Query Builder

class Cake\ORM\Query

The ORM’s query builder provides a simple to use fluent interface for creating and running queries. By composing queries together, you can create advanced queries using unions and subqueries with ease.

Underneath the covers, the query builder uses PDO prepared statements which protect against SQL injection attacks.

The Query Object

The easiest way to create a Query object is to use find() from a Table object. This method will return an incomplete query ready to be modified. You can also use a table’s connection object to access the lower level Query builder that does not include ORM features, if necessary. See the Executing Queries section for more information:

use Cake\ORM\TableRegistry;
$articles = TableRegistry::get('Articles');

// Start a new query.
$query = $articles->find();

When inside a controller, you can use the automatic table variable that is created using the conventions system:

// Inside ArticlesController.php

$query = $this->Articles->find();

Selecting Rows From A Table

use Cake\ORM\TableRegistry;

$query = TableRegistry::get('Articles')->find();

foreach ($query as $article) {
    debug($article->title);
}

For the remaining examples, assume that $articles is a ORM\Table. When inside controllers, you can use $this->Articles instead of $articles.

Almost every method in a Query object will return the same query, this means that Query objects are lazy, and will not be executed unless you tell them to:

$query->where(['id' => 1]); // Return the same query object
$query->order(['title' => 'DESC']); // Still same object, no SQL executed

You can of course chain the methods you call on Query objects:

$query = $articles
    ->find()
    ->select(['id', 'name'])
    ->where(['id !=' => 1])
    ->order(['created' => 'DESC']);

foreach ($query as $article) {
    debug($article->created);
}

If you try to call debug() on a Query object, you will see its internal state and the SQL that will be executed in the database:

debug($articles->find()->where(['id' => 1]));

// Outputs
// ...
// 'sql' => 'SELECT * FROM articles where id = ?'
// ...

You can execute a query directly without having to use foreach on it. The easiest way is to either call the all() or toArray() methods:

$resultsIteratorObject = $articles
    ->find()
    ->where(['id >' => 1])
    ->all();

foreach ($resultsIteratorObject as $article) {
    debug($article->id);
}

$resultsArray = $articles
    ->find()
    ->where(['id >' => 1])
    ->toArray();

foreach ($resultsArray as $article) {
    debug($article->id);
}

debug($resultsArray[0]->title);

In the above example, $resultsIteratorObject will be an instance of Cake\ORM\ResultSet, an object you can iterate and apply several extracting and traversing methods on.

Often, there is no need to call all(), you can simply iterate the Query object to get its results. Query objects can also be used directly as the result object; trying to iterate the query, calling toArray() or some of the methods inherited from Collection, will result in the query being executed and results returned to you.

Selecting A Single Row From A Table

You can use the first() method to get the first result in the query:

$article = $articles
    ->find()
    ->where(['id' => 1])
    ->first();

debug($article->title);

Getting A List Of Values From A Column

// Use the extract() method from the collections library
// This executes the query as well
$allTitles = $articles->find()->extract('title');

foreach ($allTitles as $title) {
    echo $title;
}

You can also get a key-value list out of a query result:

$list = $articles->find('list');

foreach ($list as $id => $title) {
    echo "$id : $title"
}

For more information on how to customize the fields used for populating the list refer to Finding Key/Value Pairs section.

Queries Are Collection Objects

Once you get familiar with the Query object methods, it is strongly encouraged that you visit the Collection section to improve your skills in efficiently traversing the data. In short, it is important to remember that anything you can call on a Collection object, you can also do in a Query object:

// Use the combine() method from the collections library
// This is equivalent to find('list')
$keyValueList = $articles->find()->combine('id', 'title');

// An advanced example
$results = $articles->find()
    ->where(['id >' => 1])
    ->order(['title' => 'DESC'])
    ->map(function ($row) { // map() is a collection method, it executes the query
        $row->trimmedTitle = trim($row->title);
        return $row;
    })
    ->combine('id', 'trimmedTitle') // combine() is another collection method
    ->toArray(); // Also a collections library method

foreach ($results as $id => $trimmedTitle) {
    echo "$id : $trimmedTitle";
}

How Are Queries Lazily Evaluated

Query objects are lazily evaluated. This means a query is not executed until one of the following things occur:

  • The query is iterated with foreach().
  • The query’s execute() method is called. This will return the underlying statement object, and is to be used with insert/update/delete queries.
  • The query’s first() method is called. This will return the first result in the set built by SELECT (it adds LIMIT 1 to the query).
  • The query’s all() method is called. This will return the result set and can only be used with SELECT statements.
  • The query’s toArray() method is called.

Until one of these conditions are met, the query can be modified without additional SQL being sent to the database. It also means that if a Query hasn’t been evaluated, no SQL is ever sent to the database. Once executed, modifying and re-evaluating a query will result in additional SQL being run.

If you want to take a look at what SQL CakePHP is generating, you can turn database query logging on.

The following sections will show you everything there is to know about using and combining the Query object methods to construct SQL statements and extract data.

