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Filtering Collections

Resource collection can be filtered using yii\data\DataFilter component since 2.0.13. It allows validating and building the filter conditions passed via request, and, with the help of its extended version yii\data\ActiveDataFilter, using them in a format suitable for yii\db\QueryInterface::where().

Configuring Data Provider For Filtering

As mentioned in the Collections section, we can use Data Provider to output sorted and paginated list of resources. We can also use it to filter that list.

$filter = new ActiveDataFilter([
    'searchModel' => 'app\models\PostSearch',

$filterCondition = null;
// You may load filters from any source. For example,
// if you prefer JSON in request body,
// use Yii::$app->request->getBodyParams() below:
if ($filter->load(Yii::$app->request->get())) { 
    $filterCondition = $filter->build();
    if ($filterCondition === false) {
        // Serializer would get errors out of it
        return $filter;

$query = Post::find();
if ($filterCondition !== null) {

return new ActiveDataProvider([
    'query' => $query,

PostSearch model serves the purpose of defining which properties and values are allowed for filtering:

use yii\base\Model;

class PostSearch extends Model 
    public $id;
    public $title;
    public function rules()
        return [
            ['id', 'integer'],
            ['title', 'string', 'min' => 2, 'max' => 200],            

Instead of preparing the standalone model for search rules you can use yii\base\DynamicModel if you don't need any special business logic there.

$filter = new ActiveDataFilter([
    'searchModel' => (new DynamicModel(['id', 'title']))
        ->addRule(['id'], 'integer')
        ->addRule(['title'], 'string', ['min' => 2, 'max' => 200]),

Defining searchModel is required in order to control the filter conditions allowed to the end user.

Filtering Request

End user is usually expected to provide optional filtering conditions in the request by one or more of the allowed methods (which should be explicitly stated in the API documentation). For example, if filtering is handled via POST method using JSON it can be something similar to:

    "filter": {
        "id": {"in": [2, 5, 9]},
        "title": {"like": "cheese"}

The above conditions are:

  • id must be either 2, 5, or 9 AND
  • title must contain the word cheese.

The same conditions sent as a part of GET query are:


You can change the default filter key word by setting yii\data\DataFilter::$filterAttributeName.

Filter Control Keywords

The default list of allowed filter control keywords is as the following:

filter control translates to
and AND
or OR
not NOT
lt <
gt >
lte <=
gte >=
eq =
neq !=
in IN
nin NOT IN
like LIKE

You can expand that list by expanding option yii\data\DataFilter::$filterControls, for example you could provide several keywords for the same filter build key, creating multiple aliases like:

    'eq' => '=',
    '=' => '=',
    '==' => '=',
    '===' => '=',
    // ...

Keep in mind that any unspecified keyword will not be recognized as a filter control and will be treated as an attribute name - you should avoid conflicts between control keywords and attribute names (for example: in case you have control keyword like and an attribute named like, specifying condition for such attribute will be impossible).

Note: while specifying filter controls take actual data exchange format, which your API uses, in mind. Make sure each specified control keyword is valid for the format. For example, in XML tag name can start only with a letter character, thus controls like >, =, or $gt will break the XML schema.

Note: When adding new filter control word make sure to check whether you need also to update yii\data\DataFilter::$conditionValidators and/or yii\data\DataFilter::$operatorTypes in order to achieve expected query result based on the complication of the operator and the way it should work.

Handling The Null Values

While it is easy to use null inside the JSON statement, it is not possible to send it using the GET query without confusing the literal null with the string "null". Since 2.0.40 you can use yii\data\DataFilter::$nullValue option to configure the word that will be used as a replacement for literal null (by default it's "NULL").

Aliasing Attributes

Whether you want to alias the attribute with another name or to filter the joined DB table you can use yii\data\DataFilter::$attributeMap to set the map of aliases:

    'carPart' => 'car_part', // carPart will be used to filter car_part property
    'authorName' => '{{author}}.[[name]]', // authorName will be used to filter name property of joined author table

Configuring Filters For ActiveController

yii\rest\ActiveController comes with the handy set of common REST actions that you can easily configure to use filters as well through yii\rest\IndexAction::$dataFilter property. One of the possible ways of doing so is to use yii\rest\ActiveController::actions():

public function actions()
    $actions = parent::actions();
    $actions['index']['dataFilter'] = [
        'class' => \yii\data\ActiveDataFilter::class,
        'attributeMap' => [
            'clockIn' => 'clock_in',
        'searchModel' => (new DynamicModel(['id', 'clockIn']))->addRule(['id', 'clockIn'], 'integer', ['min' => 1]),
    return $actions;

Now your collection (accessed through index action) can be filtered by id and clockIn properties.

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