Skip to content
Finite state machine model behavior for CakePHP.
Find file
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.

CakePHP Finite State Machine Behavior

A basic finite state machine behavior for CakePHP 2.x. A version for CakePHP 1 can be found in the branch cakephp1.

Describe a model's states and the events that cause transitions between them, then trigger these events to change your model to a new state.


If you're using composer then just add the following to your require block.

    "burriko/cake-state-machine": "2.0.*@dev"

If you're not, then clone/copy the contents of this directory to app/Plugins/CakeStateMachine.


  1. Add the following line to your app/Config/bootstrap.php.

  2. In your model add:

    public $actsAs = array('CakeStateMachine.StateMachine');
  3. Create a new database table to store the states using the following schema, adjusting the table name and foreign key to match your model. For example, if you are adding states to a model name Placement you would use the following.

    CREATE TABLE `placement_states` (
      `id` int(11) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
      `placement_id` int(11) unsigned NOT NULL,
      `state` varchar(50) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
      `created` datetime NOT NULL,
      PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
  4. Add a new varchar field to your model's table called 'state'.

    ALTER TABLE `placements` ADD `state` VARCHAR(50);


  1. In your model describe the states and transitions you need like so.

    public $states = array('state' => array('event' => 'new_state'));

    Here's an example.

    public $states = array(
      'advertised' => array(
        'select_appropriate_applicants' => 'shortlisted',
        'no_appropriate_applicants' => 'unplaced'
      'shortlisted' => array(
        'select_for_interview' => 'interviews',
        'no_appropriate_applicants' => 'unplaced'
      'interviews' => array(
        'select_successful_candidate' => 'placed',
        'no_appropriate_applicants' => 'unplaced'
      'placed' => array(
        'placement_complete' => 'complete',
        'problem_with_placement' => 'unplaced'
      'unplaced' => array(
        'readvertise' => 'advertised'
  2. When a new record is created by that model it will be assigned the first state in the list as it's initial state.

  3. To transition to a new state call pass the name of an event to the transition() method.


    In this example if the Placement model was in the 'interviews' state it would transition to the 'placed' state.

  4. Every state change is recorded in the database. Every model that uses the StateMachine behavior will have an appropriate state model named ModelnameState. The model is related to this with a hasMany relationship. You can therefore use this model to look up state changes however you want.


    You can also find the current state of a model from the getCurrentState() method.

    // set model id if not already set
    $this->Placement->id = $placement_id;
    $this->Placement->getCurrentState(); // returns 'placed'


  • The current state of a record is also stored in the 'state' column of the model. This is to make it easier when querying the model by state.
  • A callback method is supported for state changes. This should be titled _onState(). For example, to run a method when the model changes to a state named 'placed' add the following method to your model.

    public function _onStatePlaced() {}
  • You can check whether a state is currently set by calling is<NameOfState>(). For example to check whether a Placement record is currently set to shortlisted call the following.

Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.