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CakePHP plugin that converts your .less files to .css using only PHP
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LESS Helper

This little Helper converts your .less files into .css without relying on Node.js or client-side parsing. Everything is compiled on the server, cached, and served as regular css through PHP.


Get the files in place


If you are using composer, simply add

"dakota/cakephp_less": ">=2.0.0"

to your composer.json file.

Git submodule

If you are developing your application with Git already, you can install the plugin as a submodule. In your git base folder type

git submodule add Plugin/CakephpLess

Git clone

In your plugin directory type

git clone CakephpLess

Initialize lessphp submodule and download files

If you are using Composer, you can skip this step.

In the plugin folder ('Plugins/CakephpLess') type

git submodule init
git submodule update

Create cache and less folders

  • Create a folder called less in app/webroot/
  • Create a folder called less in app/tmp/cache
  • Apply chmod 777 to your css folder. (The Less Helper will place all compiled css files in your css-directory)


Where you want to use LESS files, add the helper. Usually this will be your AppController.

public $helpers = array('CakephpLess.Less');

Next, simply add the less files to your views:

echo $this->Less->css('yourfile');

or if the less file is located in the webroot of a plugin

echo $this->Less->css('yourfile',array('plugin' => 'PluginFolderName'));


echo $this->Less->css(array(

It doesn't matter if you link to stolen .css files directly, the Helper will check for the existance of a .less version first, and fall back if it doesn't find one.

If it does find a corresponding .less file with the same name in your less directory, it will compile it to css and place it in your css directory

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