We may need to perform some actions before the controller function get called.

For example

Check user authentication before access to certain page.

AccountController.php

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<?php
class AccountController extends BaseController
{
...
public function __construct()
{
parent::__construct();
// before goes into certain function, check for authentication
$this->beforeFilter('auth');
}
}

The filter function is in

app/filters.php

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<?php
...
Route::filter('auth', function()
{
if (Auth::guest()) return Redirect::to('login');
}

References: