


Be sure that beforeSave() returns true, or your save is going to fail.


afterSave(boolean $created, array $options = array())

If you have logic you need to be executed just after every save operation, place it in this callback method. The saved data will be available in $this->data.

The value of $created will be true if a new record was created (rather than an update).

The $options array is the same one passed to Model::save().


beforeDelete(boolean $cascade = true)

Place any pre-deletion logic in this function. This function should return true if you want the deletion to continue, and false if you want to abort.

The value of $cascade will be true if records that depend on this record will also be deleted.


Be sure that beforeDelete() returns true, or your delete is going to fail.

// using app/Model/ProductCategory.php
// In the following example, do not let a product category be deleted if it
// still contains products.
// A call of $this->Product->delete($id) from ProductsController.php has set
// $this->id .
// Assuming 'ProductCategory hasMany Product', we can access $this->Product
// in the model.
public function beforeDelete($cascade = true) {
    $count = $this->Product->find("count", array(
        "conditions" => array("product_category_id" => $this->id)
    if ($count == 0) {
        return true;
    } else {
        return false;



Place any logic that you want to be executed after every deletion in this callback method.

// perhaps after deleting a record from the database, you also want to delete
// an associated file
public function afterDelete() {
    $file = new File($this->data['SomeModel']['file_path']);



Called if any problems occur.