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TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

The updates that CakePHP 3 brings to the table – why we love it and so should you!

 

With a year under its belt and 34 releases, we are still in love with CakePHP 3; and some of you are already on board and loving it. With an average of nearly 3 releases a month, you can easily tell that the team is working against a rapid release cycle where they are tirelessly working at adding and improving features. - but do you know the philosophy behind it?

Looking at all of the improvements and benefits that this updated framework brings, you can clearly see that the biggest turning point for the core team was the increased functionality with clear foresight and thinking brought to the table. A plan was had right from the start, to be a framework well documented, one that was simple (as the Core Team live by – less lines the better!). Another big input from the team, was the ability to integrate and make newer versions of PHP compatible with the framework, never before has the movement in the code base been so fast paced. And as the team comments, this is brought to the fore by the rotating code between open source teams – truly, we live in a space where without each other’s contributions to the code base there would be no movement and action.

That is why we are in love with CakePHP 3, because the team have put forward a framework that integrates, pulls in outside assistance, accepts community help and specifically puts itself out there for the community’s input.

Some quick backgrounds to the updated framework. The first commit to CakePHP 3 was done on May 24 2012, by Juan Basso. A long time coming, but as the common phrase goes, good things come with time. – that and the fact that the core team and lead developers were working in their spare time, after work, late nights, to bring this forward.

We thought that we would reflect, and bring to you the top changes/improvements/benefits/total awesomeness of this framework!

  • All of the core feature development was done as pull requests. This was done intentionally, to encourage people to get involved and the main core team is distributed across the world. The community is vital to the framework, and without them, we wouldn’t be here!

  • To give you an idea of what this has meant. It ended up with over 6000 commits before launch! – from over 20 contributors.

  • CakePHP 3 documentation had over 1500 commits – from 51 contributors! – the document writing was so important to the team, every time there was a feature or a break in backwards compatibility, it was documented.

  • More big news for CakePHP 3 is that it targets PHP 5.5 and newer. It is designed with composer support (Although you don’t need to use composer). It has also required a couple of additional extensions (the mb_string and the intl extension) – this was for 2 reasons, we were handling multi-byte internally, if you didn’t have the mb_string extension, we would fall back to pure PHP code; and for internationalization - there are really powerful tools built into the language that CakePHP 2 wasn’t capitalizing on and the team wanted to leverage those tools – to give the CakePHP community better tools.

  • Now the entire CakePHP code is Unicode aware, and additionally through the intl extension, everything is localized. All of the core classes localize depending on your locale (so if you switch your locale to Germany..) – everything will work, your numbering, date formatting, language formatting (provided you have the translation file) etc.

Over above these changes (and associated benefits), a few other things came out of the cracks..

Such as, through the use of composer, you have to have separate repos for separate things - so the team created a new app skeleton, basically this is the app directory of the old framework but in a separate repo. – What this allows you to do is mold or easily customize and fork it when you want to pull in changes. You don’t have to worry about merge conflicts with the app directory or similar types of issues.

It also gives us the ability to release them independently in the future, so for instance, the app can be upgraded and add or remove dependencies while having no need to modify the framework.

Many of us have had that experience and confusion of configuring classes; you don’t know if it’s a property or method, or even what the method name is.

Well getting more into the detailed features, we all know that there were a lot of different method names for configuring things, some classes used properties, others used methods of various names.

For CakePHP 3 however, it was decided that this is a little silly, so all of the static/instance/runtime classes use one method called config (YAY!). More can be found at http://book.cakephp.org/3.0/en/development/configuration.html

The ORM has also been replaced, we have moved on with the model layer, and CakePHP has advanced quite a bit over the past years. Now you have Tables and Entity objects (no more arrays!), and a powerful Query class to build your queries using a fluent interface. You'll be amazed how easy is to create deep filters, custom finders (and stacking!), subqueries. Validation was also refactored, improving flexibility and customization.

The router was also noted as being a performance bottleneck for a lot of applications in the past, and it was also, somewhat, verbose when you were connecting a lot of routes.

So with CakePHP 3, the old way of connecting routes is still there, but a new scope system has been added. This allows you to declare routes in a much clearer way – so if you have a common prefix, you can put this in the scope, and don’t have to re-declare this in each route. Less typing necessary, but more importantly it allows you to partition your routes so that you can create a much faster parse tree.

A lot of work has also been done on fixing reverse routing, previously it was based on a linear search but now, the key parts of the route are taken (the action or controller name) and generate a list of what that route may be and then search a much smaller subset of routes.

Another change is the helper layer. Previously HTML formatted through arrays, and that had both good and bad points.

The team got rid of the sprintf and replaced it with a very simple templating system, that has no conditions. This lets you define templates file, and you consistently use those templates throughout. This also yields a bit of a performance gain and it doesn’t use number replacements, it uses named replacements.

