I would like to write some custom code before any actions in a controller is executed. It would seem like an easy one, but i am unable to find help anywhere in google. I tried to override preDispatch() function in my controller, but it ends up getting weird (instead of showing my page, it shows the default page without any content in it)

Its a admin controller and i need to do some custom validation before any action in it is executed. Based on the validation, the request may be forwarded to some other controller.


Good news: there's no need to rewrite preDispatch! There is dynamic eventing that is fired both before and after the dispatch:

An excerpt of what is required to tap into the event in your module's etc/config.xml file:


And your observer would look like the following:



class YourCompany_YourModule_Model_Observer
    public function catalogProductViewPredispatch($observer)
        //get the controller action method
        $controller = $observer->getEvent()->getControllerAction();

        //log something
        Mage::log('Testing - I made it to the predispatch of the catalog product viewAction!');

        //get things from the request:
        $request = $controller->getRequest();

        //set things on the response:
        $reponse = $controller->getResponse();
        $response->setBody('some stuff');
  • thanks. bt wats the event for before all the actions? – shahalpk Oct 22 '13 at 17:18
  • to run something before all actions, use controller_action_predispatch – philwinkle Oct 22 '13 at 17:23
  • but won't that be fired before all the actions in every controller? i juz need to execute this for a single controller. – shahalpk Oct 22 '13 at 17:28
  • Oh, I didn't understand that. You can just use controller_action_predispatch_ and add the route name, e.g. catalog or customer. – philwinkle Oct 22 '13 at 17:32
  • thats for all the controllers in a particular module. I checked the preDispatch() method in Varien/Action.php, dont think there is an option for individual controllers. maybe i'll just use the above event and filter the controller in the observer D: – shahalpk Oct 22 '13 at 17:38

here is an example of Customer->AccountController. In the controller you have override mention mention predispatch function as mentioned below:

public function preDispatch()
$action = $this->getRequest()->getActionName();
$ExitsopenActions = array(
$Custompattern = '/^(' . implode('|', $newOpenAction) . ')/i';

if (preg_match($Custompattern, $action)) {

if ($action != $this->getRequest()->getActionName())
if (!$this->getRequest()->isDispatched()) {
$mypattern = '/^(' . implode('|', $allActions) . ')/i';
if (!preg_match($mypattern, $action)) {
if (!$this->_getSession()->authenticate($this)) {
$this->setFlag('', 'no-dispatch', true);
} else {

$ExitsopenActions consists of all the actions that are there in the native.

$newOpenAction consists of all the new actions you want to add.

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