Selecting Data

Most web applications make heavy use of SELECT queries. CakePHP makes building them a snap. To limit the fields fetched, you can use the select() method:

$query = $articles->find();
$query->select(['id', 'title', 'body']);
foreach ($query as $row) {
    debug($row->title);
}

You can set aliases for fields by providing fields as an associative array:

// Results in SELECT id AS pk, title AS aliased_title, body ...
$query = $articles->find();
$query->select(['pk' => 'id', 'aliased_title' => 'title', 'body']);

To select distinct fields, you can use the distinct() method:

// Results in SELECT DISTINCT country FROM ...
$query = $articles->find();
$query->select(['country'])
    ->distinct(['country']);

To set some basic conditions you can use the where() method:

// Conditions are combined with AND
$query = $articles->find();
$query->where(['title' => 'First Post', 'published' => true]);

// You can call where() multiple times
$query = $articles->find();
$query->where(['title' => 'First Post'])
    ->where(['published' => true]);

See the Advanced Conditions section to find out how to construct more complex WHERE conditions. To apply ordering, you can use the order method:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->order(['title' => 'ASC', 'id' => 'ASC']);

New in version 3.0.12: In addition to order, the orderAsc and orderDesc methods can be used when you need to sort on complex expressions:

$query = $articles->find();
$concat = $query->func()->concat([
    'title' => 'identifier',
    'synopsis' => 'identifier'
]);
$query->orderAsc($concat);

To limit the number of rows or set the row offset you can use the limit() and page() methods:

// Fetch rows 50 to 100
$query = $articles->find()
    ->limit(50)
    ->page(2);

As you can see from the examples above, all the methods that modify the query provide a fluent interface, allowing you to build a query through chained method calls.

Selecting All Fields From a Table

By default a query will select all fields from a table, the exception is when you call the select() function yourself and pass certain fields:

// Only select id and title from the articles table
$articles->find()->select(['id', 'title']);

If you wish to still select all fields from a table after having called select($fields), you can pass the table instance to select() for this purpose:

// Only all fields from the articles table including
// a calculated slug field.
$query = $articlesTable->find();
$query
    ->select(['slug' => $query->func()->concat(['title', '-', 'id'])])
    ->select($articlesTable); // Select all fields from articles

New in version 3.1: Passing a table object to select() was added in 3.1.

Using SQL Functions

CakePHP’s ORM offers abstraction for some commonly used SQL functions. Using the abstraction allows the ORM to select the platform specific implementation of the function you want. For example, concat is implemented differently in MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQL Server. Using the abstraction allows your code to be portable:

// Results in SELECT COUNT(*) count FROM ...
$query = $articles->find();
$query->select(['count' => $query->func()->count('*')]);

A number of commonly used functions can be created with the func() method:

  • sum() Calculate a sum. The arguments will be treated as literal values.
  • avg() Calculate an average. The arguments will be treated as literal values.
  • min() Calculate the min of a column. The arguments will be treated as literal values.
  • max() Calculate the max of a column. The arguments will be treated as literal values.
  • count() Calculate the count. The arguments will be treated as literal values.
  • concat() Concatenate two values together. The arguments are treated as bound parameters unless marked as literal.
  • coalesce() Coalesce values. The arguments are treated as bound parameters unless marked as literal.
  • dateDiff() Get the difference between two dates/times. The arguments are treated as bound parameters unless marked as literal.
  • now() Take either ‘time’ or ‘date’ as an argument allowing you to get either the current time, or current date.
  • extract() Returns the specified date part from the SQL expression.
  • dateAdd() Add the time unit to the date expression.
  • dayOfWeek() Returns a FunctionExpression representing a call to SQL WEEKDAY function.

New in version 3.1: extract(), dateAdd() and dayOfWeek() methods have been added.

When providing arguments for SQL functions, there are two kinds of parameters you can use, literal arguments and bound parameters. Identifier/Literal parameters allow you to reference columns or other SQL literals. Bound parameters can be used to safely add user data to SQL functions. For example:

$query = $articles->find()->innerJoinWith('Categories');
$concat = $query->func()->concat([
    'Articles.title' => 'identifier',
    ' - CAT: ',
    'Categories.name' => 'identifier',
    ' - Age: ',
    '(DATEDIFF(NOW(), Articles.created))' => 'literal',
]);
$query->select(['link_title' => $concat]);

By making arguments with a value of literal, the ORM will know that the key should be treated as a literal SQL value. By making arguments with a value of identifier, the ORM will know that the key should be treated as a field identifier. The above would generate the following SQL on MySQL:

SELECT CONCAT(Articles.title, :c0, Categories.name, :c1, (DATEDIFF(NOW(), Articles.created))) FROM articles;

The :c0 value will have the ' - CAT:' text bound when the query is executed.

In addition to the above functions, the func() method can be used to create any generic SQL function such as year, date_format, convert, etc. For example:

$query = $articles->find();
$year = $query->func()->year([
    'created' => 'identifier'
]);
$time = $query->func()->date_format([
    'created' => 'identifier',
    "'%H:%i'" => 'literal'
]);
$query->select([
    'yearCreated' => $year,
    'timeCreated' => $time
]);

Would result in:

SELECT YEAR(created) as yearCreated, DATE_FORMAT(created, '%H:%i') as timeCreated FROM articles;

You should remember to use the function builder whenever you need to put untrusted data into SQL functions or stored procedures:

// Use a stored procedure
$query = $articles->find();
$lev = $query->func()->levenshtein([$search, 'LOWER(title)' => 'literal']);
$query->where(function ($exp) use ($lev) {
    return $exp->between($lev, 0, $tolerance);
});

// Generated SQL would be
WHERE levenshtein(:c0, lower(street)) BETWEEN :c1 AND :c2

Aggregates - Group and Having

When using aggregate functions like count and sum you may want to use group by and having clauses:

$query = $articles->find();
$query->select([
    'count' => $query->func()->count('view_count'),
    'published_date' => 'DATE(created)'
])
->group('published_date')
->having(['count >' => 3]);

Case statements

The ORM also offers the SQL case expression. The case expression allows for implementing if ... then ... else logic inside your SQL. This can be useful for reporting on data where you need to conditionally sum or count data, or where you need to specific data based on a condition.