The way the event subsystems were handled is another change that CakePHP 3 brings to the table, allowing a much more consistent approach to handling events. The new changes have also led to another performance enhancement!

The framework has also gotten some outside help - in the past CakePHP has been criticized for being insular and not making use of the existing ecosystem. This has since changed and one of the reasons was the team wanted to make the install really easy. Because composer is now being use, you can include dependencies and when you create your application or install your applications dependencies, CakePHP 3’s can be installed at the same time.

CakePHP 3 has used:

Chronos (A fork of Carbon) has been used for date time improvements, (but now its part of CakePHP itself and maintained by the core)

Aura/Intl – improved i18n and L10n features

A great wrap up to these things is the fact that the team has hugely increased functionality and features, while keeping performance constant (in most cases, actually increasing it!!). There are so many reasons that you should start and continue using CakePHP 3 but more importantly, there are so many reasons for being a part of this insanely great, collaborative community.

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When and why should you upgrade to CakePHP 5?

CakePHP 5.0.0 was released on September 10th. The current version as of today is 5.0.3 (released Nov 28th and compatible with PHP 8.3 https://github.com/cakephp/cakephp/releases/tag/5.0.3). You might be asking yourself some questions related to the upgrade… here's what we've been recommending to our clients to do since version 5 was released. Leaving aside the obvious reasons for an upgrade, today we're going to categorize the decision from 2 different points of view: Your current CakePHP version, and your role in the project.

When should you upgrade? 

  We are going to use current CakePHP version as the main criteria: * If you are in CakePHP <= 2   * We strongly recommend an upgrade as soon as possible. If you are unable to upgrade, try to keep your PHP version and all the underlying dependencies as fresh as you can and isolate the application as much as possible. If your application is internal, consider using a VPN blocking all outside traffic. If your site is open to the public, consider using an isolated environment, hardened. Adding a web application firewall and a strict set of rules could also help to mitigate potential security issues. Even if CakePHP is very secure, the older versions of CakePHP, like  1 and 2  have a very old code base , and other vendors/ libraries could be a serious security risk for your project at this point.   * If you are in CakePHP 3.x   * The effort to upgrade at least to CakePHP 4.x should not be a blocker. We would recommend upgrading at least to the latest CakePHP 4.5.x. You can actually "ignore" the deprecations for now, you don't need to plan for upgrading your authentication/authorization layers just yet, focus on getting your project stable and up to CakePHP 4.5.x in the first round.   * If you are in CakePHP 4.x   * Upgrading to CakePHP 5.x is not an immediate priority for you.   * I would say, 2024 is a good time to start planning for an upgrade. Feature and bugfix releases for 4.x will continue until September 2025. Security fixes will continue for 4.x until September 2026. You have plenty of time to consider an upgrade, and take advantage of newer (and faster!) PHP versions.  

Why should you upgrade? 

  We are going to use your role in the project to provide some good reasons: * If you are a developer   * More strict types, meaning better IDE support and more errors catched at development time.   * New features in CakePHP 5.x will make your code more readable, like Typed finder parameters https://book.cakephp.org/5/en/appendices/5-0-migration-guide.html#typed-finder-parameters      * Quality of life features, reducing development time like https://book.cakephp.org/5/en/appendices/5-0-migration-guide.html#plugin-installer   * Compatibility with PHP 8.3 for extra performance & support   * If you are a manager   * Ensure your development team is forced to drop old auth code and embrace the new authentication/authorization layer https://book.cakephp.org/5/en/appendices/5-0-migration-guide.html#auth   * The new authentication layer will allow you to easily integrate features like single sign on, two factor authentication or hardware keys (like Yubikeys), as there are plugins available handling all these features.   * Get an extended support window. CakePHP is one of the longest maintained frameworks out there, upgrading to CakePHP 5 will keep your core maintained past 2026.   * Upgrade to PHP 8.3 and force legacy vendors to be up to date with the new version, this will also push your team to get familiar with the new PHP core features.   * If you are an investor, not directly related with the project day-to-day operations   * Secure your inversion for a longer period.   * Reduce your exposure to security issues.   * Send a strong message to your partners, keeping your product updated with the latest technology trends.   * Send a strong message to your team, investing in the upgrade of your application will let them know the project is aiming for a long term future.   In conclusion, upgrading to CakePHP 5 is a good move for 2024 whether you're a developer, manager, or investor. The version 5 is stable and ready to go. Staying current becomes not just a best practice but a strategic advantage.   If you are in doubt, feel free to contact us. We'll review your case (for free) and provide an actionable recommendation based on your current situation in the next business day.  

A quick CakePHP Local environment with DDEV

In the realm of web development, a seamless local environment is the bedrock for efficient and stress-free coding. Enter DDEV, a powerful tool that simplifies the setup process and empowers developers to dive into their projects with ease. In this blog post, we'll embark on a journey to demystify the process of setting up a local development environment using DDEV. Whether you're a seasoned developer or just starting in the world of web development, optimizing your local environment can significantly enhance your workflow.

