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CakePHP Tutorial for Beginners

CakePHP is a popular and powerful web application framework for PHP developers. It provides a streamlined development environment that simplifies the web application process. This tutorial covers the essential step-by-step guide on how beginners can create their first web application using this framework.

CakePHP Tutorial for Beginners

How to Create Web Applications Using CakePHP

The users must have a web server and PHP installed on their computers before beginning this article. They will also need to download and install the latest version of CakePHP from their website.

Step 1: Set Up the CakePHP Project

Once the users have downloaded and installed CakePHP, they should open their command prompt or terminal and navigate to the directory where they want to create their project. Then, they need to run the following command:

composer create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app myapp

This above command will create a new CakePHP project in a directory named “myapp”. The users can replace “myapp” with any name they want for their project.

Step 2: Configure the Database

CakePHP uses a configuration file called “app.php” to store the user’s database credentials and other necessary settings for their application. Then, they can open the “app.php” file in their project directory and look for the “Datasources” section. In this section, the users can update the “default” array with  their database credentials:

// config/app.php
'Datasources' => [
    'default' => [
        'host' => 'localhost',
        'username' => 'your_database_username',
        'password' => 'your_database_password',
        'database' => 'your_database_name',
        'timezone' => 'UTC',
        'quoteIdentifiers' => true,
        'url' => env('DATABASE_URL', null),

Note: The users must ensure to replace the placeholders with their actual database credentials. If they do not know their database credentials, they should check with their web host or server administrator to find them.

Step 3: Create a Database Table and Model

Now that the users have configured their database, they can create a table to store their data. For this tutorial, the users will create a “users” table with the following fields:

  1. id (primary key)
  2. name
  3. email
  4. password

The users can open their MySQL command prompt or PHPMyAdmin and run the following SQL query to create the table:

  name VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL,
  email VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL,
  password VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL

Next, they have to generate a model for the table using the CakePHP console after they have created the table successfully.  They must open the command prompt or terminal, navigate to their project directory and run the following command:

bin/cake bake model Users

This command will generate a new model class for the “users” table in the “src/Model” directory.

Step 4: Create a Controller and View

Now, when the users have created the model for data, they need to create a controller and view to complete the MVC architecture for their application. Firstly, they must create a controller to handle requests and responses for their web application. They must go to their command prompt or terminal again and navigate to their project directory. Then, run the following command to create a new controller class for their “users” table in the “src/Controller” directory.

bin/cake bake controller Users

Next, the users can create a view file to display their database data. They have to create a new file named “index.ctp” in the “src/Template/Users” directory and add the following code to display their data as view:

    <?php foreach ($users as $user) : ?>
        <td><?= $user->id ?></td>
        <td><?= $user->name ?></td>
        <td><?= $user->email ?></td>
    <?php endforeach; ?>

This above code will display a table of users with their ID, name, and email.

Step 5: Route the User’s Application

By default, CakePHP routes requests to the “PagesController” and the “index” action. The users can route requests to their “UsersController” by opening the “config/routes.php” file in their project directory and adding the following code:

// config/routes.php
use Cake\Routing\RouteBuilder;
use Cake\Routing\Router;
Router::scope('/', function (RouteBuilder $routes) {
    $routes->connect('/', ['controller' => 'Users', 'action' => 'index']);

This above code will route requests to the “index” action of the user’s “UsersController” when the user visits the homepage.

Step 6: Test the Application

Finally, users can now test their web application when they have created their controller, model, and view. The basic step is to start the web server and navigate to “http://localhost/myapp“. This webpage will display the “users” table with their IDs, names, and emails to the user. The users can also add new users by clicking the “Add User” button and entering their names and emails. Pressing the “save” button will send the request to the controller and add the new users to the user’s database.

Note: The users much replace “myapp” with the name of their project directory.

Additional Features of CakePHP

Developers should know several additional features and best practices when building web applications with CakePHP. Here are a few tips to help them get the most out of CakePHP:

1.  Use CakePHP’s ORM

One of the main benefits of using CakePHP is its Object Relational Mapping (ORM) system. It allows developers to interact with the database using PHP classes and objects rather than writing SQL queries directly.

The users can define a model class for each database table, which extends the Cake\ORM\Table class. This class defines the table name, columns, and relationships to other tables. They can then interact with the database using the model’s methods, such as find(), save(), and delete().

Furthermore, the developers can write less code and reduce the risk of SQL injection attacks by using CakePHP’s ORM. Additionally, CakePHP’s query builder allows developers to write complex queries in a more readable and maintainable way.

2. Validate User Input

When building web applications, it is essential to validate user input to prevent malicious attacks and ensure that the application behaves as expected. CakePHP provides several validation features to help with this security check.

In CakePHP, the users can define validation rules for each model field, such as required, unique, and length constraints. Moreover, they can also define custom validation rules using callback functions. When user input is submitted, CakePHP automatically validates it according to these rules and returns any validation errors.

Additionally, the users can use CakePHP’s form helper to display these errors to the user, which automatically generates form elements and displays validation errors next to each field. It helps ensure that users enter valid data and provides a better user experience.

3. Use CakePHP’s Built-in Authentication System

Another powerful feature is its built-in authentication system. This feature allows users to implement user authentication and authorization in their applications quickly.

Also, the users can define an authentication adapter to use CakePHP’s authentication system, which handles the authentication logic. This adapter can use various authentication methods, such as form-based login, token-based login, and OAuth.

Once the authentication adapter is defined, the users can use CakePHP’s authentication middleware to protect specific routes in their application. This middleware checks whether the user is authenticated and redirects them to the login page if necessary.

Furthermore, the users can ensure that only authorized users can access their application and its resources using CakePHP’s authentication system.

4. Follow CakePHP’s Conventions

CakePHP follows a set of conventions for file and directory naming, class and method naming, and code organization. Following these conventions can help the users make their code more readable and easier to maintain, as other developers will be familiar with the expected structure and behavior.


Finally, CakePHP is a robust, flexible framework that simplifies web application building. With its streamlined development environment and powerful features, CakePHP is an excellent choice for PHP developers who want to create modern, responsive web applications. Following the steps in this tutorial, the users can create their first web application using CakePHP and explore the framework’s features and capabilities to build advanced applications on top of the basic skeleton they learned in this article.


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