If we wished to know how many published articles are in our database, we’d need to generate the following SQL:

SELECT
SUM(CASE published = 'Y' THEN 1 ELSE 0) AS number_published,
SUM(CASE published = 'N' THEN 1 ELSE 0) AS number_unpublished
FROM articles GROUP BY published

To do this with the query builder, we’d use the following code:

$query = $articles->find();
$publishedCase = $query->newExpr()
    ->addCase(
        $query->newExpr()->add(['published' => 'Y']),
        1,
        'integer'
    );
$notPublishedCase = $query->newExpr()
    ->addCase(
        $query->newExpr()->add(['published' => 'N']),
        1,
        'integer'
    );

$query->select([
    'number_published' => $query->func()->sum($publishedCase),
    'number_unpublished' => $query->func()->sum($unpublishedCase)
])
->group('published');

The addCase function can also chain together multiple statements to create if .. then .. [elseif .. then .. ] [ .. else ] logic inside your SQL.

If we wanted to classify cities into SMALL, MEDIUM, or LARGE based on population size, we could do the following:

$query = $cities->find()
    ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
        return $exp->addCase(
            [
                $q->newExpr()->lt('population', 100000),
                $q->newExpr()->between('population', 100000, 999000),
                $q->newExpr()->gte('population', 999001),
            ],
            ['SMALL',  'MEDIUM', 'LARGE'], # values matching conditions
            ['string', 'string', 'string'] # type of each value
        );
    });
# WHERE CASE
#   WHEN population < 100000 THEN 'SMALL'
#   WHEN population BETWEEN 100000 AND 999000 THEN 'MEDIUM'
#   WHEN population >= 999001 THEN 'LARGE'
#   END

Any time there are fewer case conditions than values, addCase will automatically produce an if .. then .. else statement:

$query = $cities->find()
    ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
        return $exp->addCase(
            [
                $q->newExpr()->eq('population', 0),
            ],
            ['DESERTED', 'INHABITED'], # values matching conditions
            ['string', 'string'] # type of each value
        );
    });
# WHERE CASE
#   WHEN population = 0 THEN 'DESERTED' ELSE 'INHABITED' END

Getting Arrays Instead of Entities

While ORMs and object result sets are powerful, creating entities is sometimes unnecessary. For example, when accessing aggregated data, building an Entity may not make sense. The process of converting the database results to entities is called hydration. If you wish to disable this process you can do this:

$query = $articles->find();
$query->hydrate(false); // Results as arrays intead of entities
$result = $query->toList(); // Execute the query and return the array

After executing those lines, your result should look similar to this:

[
    ['id' => 1, 'title' => 'First Article', 'body' => 'Article 1 body' ...],
    ['id' => 2, 'title' => 'Second Article', 'body' => 'Article 2 body' ...],
    ...
]

Adding Calculated Fields

After your queries, you may need to do some post-processing. If you need to add a few calculated fields or derived data, you can use the formatResults() method. This is a lightweight way to map over the result sets. If you need more control over the process, or want to reduce results you should use the Map/Reduce feature instead. If you were querying a list of people, you could calculate their age with a result formatter:

// Assuming we have built the fields, conditions and containments.
$query->formatResults(function (\Cake\Datasource\ResultSetInterface $results) {
    return $results->map(function ($row) {
        $row['age'] = $row['birth_date']->diff(new \DateTime)->y;
        return $row;
    });
});

As you can see in the example above, formatting callbacks will get a ResultSetDecorator as their first argument. The second argument will be the Query instance the formatter was attached to. The $results argument can be traversed and modified as necessary.

Result formatters are required to return an iterator object, which will be used as the return value for the query. Formatter functions are applied after all the Map/Reduce routines have been executed. Result formatters can be applied from within contained associations as well. CakePHP will ensure that your formatters are properly scoped. For example, doing the following would work as you may expect:

// In a method in the Articles table
$query->contain(['Authors' => function ($q) {
    return $q->formatResults(function ($authors) {
        return $authors->map(function ($author) {
            $author['age'] = $author['birth_date']->diff(new \DateTime)->y;
            return $author;
        });
    });
});

// Get results
$results = $query->all();

// Outputs 29
echo $results->first()->author->age;

As seen above, the formatters attached to associated query builders are scoped to operate only on the data in the association. CakePHP will ensure that computed values are inserted into the correct entity.

