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CakePHP Documentation

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Build Status

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

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 the documentation within as it is 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.

Build the image locally

Starting in the top-level directory, you can build the provided Dockerfile and tag it with the name cakephp/docs by running:

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.

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

To build the html:
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make html
To build the epub:
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make epub
To build the latex:
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make latex
To build the pdf:
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/data cakephp/docs make pdf

All the documentation will output to the build directory.

Build the Documentation Manually

Installing the needed Packages

To build the documentation you'll need to install dependencies using:

pip install -r requirements.txt

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

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 any 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. For more info, please, click here.

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 using tooling found in the cakephp docs builder project.
  • You should now be able to search the docs using elasticsearch.