A very simple way to use AutoComplete with CakePHP (use jQuery-ui widgets). This plugin support auto-magic "remote source", so you don't lose time to write action in your controller for return a json result to widgets (DRY).
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CakePHP Jquery-ui autocomplete

A easy way for use auto-complete on CakePHP


  • jQuery
  • jQuery-ui


  • Go to your CakePHP app dir (app/)
  • Clone this repository:
    • normal mode
      git clone git@github.com:hiryu85/cakephp_jqueryui_autocomplete.git app/plugins/auto_complete
    • as submodule
      git submodule add git@github.com:hiryu85/cakephp_jqueryui_autocomplete.git app/plugins/auto_complete
  • Include AutoComplete helper into your controller with:
    • Append this helper into your controller (all actions can use it): var $helpers = array('AutoComplete.AutoComplete')
    • Append this helper into your action: (only current action load it): $this->helpers[] = 'AutoComplete.AutoComplete'
  • Use it with $this->AutoComplete('Model.field') into your view's (Model.field sintax is required)
  • Add into your views/layouts/default.ctp $this->Js->writeBuffer(array('onDomReady' => true))
  • All done :)

About security

This helper allows you to set the data source from where do auto from three different types: RemoteSource (default, and magic), a url to your action, a static source (an array). If you are using RemoteSource, and if you use the version v1 of this plugin can be unsafe (please update), because there is no special protection to limit the fields on which to make the autocomplete. This does not happen in version 2.

Every time this helper call input() or multiple() methods, it make a session for with field name for prevent hacking (with curl etc.). So, anyone can't get any private field of your model (with RemoteSources Controller) if the helper not allow autocomplete for this field.

If you use argument $AutoCompleteHelperSettings (of input and multiple methods) you can set a whitelist for append another fields to json result.

AutoComplete methods:

You can found FormHelperOptions at http://api.cakephp.org/class/form-helper and JQueryUiAutoCompleteOptions at http://jqueryui.com/demos/autocomplete/

  • input($modelNameAndField, $FormHelperOptions, $JQueryUiAutoCompleteOptions, $AutoCompleteHelperSettings)

Render an input element with auto-complete. <?php echo $this->Form->create('Event'). $this->AutoComplete->input( 'Event.city', array( 'placeholder' => 'Rome' ), array('delay' => 600) ). $this->Form->input('Event.date'). $this->Form->end(__('Search event')) ?>

  • multiple($modelNameAndField, $FormHelperOptions, $JQueryUiAutoCompleteOptions, $AutoCompleteHelperSettings)

Render an input element with multiple auto-complete.

 `<?php echo
      $this->AutoComplete->multiple('Event.city', array('placeholder' => 'Rome'), array('delay' => 600)).
      $this->Form->end(__('Search event'))    


AutoCompleteHelper options

Please, read about this configuration at jquery-ui homepage


  • integer $delay default=300
  • boolean $disabled default=false
  • mixed $source default="/auto_complete/RemoteSources/get" this is an magic url
  • integer $minLength default=4


  • search()
  • focus()
  • select(event, ui)

How override default AutoComplete default options?

You can give to AutoComplete helper method a custom options (and events callback) with:

 echo $this->AutoComplete->input(
      array(), /* FormHelper options */
       /* JqueryUiAutoComplete options */
           'delay' => 600,
           'minLength' => 4,

          /* And now, override Events callback */
         'select' => "function() { somethingElse();  }",
       /* AutoCompleteHelper settings */
            'fields' => 'cap,state,uuid'    // Append some extra fields to json result

Change source of auto-complete

source value can be:

  • a URL resource /mycontroller/myaction/
  • an array (static datasource) array('Foo', 'Bar')
  • a javascript callback myCallback() Not tested

For change the source you can give to autocomplete helper the "source" key:

$this->AutoComplete->input('Model.field', array(), array('source' => array('Foo', 'Bar') ))  
$this->AutoComplete->input('Model.field', array(), array('source' => '/mycontroller/myspecialaction/'))
$this->AutoComplete->input('Model.field', array(), array('source' => 'myCallback()'))