Advanced Conditions

The query builder makes it simple to build complex where clauses. Grouped conditions can be expressed by providing combining where(), andWhere() and orWhere(). The where() method works similar to the conditions arrays in previous versions of CakePHP:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where([
        'author_id' => 3,
        'OR' => [['view_count' => 2], ['view_count' => 3]],
    ]);

The above would generate SQL like:

SELECT * FROM articles WHERE author_id = 3 AND (view_count = 2 OR view_count = 3)

If you’d prefer to avoid deeply nested arrays, you can use the orWhere() and andWhere() methods to build your queries. Each method sets the combining operator used between the current and previous condition. For example:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(['author_id' => 2])
    ->orWhere(['author_id' => 3]);

The above will output SQL similar to:

SELECT * FROM articles WHERE (author_id = 2 OR author_id = 3)

By combining orWhere() and andWhere(), you can express complex conditions that use a mixture of operators:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(['author_id' => 2])
    ->orWhere(['author_id' => 3])
    ->andWhere([
        'published' => true,
        'view_count >' => 10
    ])
    ->orWhere(['promoted' => true]);

The above generates SQL similar to:

SELECT *
FROM articles
WHERE (promoted = true
OR (
  (published = true AND view_count > 10)
  AND (author_id = 2 OR author_id = 3)
))

By using functions as the parameters to orWhere() and andWhere(), you can compose conditions together with the expression objects:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(['title LIKE' => '%First%'])
    ->andWhere(function ($exp) {
        return $exp->or_([
            'author_id' => 2,
            'is_highlighted' => true
        ]);
    });

The above would create SQL like:

SELECT *
FROM articles
WHERE ((author_id = 2 OR is_highlighted = 1)
AND title LIKE '%First%')

The expression object that is passed into where() functions has two kinds of methods. The first type of methods are combinators. The and_() and or_() methods create new expression objects that change how conditions are combined. The second type of methods are conditions. Conditions are added into an expression where they are combined with the current combinator.

For example, calling $exp->and_(...) will create a new Expression object that combines all conditions it contains with AND. While $exp->or_() will create a new Expression object that combines all conditions added to it with OR. An example of adding conditions with an Expression object would be:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(function ($exp) {
        return $exp
            ->eq('author_id', 2)
            ->eq('published', true)
            ->notEq('spam', true)
            ->gt('view_count', 10);
    });

Since we started off using where(), we don’t need to call and_(), as that happens implicitly. Much like how we would not need to call or_(), had we started our query with orWhere(). The above shows a few new condition methods being combined with AND. The resulting SQL would look like:

SELECT *
FROM articles
WHERE (
author_id = 2
AND published = 1
AND spam != 1
AND view_count > 10)

However, if we wanted to use both AND & OR conditions we could do the following:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(function ($exp) {
        $orConditions = $exp->or_(['author_id' => 2])
            ->eq('author_id', 5);
        return $exp
            ->add($orConditions)
            ->eq('published', true)
            ->gte('view_count', 10);
    });

Which would generate the SQL similar to:

SELECT *
FROM articles
WHERE (
(author_id = 2 OR author_id = 5)
AND published = 1
AND view_count >= 10)

The or_() and and_() methods also allow you to use functions as their parameters. This is often easier to read than method chaining:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(function ($exp) {
        $orConditions = $exp->or_(function ($or) {
            return $or->eq('author_id', 2)
                ->eq('author_id', 5);
        });
        return $exp
            ->not($orConditions)
            ->lte('view_count', 10);
    });

You can negate sub-expressions using not():

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(function ($exp) {
        $orConditions = $exp->or_(['author_id' => 2])
            ->eq('author_id', 5);
        return $exp
            ->not($orConditions)
            ->lte('view_count', 10);
    });

Which will generate the following SQL looking like:

SELECT *
FROM articles
WHERE (
NOT (author_id = 2 OR author_id = 5)
AND view_count <= 10)

It is also possible to build expressions using SQL functions:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
        $year = $q->func()->year([
            'created' => 'identifier'
        ]);
        return $exp
            ->gte($year, 2014)
            ->eq('published', true);
    });

Which will generate the following SQL looking like:

SELECT *
FROM articles
WHERE (
YEAR(created) >= 2014
AND published = 1
)

When using the expression objects you can use the following methods to create conditions:

  • eq() Creates an equality condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->eq('population', '10000');
        });
    # WHERE population = 10000
    
  • notEq() Creates an inequality condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->notEq('population', '10000');
        });
    # WHERE population != 10000
    
  • like() Creates a condition using the LIKE operator:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->like('name', '%A%');
        });
    # WHERE name LIKE "%A%"
    
  • notLike() Creates a negated LIKE condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->notLike('name', '%A%');
        });
    # WHERE name NOT LIKE "%A%"
    
  • in() Create a condition using IN:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->in('country_id', ['AFG', 'USA', 'EST']);
        });
    # WHERE country_id IN ('AFG', 'USA', 'EST')
    
  • notIn() Create a negated condition using IN:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->notIn('country_id', ['AFG', 'USA', 'EST']);
        });
    # WHERE country_id NOT IN ('AFG', 'USA', 'EST')
    
  • gt() Create a > condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->gt('population', '10000');
        });
    # WHERE population > 10000
    
  • gte() Create a >= condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->gte('population', '10000');
        });
    # WHERE population >= 10000
    
  • lt() Create a < condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->lt('population', '10000');
        });
    # WHERE population < 10000
    
  • lte() Create a <= condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->lte('population', '10000');
        });
    # WHERE population <= 10000
    
  • isNull() Create an IS NULL condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->isNull('population');
        });
    # WHERE (population) IS NULL
    
  • isNotNull() Create a negated IS NULL condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->isNotNull('population');
        });
    # WHERE (population) IS NOT NULL
    
