ExpressionEngine Docs

Fetching Models

Basic Usage

Use the get() method with a model name to begin a query:

$builder = ee('Model')->get('Template');

This will return a builder object, which we will use narrow down the selection. When you’re ready to retrieve the matching data, call all(). You will be returned a Collection:

$templates = $builder->all();

Usually these calls are chained for brevity:

$templates = ee('Model')->get('Template')->all();

Note: Please see Collection for list of methods to operate returned data.


You can filter your selection by individual model properties using the filter() method. It expects a property name, an operator, and a value:

->filter('template_name', '!=', 'index')

The operator is optional and will default to == if not given:

->filter('template_name', 'index')
// same as:
->filter('template_name', '==', 'index')

By default, filters will be chained as AND conditions. An OR filter can be applied by using the orFilter() method:

->filter('username' 'bob')
->orFilter('role_id', 1)

For more complex calls, filters can be grouped by using the filterGroup(), orFilterGroup(), and endFilterGroup() methods:

// filter members who have less than 10 entries AND either have a primary role_id of 1 OR 2.
->filter('total_entries', '<', '10')
    ->filter('role_id', '1')
    ->orFilter('role_id', '2')

Available filters

Operator Constraint Example
== Equal filter(‘id’, ‘==’, 5)
!= Not equal filter(‘id’, ‘!=’, 5)
< Less than filter(‘id’, ‘<’ 5)
> Greater than filter(‘id’, ‘>’, 5)
<= Less than or equals filter(‘id’, ‘<=’, 5)
>= Greater than or equals filter(‘id’, ‘>=’, 5)
IN In list of options filter(‘id’, ‘IN’, array(5, 8))
NOT IN Not in list of options filter(‘id’, ‘NOT IN’, array(5, 8))
LIKE Matches wildcard string filter(‘title’, ‘LIKE’, ‘hello%’)
NOT LIKE No wildcard matches filter(‘title’, ‘NOT LIKE’, ‘hello%’)
REGEXP Matches regular expression filter(‘title’, ‘REGEXP’, ‘^w’)
NOT REGEXP No regular expression match filter(‘title’, ‘NOT REGEXP’, ‘hello%’)
IS Is NULL filter(‘title’, ‘IS’, NULL)
IS NOT Is not NULL filter(‘title’, ‘IS NOT’, NULL)


You can create basic search functionality using the search() method. It takes a field, or list of fields, as well as a search term and creates a SQL LIKE query to find these items:

// find titles that contain "hello" and "world"
->search('title', 'hello world')
// find titles or body fields that contain "hello" and "world"
->search(['title', 'body'], 'hello world')

The search function knows about more advanced search conventions. It treats quoted strings as single words and excludes words that start with a minus sign:

// find titles that contain "hello world", but not dog
->search('title', '"hello world" -dog');

Note: Searches are always appended as an AND to the end of the query and cannot be used inside filter groups.


The order that the elements are selected in can be changed with the order() method. The order options are ASC and DESC for ascending and descending order, respectively:

->order('template_name', 'ASC')

Limit and Offset

You can limit how many models are selected, by using the limit() method:

$page_one = ee('Model')->get('Template')->limit(10)->all();

To change the starting point of the selection, use the offset() method:

$page_two = ee('Model')->get('Template')->offset(10)->limit(10)->all();

Note: The first() method will always use a limit of 1.

Example: Pagination

A common use-case for limit and offset is pagination. The following function will accept a page number and return the correct template models for that page:

function getTemplatesForPage($n)
  $per_page = 10;

  $start = $per_page * ($n - 1); // this ensures page 1 starts at 0

  return ee('Model')


To see the number of matching elements without retrieving all of their data, use the count() method instead of all():

$total_templates = ee('Model')->get('Template')->count();


To access a related model, you can simply access the relationship name as it is defined in the model. By convention, relationships that are singular will return a single model (or null), whereas plural relationships will return a collection of related models:

// singular
$template = ee('Model')->get('Template')->first();
$template_group = $template->TemplateGroup;

// plural
$status_group = ee('Model')->get('StatusGroup')->first();
$statuses = $status_group->Statuses;

By default, all relationship data is loaded on a need-to-know basis. When a related model is accessed, its data is automatically retrieved:

$template = ee('Model')->get('Template')->first();

$template_group = $template->TemplateGroup; // fetches the correct template group behind the scenes

This lazy loading behavior is good for single models, but it can cause performance bottlenecks when it is put inside a loop. For example:

$templates = ee('Model')->get('Template')->all();

foreach ($templates as $template)
  $group = $template->TemplateGroup; // BAD, triggers a fetch for each iteration

Eager Loading

To get around this problem, you can specify a relationship to be loaded with the original query. This is done using the with() method. The above snippet then becomes:

$templates = ee('Model')->get('Template')->with('TemplateGroup')->all();

foreach ($templates as $template)
  $group = $template->TemplateGroup; // OK, already loaded

These eager queries can also be nested to retrieve complex model hierarchies:

->get('Template')->with(array('LastAuthor' => 'PrimaryRole'));

Note: Always call all() when using eager loading to ensure getting full set of related models.

Filtering on Relationships

Eager loading also enables more advanced filtering and sorting. To specify a column that is not on the main model, simply prefix it with the relationship name:

->get('Template')->with('TemplateGroup')->filter('TemplateGroup.group_name', 'blog')->all()


To simplify writing complex filters, any named model can be aliased and the alias used instead:

->get('Template as t')
->with('TemplateGroup as tg')
->filter('tg.group_name', 'news')

Partial Data

In order to reduce memory usage, you can ask for only a subset of the available data. This is done with the fields() method, which takes as arguments the names of the fields you want to fetch:

$template = ee('Model')
  ->fields('template_id', 'template_name')

Note: This method should only be used for querying data. It should not be used for models that will be edited, deleted, or passed to other code for processing.