Pagination

One of the main obstacles of creating flexible and user-friendly web applications is designing an intuitive user interface. Many applications tend to grow in size and complexity quickly, and designers and programmers alike find they are unable to cope with displaying hundreds or thousands of records. Refactoring takes time, and performance and user satisfaction can suffer.

Displaying a reasonable number of records per page has always been a critical part of every application and used to cause many headaches for developers. CakePHP eases the burden on the developer by providing a terse way to paginate data.

Pagination in CakePHP controllers is done through the paginate() method. You then use PaginatorHelper in your view templates to generate pagination controls.

Basic Usage

You can call paginate() using an ORM table instance or Query object:

public function index()
{
    // Paginate the ORM table.
    $this->set('articles', $this->paginate($this->Articles));

    // Paginate a select query
    $query = $this->Articles->find('published')->contain('Comments');
    $this->set('articles', $this->paginate($query));
}

Advanced Usage

More complex use cases are supported by configuring the $paginate controller property or as the $settings argument to paginate(). These conditions serve as the basis for you pagination queries. They are augmented by the sort, direction, limit, and page parameters passed in from the URL:

class ArticlesController extends AppController
{
    protected array $paginate = [
        'limit' => 25,
        'order' => [
            'Articles.title' => 'asc',
        ],
    ];
}

Tip

Default order options must be defined as an array.

You can also use Custom Finder Methods in pagination by using the finder option:

class ArticlesController extends AppController
{
    protected array $paginate = [
        'finder' => 'published',
    ];
}

If your finder method requires additional options you can pass those as values for the finder:

class ArticlesController extends AppController
{
    // find articles by tag
    public function tags()
    {
        $tags = $this->request->getParam('pass');

        $customFinderOptions = [
            'tags' => $tags
        ];
        // We're using the $settings argument to paginate() here.
        // But the same structure could be used in $this->paginate
        //
        // Our custom finder is called findTagged inside ArticlesTable.php
        // which is why we're using `tagged` as the key.
        // Our finder should look like:
        // public function findTagged(Query $query, array $tagged = [])
        $settings = [
            'finder' => [
                'tagged' => $customFinderOptions
            ]
        ];
        $articles = $this->paginate($this->Articles, $settings);
        $this->set(compact('articles', 'tags'));
    }
}

In addition to defining general pagination values, you can define more than one set of pagination defaults in the controller. The name of each model can be used as a key in the $paginate property:

class ArticlesController extends AppController
{
    protected array $paginate = [
        'Articles' => [],
        'Authors' => [],
    ];
}

The values of the Articles and Authors keys could contain all the keys that a basic $paginate array would.

Controller::paginate() returns an instance of Cake\Datasource\Paging\PaginatedResultSet which implements the Cake\Datasource\Paging\PaginatedInterface.

This object contains the paginated records and the paging params.

Simple Pagination

By default Controller::paginate() uses the Cake\Datasource\Paging\NumericPaginator class which does a COUNT() query to calculate the size of the result set so that page number links can be rendered. On very large datasets this count query can be very expensive. In situations where you only want to show ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ links you can use the ‘simple’ paginator which does not do a count query:

class ArticlesController extends AppController
{
    protected array $paginate = [
        'className' => 'Simple', // Or use Cake\Datasource\Paging\SimplePaginator::class FQCN
    ];
}

When using the SimplePaginator you will not be able to generate page numbers, counter data, links to the last page, or total record count controls.

Paginating Multiple Queries

You can paginate multiple models in a single controller action, using the scope option both in the controller’s $paginate property and in the call to the paginate() method:

// Paginate property
protected array $paginate = [
    'Articles' => ['scope' => 'article'],
    'Tags' => ['scope' => 'tag']
];

// In a controller action
$articles = $this->paginate($this->Articles, ['scope' => 'article']);
$tags = $this->paginate($this->Tags, ['scope' => 'tag']);
$this->set(compact('articles', 'tags'));

The scope option will result in the paginator looking in scoped query string parameters. For example, the following URL could be used to paginate both tags and articles at the same time:

/dashboard?article[page]=1&tag[page]=3

See the Paginating Multiple Results section for how to generate scoped HTML elements and URLs for pagination.

Paginating the Same Model multiple Times

To paginate the same model multiple times within a single controller action you need to define an alias for the model.:

// In a controller action
$this->paginate = [
    'Articles' => [
        'scope' => 'published_articles',
        'limit' => 10,
        'order' => [
            'id' => 'desc',
        ],
    ],
    'UnpublishedArticles' => [
        'scope' => 'unpublished_articles',
        'limit' => 10,
        'order' => [
            'id' => 'desc',
        ],
    ],
];

$publishedArticles = $this->paginate(
    $this->Articles->find('all', scope: 'published_articles')
        ->where(['published' => true])
);

// Load an additional table object to allow differentiating in the paginator
$unpublishedArticlesTable = $this->fetchTable('UnpublishedArticles', [
    'className' => 'App\Model\Table\ArticlesTable',
    'table' => 'articles',
    'entityClass' => 'App\Model\Entity\Article',
]);

$unpublishedArticles = $this->paginate(
    $unpublishedArticlesTable->find('all', scope: 'unpublished_articles')
        ->where(['published' => false])
);

Control which Fields Used for Ordering

By default sorting can be done on any non-virtual column a table has. This is sometimes undesirable as it allows users to sort on un-indexed columns that can be expensive to order by. You can set the allowed list of fields that can be sorted using the sortableFields option. This option is required when you want to sort on any associated data, or computed fields that may be part of your pagination query:

protected array $paginate = [
    'sortableFields' => [
        'id', 'title', 'Users.username', 'created',
    ],
];

Any requests that attempt to sort on fields not in the allowed list will be ignored.

Limit the Maximum Number of Rows per Page

The number of results that are fetched per page is exposed to the user as the limit parameter. It is generally undesirable to allow users to fetch all rows in a paginated set. The maxLimit option asserts that no one can set this limit too high from the outside. By default CakePHP limits the maximum number of rows that can be fetched to 100. If this default is not appropriate for your application, you can adjust it as part of the pagination options, for example reducing it to 10:

protected array $paginate = [
    // Other keys here.
    'maxLimit' => 10
];

If the request’s limit param is greater than this value, it will be reduced to the maxLimit value.

Out of Range Page Requests

Controller::paginate() will throw a NotFoundException when trying to access a non-existent page, i.e. page number requested is greater than total page count.

So you could either let the normal error page be rendered or use a try catch block and take appropriate action when a NotFoundException is caught:

use Cake\Http\Exception\NotFoundException;

public function index()
{
    try {
        $this->paginate();
    } catch (NotFoundException $e) {
        // Do something here like redirecting to first or last page.
        // $e->getPrevious()->getAttributes('pagingParams') will give you required info.
    }
}

Using a paginator class directly

You can also use a paginator directly.:

// Create a paginator
$paginator = new \Cake\Datasource\Paginator\Paginator();

// Paginate the model
$results = $paginator->paginate(
    // Query or table instance which you need to paginate
    $this->fetchTable('Articles'),
    // Request params
    $this->request->getQueryParams(),
    // Config array having the same structure as options as Controller::$paginate
    [
        'finder' => 'latest',
    ]
);

Pagination in the View

Check the PaginatorHelper documentation for how to create links for pagination navigation.