  • between() Create a BETWEEN condition:

    $query = $cities->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->between('population', 999, 5000000);
        });
    # WHERE population BETWEEN 999 AND 5000000,
    
  • exists() Create a condition using EXISTS:

    $subquery = $cities->find()
        ->select(['id'])
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->equalFields('countries.id', 'cities.country_id');
        })
        ->andWhere(['population >', 5000000]);
    
    $query = $countries->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) use ($subquery) {
            return $exp->exists($subquery);
        });
    # WHERE EXISTS (SELECT id FROM cities WHERE countries.id = cities.country_id AND population > 5000000)
    
  • notExists() Create a negated condition using EXISTS:

    $subquery = $cities->find()
        ->select(['id'])
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) {
            return $exp->equalFields('countries.id', 'cities.country_id');
        })
        ->andWhere(['population >', 5000000]);
    
    $query = $countries->find()
        ->where(function ($exp, $q) use ($subquery) {
            return $exp->notExists($subquery);
        });
    # WHERE NOT EXISTS (SELECT id FROM cities WHERE countries.id = cities.country_id AND population > 5000000)
    

In situations when you can’t get, or don’t want to use the builder methods to create the conditions you want you can also use snippets of SQL in where clauses:

// Compare two fields to each other
$query->where(['Categories.parent_id != Parents.id']);

Warning

The field names used in expressions, and SQL snippets should never contain untrusted content. See the Using SQL Functions section for how to safely include unsafe data into function calls.

Automatically Creating IN Clauses

When building queries using the ORM, you will generally not have to indicate the data types of the columns you are interacting with, as CakePHP can infer the types based on the schema data. If in your queries you’d like CakePHP to automatically convert equality to IN comparisons, you’ll need to indicate the column data type:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(['id' => $ids], ['id' => 'integer[]']);

// Or include IN to automatically cast to an array.
$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(['id IN' => $ids]);

The above will automatically create id IN (...) instead of id = ?. This can be useful when you do not know whether you will get a scalar or array of parameters. The [] suffix on any data type name indicates to the query builder that you want the data handled as an array. If the data is not an array, it will first be cast to an array. After that, each value in the array will be cast using the type system. This works with complex types as well. For example, you could take a list of DateTime objects using:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(['post_date' => $dates], ['post_date' => 'date[]']);

Automatic IS NULL Creation

When a condition value is expected to be null or any other value, you can use the IS operator to automatically create the correct expression:

$query = $categories->find()
    ->where(['parent_id IS' => $parentId]);

The above will create parent_id` = :c1 or parent_id IS NULL depending on the type of $parentId

Automatic IS NOT NULL Creation

When a condition value is expected not to be null or any other value, you can use the IS NOT operator to automatically create the correct expression:

$query = $categories->find()
    ->where(['parent_id IS NOT' => $parentId]);

The above will create parent_id` != :c1 or parent_id IS NOT NULL depending on the type of $parentId

Raw Expressions

When you cannot construct the SQL you need using the query builder, you can use expression objects to add snippets of SQL to your queries:

$query = $articles->find();
$expr = $query->newExpr()->add('1 + 1');
$query->select(['two' => $expr]);

Expression objects can be used with any query builder methods like where(), limit(), group(), select() and many other methods.

Warning

Using expression objects leaves you vulnerable to SQL injection. You should avoid interpolating user data into expressions.

Getting Results

Once you’ve made your query, you’ll want to retrieve rows from it. There are a few ways of doing this:

// Iterate the query
foreach ($query as $row) {
    // Do stuff.
}

// Get the results
$results = $query->all();

You can use any of the collection methods on your query objects to pre-process or transform the results:

// Use one of the collection methods.
$ids = $query->map(function ($row) {
    return $row->id;
});

$maxAge = $query->max(function ($row) {
    return $max->age;
});

You can use first or firstOrFail to retrieve a single record. These methods will alter the query adding a LIMIT 1 clause:

// Get just the first row
$row = $query->first();

// Get the first row or an exception.
$row = $query->firstOrFail();

Returning the Total Count of Records

Using a single query object, it is possible to obtain the total number of rows found for a set of conditions:

$total = $articles->find()->where(['is_active' => true])->count();

The count() method will ignore the limit, offset and page clauses, thus the following will return the same result:

$total = $articles->find()->where(['is_active' => true])->limit(10)->count();

This is useful when you need to know the total result set size in advance, without having to construct another Query object. Likewise, all result formatting and map-reduce routines are ignored when using the count() method.

Moreover, it is possible to return the total count for a query containing group by clauses without having to rewrite the query in any way. For example, consider this query for retrieving article ids and their comments count:

$query = $articles->find();
$query->select(['Articles.id', $query->func()->count('Comments.id')])
    ->matching('Comments')
    ->group(['Articles.id']);
$total = $query->count();

After counting, the query can still be used for fetching the associated records:

$list = $query->all();

Sometimes, you may want to provide an alternate method for counting the total records of a query. One common use case for this is providing a cached value or an estimate of the total rows, or to alter the query to remove expensive unneeded parts such as left joins. This becomes particularly handy when using the CakePHP built-in pagination system which calls the count() method:

$query = $query->where(['is_active' => true])->counter(function ($query) {
    return 100000;
});
$query->count(); // Returns 100000

In the example above, when the pagination component calls the count method, it will receive the estimated hard-coded number of rows.

