How To: Fixing CakePHP Broken GET Query Strings

After getting familiar with CakePHP 2.x for a little while, writing an application, I had a need to perform an AJAX action  using the query string of an HTTP GET request. I’ve done it countless times using straight PHP, ASP.Net, even custom constructed requests from C# desktop applications.  How difficult could it be? After all, the idea behind these PHP frameworks is to take all the heavy lifting out of writing your code, right? I set out writing the AJAX links to construct my query string using CakePHP’s JsHelper.

I started out by writing a simple query string with a single key/value and then retrieving it with some AJAX. It worked perfectly! Then I added a few more key/value pairs to the string and that’s when things went down hill. Apparently, I stumbled on to bug in the way CakePHP handles and encodes URL Query strings. Funny thing is, this bug was discovered and fixed in a previous version of the framework, but some how found it’s way into the code base again in version 2.x. Research revealed a number of work-arounds and hacks, most included editing a core file or two. I, however, did not want to have to resort to messing with core files of the framework, because they would likely be overwritten again after a version update or upgrade, leaving me back where I started. Instead I decided to “repair” the parts of the query string that CakePHP broke.

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