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CakePHP Documentation

License Build Status

This is the official documentation for the CakePHP project. It is available online in HTML, PDF and EPUB formats at

This master branch is the documentation for CakePHP 2.x. For CakePHP 3.x please see the 3.0 branch.

Contributing to the documentation is pretty simple. Please read the documentation on contributing to the documentation over on the cookbook for help. You can read all of the documentation within as its just in plain text files, marked up with ReST text formatting.

There are two ways for building the documentation: with Docker, or by installing the packages directly on your OS.

Build the Documentation with Docker

Docker will let you create a container with all packages needed to build the docs. You need to have docker installed, see the official docs of docker for more information.

There is a Dockerfile included at the root of this repository. You can build an image using:

docker build -t cakephp/docs .

This can take a little while, because all packages needs to be downloaded, but you'll only need to do this once.

You can run docker images to check that the image has been correctly built, you should see this output:

REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             VIRTUAL SIZE
cakephp/docs        latest              9783ad2c375b        3 hours ago         125.2 MB
debian              jessie              3d88cbf54477        12 days ago         125.2 MB

If you can't see an image called cakephp/docs, it can mean that the image has been wrongly built. If you notice an image called like the following:

REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             VIRTUAL SIZE
<none>              <none>              9783ad2c375b        3 hours ago         125.2 MB
debian              jessie              3d88cbf54477        12 days ago         125.2 MB

Run the following command (with your image id of course):

// to remove the image
docker rmi 9783ad2c375b
// re-run the build command
docker build -t cakephp/docs .

Now that the image is built, you can run all the commands to build the docs:

# To build the html
cd /path/to/your/local/docs
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make html

# To build the epub
cd /path/to/your/local/docs
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make epub

# To build the latex
cd /path/to/your/local/docs
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make latex

# To build the pdf
cd /path/to/your/local/docs
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make pdf

All the commands below will create and start containers and build the docs in the build folder. The --rm flag will delete the container after run.

Build the Documentation Manually

Installing the needed Packages

To build the documentation you'll need the following for linux/OS X:

  • Make
  • Python
  • Sphinx 1.2.* (currently the make commands will not work with 1.3.* versions and up)
  • PhpDomain for sphinx

You can install sphinx using:

pip install sphinx==1.2.3

You can install the phpdomain using:

pip install sphinxcontrib-phpdomain

To run the pip command, python-pip package must be previously installed.

Building the Documentation

After installing the required packages, you can build the documentation using make.

# Create all the HTML docs. Including all the languages.
make html

# Create just the English HTML docs.
make html-en

# Create all the EPUB (e-book) docs.
make epub

# Create just the English EPUB docs.
make epub-en

# Populate the search index
make populate-index

This will generate all the documentation in an HTML form. Other output such as 'htmlhelp' are not fully complete at this time.

After making changes to the documentation, you can build the HTML version of the docs by using make html again. This will build only the HTML files that have had changes made to them.

Building the PDF

Building the PDF is a non-trivial task.

  1. Install LaTeX - This varies by distribution/OS so refer to your package manager. You should install the full LaTeX package. The basic one requires many additional packages to be installed with tlmgr
  2. Run make latex-en.
  3. Run make pdf-en.

At this point the completed PDF should be in build/latex/en/CakePHPCookbook.pdf.


There are currently a number of outstanding issues that need to be addressed. We've tried to flag these with .. todo:: where possible. To see all the outstanding todo's add the following to your config/

todo_include_todos = True

After rebuilding the HTML content, you should see a list of existing todo items at the bottom of the table of contents.

You are also welcome to make and suggestions for new content as commits in a GitHub fork. Please make any totally new sections in a separate branch. This makes changes far easier to integrate later on.


Contributing translations requires that you make a new directory using the two letter name for your language. As content is translated, directories mirroring the English content should be created with localized content.

Making Search Work Locally

  • Install elasticsearch. This varies based on your platform, but most package managers have a package for it.
  • Clone the docs_search into a web accessible directory.
  • Modify searchUrl in themes/cakephp/static/app.js to point at the baseurl for your docs_search clone.
  • Start elasticsearch with the default configuration.
  • Populate the search index using make populate-index.
  • You should now be able to search the docs using elasticsearch.