Caching Loaded Results

When fetching entities that don’t change often you may want to cache the results. The Query class makes this simple:

$query->cache('recent_articles');

Will enable caching on the query’s result set. If only one argument is provided to cache() then the ‘default’ cache configuration will be used. You can control which caching configuration is used with the second parameter:

// String config name.
$query->cache('recent_articles', 'dbResults');

// Instance of CacheEngine
$query->cache('recent_articles', $memcache);

In addition to supporting static keys, the cache() method accepts a function to generate the key. The function you give it will receive the query as an argument. You can then read aspects of the query to dynamically generate the cache key:

// Generate a key based on a simple checksum
// of the query's where clause
$query->cache(function ($q) {
    return 'articles-' . md5(serialize($q->clause('where')));
});

The cache method makes it simple to add cached results to your custom finders or through event listeners.

When the results for a cached query are fetched the following happens:

  1. The Model.beforeFind event is triggered.
  2. If the query has results set, those will be returned.
  3. The cache key will be resolved and cache data will be read. If the cache data is not empty, those results will be returned.
  4. If the cache misses, the query will be executed and a new ResultSet will be created. This ResultSet will be written to the cache and returned.

Note

You cannot cache a streaming query result.

Loading Associations

The builder can help you retrieve data from multiple tables at the same time with the minimum amount of queries possible. To be able to fetch associated data, you first need to setup associations between the tables as described in the Associations - Linking Tables Together section. This technique of combining queries to fetch associated data from other tables is called eager loading.

Eager loading helps avoid many of the potential performance problems surrounding lazy-loading in an ORM. The queries generated by eager loading can better leverage joins, allowing more efficient queries to be made. In CakePHP you define eager loaded associations using the ‘contain’ method:

// In a controller or table method.

// As an option to find()
$query = $articles->find('all', ['contain' => ['Authors', 'Comments']]);

// As a method on the query object
$query = $articles->find('all');
$query->contain(['Authors', 'Comments']);

The above will load the related author and comments for each article in the result set. You can load nested associations using nested arrays to define the associations to be loaded:

$query = $articles->find()->contain([
    'Authors' => ['Addresses'], 'Comments' => ['Authors']
]);

Alternatively, you can express nested associations using the dot notation:

$query = $articles->find()->contain([
    'Authors.Addresses',
    'Comments.Authors'
]);

You can eager load associations as deep as you like:

$query = $products->find()->contain([
    'Shops.Cities.Countries',
    'Shops.Managers'
]);

If you need to reset the containments on a query you can set the second argument to true:

$query = $articles->find();
$query->contain(['Authors', 'Comments'], true);

Passing Conditions to Contain

When using contain() you are able to restrict the data returned by the associations and filter them by conditions:

// In a controller or table method.

$query = $articles->find()->contain([
    'Comments' => function ($q) {
       return $q
            ->select(['body', 'author_id'])
            ->where(['Comments.approved' => true]);
    }
]);

This also works for pagination at the Controller level:

$this->paginate['contain'] = [
    'Comments' => function (\Cake\ORM\Query $query) {
        return $query->select(['body', 'author_id'])
        ->where(['Comments.approved' => true]);
    }
];

Note

When you limit the fields that are fetched from an association, you must ensure that the foreign key columns are selected. Failing to select foreign key fields will cause associated data to not be present in the final result.

It is also possible to restrict deeply-nested associations using the dot notation:

$query = $articles->find()->contain([
    'Comments',
    'Authors.Profiles' => function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['Profiles.is_published' => true]);
    }
]);

If you have defined some custom finder methods in your associated table, you can use them inside contain():

// Bring all articles, but only bring the comments that are approved and
// popular.
$query = $articles->find()->contain([
    'Comments' => function ($q) {
       return $q->find('approved')->find('popular');
    }
]);

Note

For BelongsTo and HasOne associations only the where and select clauses are used when loading the associated records. For the rest of the association types you can use every clause that the query object provides.

If you need full control over the query that is generated, you can tell contain() to not append the foreignKey constraints to the generated query. In that case you should use an array passing foreignKey and queryBuilder:

$query = $articles->find()->contain([
    'Authors' => [
        'foreignKey' => false,
        'queryBuilder' => function ($q) {
            return $q->where(...); // Full conditions for filtering
        }
    ]
]);

If you have limited the fields you are loading with select() but also want to load fields off of contained associations, you can pass the association object to select():

// Select id & title from articles, but all fields off of Users.
$query = $articles->find()
    ->select(['id', 'title'])
    ->select($articlesTable->Users)
    ->contain(['Users']);

Alternatively, if you have multiple associations, you can use autoFields():

// Select id & title from articles, but all fields off of Users, Comments
// and Tags.
$query->select(['id', 'title'])
    ->contain(['Comments', 'Tags'])
    ->autoFields(true)
    ->contain(['Users' => function($q) {
        return $q->autoFields(true);
    }]);

New in version 3.1: Selecting columns via an association object was added in 3.1

Sorting Contained Associations

When loading HasMany and BelongsToMany associations, you can use the sort option to sort the data in those associations:

$query->contain([
    'Comments' => [
        'sort' => ['Comment.created' => 'DESC']
    ]
]);

Filtering by Associated Data

A fairly common query case with associations is finding records ‘matching’ specific associated data. For example if you have ‘Articles belongsToMany Tags’ you will probably want to find Articles that have the CakePHP tag. This is extremely simple to do with the ORM in CakePHP:

// In a controller or table method.

