CMS Tutorial - Creating our First Model

Models are the heart of CakePHP applications. They enable us to read and modify our data. They allow us to build relations between our data, validate data, and apply application rules. Models provide the foundation necessary to create our controller actions and templates.

CakePHP’s models are composed of Table and Entity objects. Table objects provide access to the collection of entities stored in a specific table. They are stored in src/Model/Table. The file we’ll be creating will be saved to src/Model/Table/ArticlesTable.php. The completed file should look like this:

// src/Model/Table/ArticlesTable.php

namespace App\Model\Table;

use Cake\ORM\Table;

class ArticlesTable extends Table
    public function initialize(array $config): void

We’ve attached the Timestamp behavior, which will automatically populate the created and modified columns of our table. By naming our Table object ArticlesTable, CakePHP can use naming conventions to know that our model uses the articles table. CakePHP also uses conventions to know that the id column is our table’s primary key.


CakePHP will dynamically create a model object for you if it cannot find a corresponding file in src/Model/Table. This also means that if you accidentally name your file wrong (i.e. articlestable.php or ArticleTable.php), CakePHP will not recognize any of your settings and will use the generated model instead.

We’ll also create an Entity class for our Articles. Entities represent a single record in the database and provide row-level behavior for our data. Our entity will be saved to src/Model/Entity/Article.php. The completed file should look like this:

// src/Model/Entity/Article.php

namespace App\Model\Entity;

use Cake\ORM\Entity;

class Article extends Entity
    protected array $_accessible = [
        'title' => true,
        'body' => true,
        'published' => true,
        'created' => true,
        'modified' => true,
        'users' => true,

Right now, our entity is quite slim; we’ve only set up the _accessible property, which controls how properties can be modified by Mass Assignment.


The ArticlesTable and Article Entity classes can be generated from a terminal:

bin/cake bake model articles

We can’t do much with this model yet. Next, we’ll create our first Controller and Template to allow us to interact with our model.