Database/ORM - jointable creates new records on update


I am creating a website where I need to use a jointable between:

  • workouts, and
  • teams
    One team can have multiple workouts.
    One workout can have multiple teams.

So I created a table teams_workouts (columns: id, team_id, workout_id, created, updated).
Problem now is that when I update a workout, it will always create a new record in the jointable (instead of updating the existing ones).How can I fix this?

and an example of how the database looks like

Read up on the saveStrategy option of belongsToMany associations.

Hi, that was the page I was following. Based on that explanation I would expect the default behaviour to ‘replace’ and not append

You’ll probably need to show us more code then, specifically what’s involved when the problem happens.

This should be the relevant code. If you need something else in order to check where the problem could be, please let me know:


public function edit($id = null)
    $workout = $this->Workouts->get($id, [
        'contain' => ['Members', 'Teams'],
    if ($this->request->is(['patch', 'post', 'put'])) {
        $workout = $this->Workouts->patchEntity($workout, $this->request->getData());
        if ($this->Workouts->save($workout)) {
            $this->Flash->success(__('The workout has been saved.'));

            return $this->redirect(['action' => 'index']);
        $this->Flash->error(__('The workout could not be saved. Please, try again.'));
    $captains = $this->Workouts->Captains->find('list', ['limit' => 200]);
    $routes = $this->Workouts->Routes->find('list', ['limit' => 200]);
    $seasons = $this->Workouts->Seasons->find('list', ['limit' => 200]);
    $members = $this->Workouts->Members->find('list', ['limit' => 200]);
    $teams = $this->Workouts->Teams->find('list', ['limit' => 200]);
    $this->set(compact('workout', 'captains', 'routes', 'seasons', 'members', 'teams'));


class WorkoutsTable extends Table
* Initialize method
* @param array $config The configuration for the Table.
* @return void
public function initialize(array $config): void



    $this->belongsTo('Captains', [
        'className' => 'Members',
        'foreignKey' => 'captain_id',
    $this->belongsTo('Routes', [
        'foreignKey' => 'route_id',
        'joinType' => 'INNER',
    $this->belongsTo('Seasons', [
        'foreignKey' => 'season_id',
        'joinType' => 'INNER',
    $this->belongsToMany('Members', [
        'foreignKey' => 'workout_id',
        'targetForeignKey' => 'member_id',
        'joinTable' => 'members_workouts',
    $this->belongsToMany('Teams', [
        'foreignKey' => 'workout_id',
        'targetForeignKey' => 'team_id',
        'joinTable' => 'teams_workouts',

 * Default validation rules.
 * @param \Cake\Validation\Validator $validator Validator instance.
 * @return \Cake\Validation\Validator
public function validationDefault(Validator $validator): Validator
        ->allowEmptyString('id', null, 'create');

        ->requirePresence('date', 'create')

        ->requirePresence('time', 'create')

    return $validator;

 * Returns a rules checker object that will be used for validating
 * application integrity.
 * @param \Cake\ORM\RulesChecker $rules The rules object to be modified.
 * @return \Cake\ORM\RulesChecker
public function buildRules(RulesChecker $rules): RulesChecker
    $rules->add($rules->existsIn(['captain_id'], 'Captains'));
    $rules->add($rules->existsIn(['route_id'], 'Routes'));
    $rules->add($rules->existsIn(['season_id'], 'Seasons'));

    return $rules;


The WorkoutsEntity does not contain anything specific.

Also which is very strange: the table has two ‘hasmany’ relations. The relation with members is updated correctly, the relation with teams not… but they are defined in exact the same way…

And what does your edit form look like?

        <?= $this->Form->create($workout) ?>
            <legend><?= __('Edit Workout') ?></legend>
                echo $this->Form->control('date');
                echo $this->Form->control('time');
                echo $this->Form->control('captain_id', ['options' => $captains, 'empty' => true]);
                echo $this->Form->control('route_id', ['options' => $routes]);
                echo $this->Form->control('season_id', ['options' => $seasons]);
                echo $this->Form->control('members._ids', ['options' => $members]);
                echo $this->Form->control('teams._ids', ['options' => $teams]);
        <?= $this->Form->button(__('Submit')) ?>
        <?= $this->Form->end() ?>

OMG! I just found the problem.
After doublechecking my table, I saw that the columns team_id & workout_id were defined as varchar (instead of integer!).
After changing the column type to integer… everything worked correctly.
Sorry for wasting your time Zuluru!

Well, that’s not something I would have guessed!