$query = $articles->find();
$query->matching('Tags', function ($q) {
    return $q->where(['Tags.name' => 'CakePHP']);
});

You can apply this strategy to HasMany associations as well. For example if ‘Authors HasMany Articles’, you could find all the authors with recently published articles using the following:

$query = $authors->find();
$query->matching('Articles', function ($q) {
    return $q->where(['Articles.created >=' => new DateTime('-10 days')]);
});

Filtering by deep associations is surprisingly easy, and the syntax should be already familiar to you:

// In a controller or table method.
$query = $products->find()->matching(
    'Shops.Cities.Countries', function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['Countries.name' => 'Japan']);
    }
);

// Bring unique articles that were commented by 'markstory' using passed variable
// Dotted matching paths should be used over nested matching() calls
$username = 'markstory';
$query = $articles->find()->matching('Comments.Users', function ($q) use ($username) {
    return $q->where(['username' => $username]);
});

Note

As this function will create an INNER JOIN, you might want to consider calling distinct on the find query as you might get duplicate rows if your conditions don’t exclude them already. This might be the case, for example, when the same users comments more than once on a single article.

The data from the association that is ‘matched’ will be available on the _matchingData property of entities. If you both match and contain the same association, you can expect to get both the _matchingData and standard association properties in your results.

Using innerJoinWith

Using the matching() function, as we saw already, will create an INNER JOIN with the specified association and will also load the fields into the result set.

There may be cases where you want to use matching() but are not interested in loading the fields into the result set. For this purpose, you can use innerJoinWith():

$query = $articles->find();
$query->innerJoinWith('Tags', function ($q) {
    return $q->where(['Tags.name' => 'CakePHP']);
});

The innerJoinWith() method works the same as matching(), that means that you can use dot notation to join deeply nested associations:

$query = $products->find()->innerJoinWith(
    'Shops.Cities.Countries', function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['Countries.name' => 'Japan']);
    }
);

Again, the only difference is that no additional columns will be added to the result set, and no _matchingData property will be set.

New in version 3.1: Query::innerJoinWith() was added in 3.1

Using notMatching

The opposite of matching() is notMatching(). This function will change the query so that it filters results that have no relation to the specified association:

// In a controller or table method.

$query = $articlesTable
    ->find()
    ->notMatching('Tags', function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['Tags.name' => 'boring']);
    });

The above example will find all articles that were not tagged with the word boring. You can apply this method to HasMany associations as well. You could, for example, find all the authors with no published articles in the last 10 days:

$query = $authorsTable
    ->find()
    ->notMatching('Articles', function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['Articles.created >=' => new \DateTime('-10 days')]);
    });

It is also possible to use this method for filtering out records not matching deep associations. For example, you could find articles that have not been commented on by a certain user:

$query = $articlesTable
    ->find()
    ->notMatching('Comments.Users', function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['username' => 'jose']);
    });

Since articles with no comments at all also satisfy the condition above, you may want to combine matching() and notMatching() in the same query. The following example will find articles having at least one comment, but not commented by a certain user:

$query = $articlesTable
    ->find()
    ->notMatching('Comments.Users', function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['username' => 'jose']);
    })
    ->matching('Comments');

Note

As notMatching() will create a LEFT JOIN, you might want to consider calling distinct on the find query as you can get duplicate rows otherwise.

Keep in mind that contrary to the matching() function, notMatching() will not add any data to the _matchingData property in the results.

New in version 3.1: Query::notMatching() was added in 3.1

Using leftJoinWith

On certain occasions you may want to calculate a result based on an association, without having to load all the records for it. For example, if you wanted to load the total number of comments an article has along with all the article data, you can use the leftJoinWith() function:

$query = $articlesTable->find();
$query->select(['total_comments' => $query->func()->count('Comments.id')])
    ->leftJoinWith('Comments')
    ->group(['Articles.id'])
    ->autoFields(true);

The results for the above query will contain the article data and the total_comments property for each of them.

leftJoinWith() can also be used with deeply nested associations. This is useful, for example, for bringing the count of articles tagged with a certain word, per author:

$query = $authorsTable
    ->find()
    ->select(['total_articles' => $query->func()->count('Articles.id')])
    ->leftJoinWith('Articles.Tags', function ($q) {
        return $q->where(['Tags.name' => 'awesome']);
    })
    ->group(['Authors.id'])
    ->autoFields(true);

This function will not load any columns from the specified associations into the result set.

