CakePHP CookBook
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CakePHP Documentation

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


You can read all of the documentation within as its just in plain text files, marked up with ReST text formatting. To build the documentation you'll need the following:

  • 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:

easy_install sphinx==1.2.3

You can install the phpdomain using:

easy_install sphinxcontrib-phpdomain

To run the easy_install command, the setuptools 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.


Contributing to the documentation is pretty simple. Please read the documentation on contributing to the documentation over on the cookbook for help.

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.

Generating Meta Tags

If you are providing translations and want to automatically generate meta tags for the resulting HTML files, a MetatagShell is provided in the scripts folder of this repo. In order to use it, copy it into any CakePHP 2.0 empty application inside app/Console/Command, execute Console/cake metatag and follow the instructions.

The script will process all the files under one of the translation folders and generate the possible description terms using an external API, it is a good idea to go over the generated terms and clean-up whatever noise it might have generated.

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.