Pre Conditions :

Install Docker https://docs.docker.com/get-docker/ and install DDEV https://ddev.readthedocs.io/en/stable/

Step 1: Create a new CakePHP project skeleton 

composer create-project cakephp/app myproject A new folder "myproject" will be created with a CakePHP project skeleton inside. Go to this new directory and proceed with the following instructions.

Step 2: Initial ddev setup

Run ddev config
This will do the initial ddev setup, press enter for all questions.  Run ddev auth ssh
This will add ssh key authentication to the ddev-ssh-auth container

Step 3: Adjust the settings

Inside "myproject" a new .ddev folder will be created, open config.yaml  and adjust there: php version, database and the database url environment.  For PHP:
php_version: "8.1"

For the database: database: type: mysql version: "8.0" For the environment variable: web_environment: - DATABASE_URL=mysql://db:db@db/db

Step 4: Start ddev

ddev start  This will spin up the project.

Step 5: Open your application

ddev launch This will open your project in a browser.   Once you have the application up and running, some useful commands you could run are:
  • ddev composer to execure composer
  • ddev mysql to get into the database
  • ddev ssh takes you into the web container.
In this link https://ddev.readthedocs.io/en/latest/users/usage/cli/ you can see more useful commands.   Hope you enjoy playing with DDEV!

 

   

 

 

CakeFest 2023 Recap

CakeFest 2023 once again brought together developers from around the world for a weekend of baking (code), insightful talks, and community building. This year's event, featuring speakers from eight different countries and attendees joining both in person and via live streaming, was a refreshing convergence of passion and technology.

International Flavor:

One of the highlights of CakeFest 2023 was its international reach. Speakers from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Brazil, and Spain graced the virtual and physical stages, sharing experiences in the world of CakePHP and software development. This lineup added a diverse perspective to the event's discussions.  

A Weekend of Learning and Networking:

CakeFest attendees enjoyed a weekend filled with learning opportunities, covering things from beginner workshops to cutting-edge software development trends, to the future of CakePHP. Workshops, panels, and presentations provided valuable insights and knowledge of the framework. We hope that everyone had the chance to expand their skills, connect with other developers, and forge new professional relationships. When CakeFest wasn't in session, the core/CakePHP team and attendees spent a lot of time getting to know each other… Groups went to lunch and dinner every day of the event. This is probably my favorite part of the physical conferences.    

Baking and Code:

Day 1 consisted of 2 full workshops from Jorge González and lead core developer Mark Story. The third workshop presented by Kevin Pfeifer was included in day 2’s hybrid model. Followed by talks from: John Killcommons (keynote) of Zulucare/Zulucloud, Rafael Queiroz (Github actions for beginners and applied to CakePHP basic projects), Celso Fontes (PGE Digital, a successful CakePHP project in Rio de Janeiro's Attorney), and Andres Campanario (Integration of inertiajs on CakePHP to bake CRUD SPA).    Day 3’s speakers included: Remy Bertot (keynote) of Passbolt, Mark Scherer  (How to use your IDE effectively for CakePHP), Alejandro Ibarra (Unveiling the Ultimate Showdown: A Comparative Analysis of Local Development Tools), Stefan Koopmanschap (Domain-Driven Design: The Basics), Umer Salman (Agile Deployment of CakePHP Web Applications in a Hybrid Kubernetes Cluster), and Wim Godden (Websockets as the glue to interactivity).    It was a weekend worth remembering for sure. The unique blend of networking and code at CakeFest allowed attendees to see just how far CakePHP has come, and will go, plus some pretty cool things built with the framework.     

The Cake Ceremony:

No CakeFest would be complete without the much-anticipated cake ceremony. We hope that those attending virtually were able to enjoy some with us. In LA, we carried on the tradition of allowing Mark Story to be the “cutter of the cake”. Now that I think about it, he never asks to cut the cake, but it’s a honor nonetheless. 

   

Conclusion:

CakeFest 2023 was a celebration of passion, knowledge, and creativity. With its global reach, experienced speaker lineup, and faithful community, we believe that the event left attendees inspired and eager to continue their works using Cake. We also learned about all of the cool places that CakePHP is being utilized, from the attorney general's office in Brazil, all the way to nasa using some CakePHP in space (more or less). We also heard from some of our CakePHP core developers - specifically their thoughts on CakePHP 5 and what’s to come. You can see a lot of photos on Facebook and Twitter and the edited presentation videos will be posted to YouTube soon. We are working on getting slides uploaded into the CakeFest site as we speak (or type).    Someone said to me that there's a little bit of magic in every slice of cake and every line of code… I think that pretty well sums up our great weekend at CakeFest.

We Bake with CakePHP