New in version 3.1: Query::leftJoinWith() was added in 3.1

Adding Joins

In addition to loading related data with contain(), you can also add additional joins with the query builder:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->hydrate(false)
    ->join([
        'table' => 'comments',
        'alias' => 'c',
        'type' => 'LEFT',
        'conditions' => 'c.article_id = articles.id',
    ]);

You can append multiple joins at the same time by passing an associative array with multiple joins:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->hydrate(false)
    ->join([
        'c' => [
            'table' => 'comments',
            'type' => 'LEFT',
            'conditions' => 'c.article_id = articles.id',
        ],
        'u' => [
            'table' => 'users',
            'type' => 'INNER',
            'conditions' => 'u.id = articles.user_id',
        ]
    ]);

As seen above, when adding joins the alias can be the outer array key. Join conditions can also be expressed as an array of conditions:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->hydrate(false)
    ->join([
        'c' => [
            'table' => 'comments',
            'type' => 'LEFT',
            'conditions' => [
                'c.created >' => new DateTime('-5 days'),
                'c.moderated' => true,
                'c.article_id = articles.id'
            ]
        ],
    ], ['c.created' => 'datetime', 'c.moderated' => 'boolean']);

When creating joins by hand and using array based conditions, you need to provide the datatypes for each column in the join conditions. By providing datatypes for the join conditions, the ORM can correctly convert data types into SQL. In addition to join() you can use rightJoin(), leftJoin() and innerJoin() to create joins:

// Join with an alias and string conditions
$query = $articles->find();
$query->leftJoin(
    ['Authors' => 'authors'],
    ['Authors.id = Articles.author_id']);

// Join with an alias, array conditions, and types
$query = $articles->find();
$query->innerJoin(
    ['Authors' => 'authors'],
    [
    'Authors.promoted' => true,
    'Authors.created' => new DateTime('-5 days'),
    'Authors.id = Articles.author_id'
    ],
    ['Authors.promoted' => 'boolean', 'Authors.created' => 'datetime']);

It should be noted that if you set the quoteIdentifiers option to true when defining your Connection, join conditions between table fields should be set as follow:

$query = $articles->find()
    ->join([
        'c' => [
            'table' => 'comments',
            'type' => 'LEFT',
            'conditions' => [
                'c.article_id' => new \Cake\Database\Expression\IdentifierExpression('articles.id')
            ]
        ],
    ]);

This ensures that all of your identifiers will be quoted across the Query, avoiding errors with some database Drivers (PostgreSQL notably)

Inserting Data

Unlike earlier examples, you should not use find() to create insert queries. Instead, create a new Query object using query():

$query = $articles->query();
$query->insert(['title', 'body'])
    ->values([
        'title' => 'First post',
        'body' => 'Some body text'
    ])
    ->execute();

Generally, it is easier to insert data using entities and ORM\Table::save(). By composing a SELECT and INSERT query together, you can create INSERT INTO ... SELECT style queries:

$select = $articles->find()
    ->select(['title', 'body', 'published'])
    ->where(['id' => 3]);

$query = $articles->query()
    ->insert(['title', 'body', 'published'])
    ->values($select)
    ->execute();

Note

Inserting records with the query builder will not trigger events such as Model.afterSave. Instead you should use the ORM to save data.

Updating Data

As with insert queries, you should not use find() to create update queries. Instead, create new a Query object using query():

$query = $articles->query();
$query->update()
    ->set(['published' => true])
    ->where(['id' => $id])
    ->execute();

Generally, it is easier to update data using entities and ORM\Table::patchEntity().

Note

Updating records with the query builder will not trigger events such as Model.afterSave. Instead you should use the ORM to save data.

Deleting Data

As with insert queries, you should not use find() to create delete queries. Instead, create new a query object using query():

$query = $articles->query();
$query->delete()
    ->where(['id' => $id])
    ->execute();

Generally, it is easier to delete data using entities and ORM\Table::delete().

SQL Injection Prevention

While the ORM and database abstraction layers prevent most SQL injections issues, it is still possible to leave yourself vulnerable through improper use. When using the expression builder, column names must not contain user data:

$query->where(function ($exp) use ($userData, $values) {
    // Column names in all expressions are not safe.
    return $exp->in($userData, $values);
});

When building function expressions, function names should never contain user data:

// Not safe.
$query->func()->{$userData}($arg1);

// Also not safe to use an array of
// user data in a function expression
$query->func()->coalesce($userData);

Raw expressions are never safe:

$expr = $query->newExpr()->add($userData);
$query->select(['two' => $expr]);

More Complex Queries

The query builder is capable of building complex queries like UNION queries and sub-queries.

Unions

Unions are created by composing one or more select queries together:

$inReview = $articles->find()
    ->where(['need_review' => true]);

$unpublished = $articles->find()
    ->where(['published' => false]);

$unpublished->union($inReview);

You can create UNION ALL queries using the unionAll() method:

$inReview = $articles->find()
    ->where(['need_review' => true]);

$unpublished = $articles->find()
    ->where(['published' => false]);

$unpublished->unionAll($inReview);

Subqueries

Subqueries are a powerful feature in relational databases and building them in CakePHP is fairly intuitive. By composing queries together, you can make subqueries:

$matchingComment = $articles->association('Comments')->find()
    ->select(['article_id'])
    ->distinct()
    ->where(['comment LIKE' => '%CakePHP%']);

$query = $articles->find()
    ->where(['id' => $matchingComment]);

Subqueries are accepted anywhere a query expression can be used. For example, in the select() and join() methods.

Adding Locking Statements

Most relational database vendors support taking out locks when doing select operations. You can use the epilog() method for this:

// In MySQL
$query->epilog('FOR UPDATE');

The epilog() method allows you to append raw SQL to the end of queries. You should never put raw user data into epilog().

Executing Complex Queries

While the query builder makes it easy to build most queries, very complex queries can be tedious and complicated to build. You may want to execute the desired SQL directly.

Executing SQL directly allows you to fine tune the query that will be run. However, doing so doesn’t let you use contain or other higher level ORM features.