Automatically loading your ACL tables

If you've spent anytime wanting to use ACL on your applications, you know how tedious it can be to manually enter your entire controller and action structure. This Task will handle finding and loading or updating all of those for you whenever you run it from the command line.

This code is setup as a task so that it can be executed by any Cake shell that includes it. All that you need to do to run it in your application is create an empty shell:


class TaskRunnerShell extends Shell {
   var $tasks = array('AclControllers');
   function main() {      
   function print_instructions() {
      foreach($this->tasks AS $t) {
         $description = isset($this->{$t}->description) ? $this->{$t}->description : '';
         $this->out($this->shell . ' ' . Inflector::underscore($t) . "\\t$description\\n");

That's just a wrapper shell that I like to use that will run through all of it's included tasks, find the 'description' variable and list the command to execute with the description.

Next, you'll want to add the acl_controllers.php task to


class AclControllersTask extends Shell {
   //Used when printing instructions
   var $description = 'Automatically loads controllers and actions into ACOs';
   var $filter = array();
   function startup() {
      $this->Acl =& new AclComponent();
      $controller = null;
      $this->Aco =& $this->Acl->Aco;
   function execute() {
      $this->out('Load Controllers and Actions into ACO');
      $cf =& Configure::getInstance();
      $plugins = Configure::listObjects('plugin');
      //Find plugin controller methods
      if(!empty($plugins)) {
         foreach($plugins AS $p) {
            $this->out('Checking Plugin: ' . $p);
            $path = ROOT . DS . APP_DIR . DS . 'plugins' . DS . strtolower($p) . DS . 'controllers';
            $this->out('Adding Plugin Path: ' . $path);
            $cf->controllerPaths[] = $path;
            App::import('Controller',$p . '.' . $p . 'AppController');
      $controllers   = Configure::listObjects('controller');
      $this->out('Controllers Found: ' . implode(', ', $controllers));
      $this->filter['methods'] = get_class_methods('Controller');
      $this->filter['controller'] = array('App');            
      $list = array();
      //Find controller methods
      foreach($controllers AS $c) {
         if(in_array($c,$this->filter['controller'])) continue;

         $this->out('Importing Controller: ' . $c);                           
         if(!App::import('Controller',$c)) {
            foreach($plugins AS $p) {
               if(strpos($p,$c) === 0 && App::import('Controller',$p . '.' . $c)) break;
         $list[$c] = $this->_getMethods($c . 'Controller','methods');
      //Find ROOT node id
      $root_id = $this->Aco->field('id',array('alias' => 'ROOT'));
      $this->out('ROOT node id: ' . $root_id);
      foreach($list AS $con => $acts) { //Loop through list of controllers
         $conditions = array('alias' => $con,'parent_id' => $root_id);
         if($this->Aco->hasAny($conditions)) { //Check if controller is already in the table
            $this->out('Controller Already Loaded: ' . $con);
         else { //If not create it
            if($this->Aco->save($conditions)) $this->out('CREATED: ' . $con . ' Controller');            
            else $this->error('Controller Create Failed',$con);            
         $con_id = $this->Aco->field('id',$conditions);
         //$this->out('con_id: ' . $con_id);
         //Get list of the controller's actions
         $actions = $this->Aco->find('list',array(
            'conditions' => array('parent_id' => $con_id),
            'fields' => array('alias','id')));
         $this->out('Actions already loaded: ' . implode(', ',$acts));   
         //Loop through list of actions
         foreach($acts AS $a) {            
            if(!empty($actions[$a])) {
               //$this->out('Skipped: ' . $a);
            else {
               $this->out('loading... ' . $a);
               if($this->Aco->save(array('parent_id' => $con_id,'alias' => $a))) $this->out('CREATED: ' . $con . '/'  . $a);
               else $this->error('Action Create Failed', $con . '/'  . $a);
   function _getMethods($className,$filter = 'methods') {
      $c_methods = get_class_methods($className);
      $c_methods = array_diff($c_methods,$this->filter[$filter]);
      $c_methods = array_filter($c_methods,array($this,"_removePrivate"));
      return $c_methods;
   function _removePrivate($var) {
      if(substr($var,0,1) == '_') return false;
      else return true;


The ONLY assumption that this code makes is that your ACO table has a node with an 'alias' of 'ROOT' that all of the controllers and actions will use as a parent. If you're using something other than root, the code looking for it is on line 57.

To run it, just run over to your cake/console directory and type

php cake.php task_runner acl_controllers

This article has also been publish at The Bakery.

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