The vae() (formerly vae_find(), which still works as an alias) function is the main way of accessing your Vae content through PHP.


vae() returns data from the CMS in the form of an object that can be easily used in PHP.

If you don’t pass in a parameter, all your content is returned. Alternatively, you may pass in a VaeQL query to retrieve exactly what you need.

Data Encoding

Vae structures that hold text, such as Text structures, Text Area structures, and Rich Text structures will be represented in the object as text and can be echod or used directly.

Structures that contain Images, Video, or Files will contain an identifying number that is used to refer to that image, video, or file. Before these can be displayed on your website, you will need to call a function to obtain a URL for that image, file, or video. These functions are vae_image(), vae_file(), and vae_video().


vae($path, $options = null)

  • $path - VaeQL query specifying the data you want to retrieve. Follows the same VaeQL syntax used by VaeML wherever VaeML accepts a path= attribute.

  • $options - Associative array of options that specify filtering and ordering operations on the data. The following array keys are accepted:

    • default_page - applies if you are using pagination on this collection. If set to a number, that page number will be the default page shown. If set to last(), the last page will be the default page shown.

    • filter - If set to a string representing a search query, only returns entries matching the provided search query.

    • groups - Divides the set of matching entries into this many groups and returns only one of the groups. Use the page attribute to specify which group to return.

    • limit - If set to an integer, returns no more than this many entries.

    • order - If set to the the name of a structure in this collection, the collection will be sorted by that structure. You may also sort by multiple structures by separating them with a comma. You may sort by a structure in descending order by wrapping the structure name with DESC(), such as DESC(name). You may sort by the number of entries in a child collection by wrapping the child collection name with COUNT(), such as COUNT(comments). You can reverse the order stored in Vae by setting this attribute to DESC(). You can display elements in a random order by setting this attribute to RAND().

    • page - if using the groups or paginate attributes, specify the page or group you would like to return here.

    • paginate - return no more than this many items per page. Set the page attribute to the page you would like to return.

    • skip - If set to an integer, skips this many results before returning results. Useful for implementing custom pagination.

    • unique - If set to the the name of a structure in this collection, only unique values of that entry will be returned. You may require a unique combination of values in multiple structures by listing each structure separated by a comma.

Returned Objects and Sample Code

vae() returns a PHP object of type either VaeContext or VaeQuery that contains the results of your query. VaeContext and VaeQuery present mostly the same interface. Let’s start up the example with a familiar looking query that retrieves an Artist by ID:

$artist = vae("artists/13421");

Child structures may be accessed by either the arrow operator or via array notation:

echo $artist->name;
echo $artist['name'];

If your query returned multiple entries (for example if you asked for a collection), you may iterate over the object just like it was an array:

$artists = vae("artists");
foreach ($artists as $artist) {
  echo $artist->name;

You can get the ID, permalink, or type of any entry easily, via the arrow operator or array notation:

$artist = vae("artists/13421");
echo $artist->id;           // 13421
echo $artist->permalink;    // artist/freefall
echo $artist->type;         // Collection
echo $artist->name->type;   // TextItem
echo $artist->albums->type; // Collection

You can also get info about the structure represented by the entry:

$artist = vae("artists/13421");
echo $artist->structure->id;        // 1269
echo $artist->structure->name;      // Artists
echo $artist->structure->type;      // Collection
echo $artist->structure->permalink; // artist   (URL of page to render by default for permalinks)

You can get the ID of each entry in the foreach block too:

$artists = vae("artists");
foreach ($artists as $id => $artist) {
  echo $artist->name . " has ID " . $id;

Run scoped VaeQL queries via the get() method, which supports any valid VaeQL expression:

$artists = vae("artists");
foreach ($artists as $artist) {
  foreach ($artist->get("albums[type='CD']") as $album) {
    echo $album->name . " is a CD!";

Options get passed in as a parameter, after the query:

$artists = vae("artists", array('limit' => 10));
$artists = vae("artists", array('paginate' => 5, 'page' => 2));
$albums = $artists->get("albums", array('order' => 'name'));
$albums = $artists->albums(array('order' => 'name')); // same as above, shortcut syntax

Debugging functions like var_dump() (including serialize(), print_r(), var_export(), etc.) will not work directly on the objects. However, we’ve wired up a special method that will allow you to debug your code. Just invoke the debug method on the object:


You need to be careful using objects in if statements, as the object will always return true. For example, this will not work as expected:

if (vae("artists")) {
  echo "There are artists";

You can use the ->count() method to achieve what you want:

if (vae("artists")->count) {
  echo "There are artists";

Additionally, you should be careful when casting values to a numeric type. This will not work as expected:

foreach (vae("artists") as $artist) {
  echo (int)$artist->age;

This is because objects may not be directly cast to numeric types. If you need a numeric value, you’ll need to first cast to a string.

foreach (vae("artists") as $artist) {
  echo strftime("%m-%d-%Y", (string)$artist->formed_on);