Code Generation with Bake

You’ve already learned about scaffolding in CakePHP: a simple way to get up and running with only a database and some bare classes. CakePHP’s Bake console is another effort to get you up and running in CakePHP – fast. The Bake console can create any of CakePHP’s basic ingredients: models, views and controllers. And we aren’t just talking skeleton classes: Bake can create a fully functional application in just a few minutes. In fact, Bake is a natural step to take once an application has been scaffolded.

Those new to Bake (especially Windows users) may find the Bake screencast helpful in setting things up before continuing.

Depending on the configuration of your setup, you may have to set execute rights on the cake bash script or call it using ./cake bake. The cake console is run using the PHP CLI (command line interface). If you have problems running the script, ensure that you have the PHP CLI installed and that it has the proper modules enabled (eg: MySQL).

When running Bake for the first time, you’ll be prompted to create a Database Configuration file, if you haven’t created one already.

After you’ve created a Database Configuration file, running Bake will present you with the following options:

App : app
Path: /path-to/project/app
Interactive Bake Shell
[D]atabase Configuration
[T]est case
What would you like to Bake? (D/M/V/C/P/F/T/Q)

Alternatively, you can run any of these commands directly from the command line:

$ cake bake db_config
$ cake bake model
$ cake bake view
$ cake bake controller
$ cake bake project
$ cake bake fixture
$ cake bake test
$ cake bake plugin plugin_name
$ cake bake all

Bake improvements in 1.3

For 1.3 bake has had a significant overhaul, and a number of features and enhancements have been built in.

  • Two new tasks (FixtureTask and TestTask) are accessible from the main bake menu
  • A third task (TemplateTask) has been added for use in your shells.
  • All the different bake tasks now allow you to use connections other than default for baking. Using the -connection parameter.
  • Plugin support has been greatly improved. You can use either -plugin PluginName or Plugin.class.
  • Questions have been clarified, and made easier to understand.
  • Multiple validations on models has been added.
  • Self Associated models using parent_id are now detected. For example if your model is named Thread, a ParentThread and ChildThread association will be created.
  • Fixtures and Tests can be baked separately.
  • Baked Tests include as many fixtures as they know about, including plugin detection (plugin detection does not work on PHP4).

So with the laundry list of features, we’ll take some time to look at some of the new commands, new parameters and updated features.

New FixtureTask, TestTask and TemplateTask.

Fixture and test baking were a bit of a pain in the past. You could only generate tests when baking the classes, and fixtures could only be generated when baking models. This made adding tests to your applications later or even regenerating fixtures with new schemas a bit painful. For 1.3 we’ve separated out Fixture and Test making them separate tasks. This allows you to re-run them and regenerate tests and fixtures at any point in your development process.

In addition to being rebuildable at any time, baked tests are now attempt to find as many fixtures as possible. In the past getting into testing often involved fighting through numerous ‘Missing Table’ errors. With more advanced fixture detection we hope to make testing easier and more accessible.

Test cases also generate skeleton test methods for every non-inherited public method in your classes. Saving you one extra step.

TemplateTask is a behind the scenes task, and it handles file generation from templates. In previous versions of CakePHP baked views were template based, but all other code was not. With 1.3 almost all the content in the files generated by bake are controlled by templates and the TemplateTask.

The FixtureTask not only generates fixtures with dummy data, but using the interactive options or the -records option you can enable fixture generation using live data.

New bake command

New commands have been added to make baking easier and faster. Controller, Model, View baking all feature an all subcommand, that builds everything at once and makes speedy rebuilds easy.

cake bake model all

Would bake all the models for an application in one shot. Similarly cake bake controller all would bake all controllers and cake bake view all would generate all view files. Parameters on the ControllerTask have changed as well. cake bake controller scaffold is now cake bake controller public. ViewTask has had an -admin flag added, using -admin will allow you to bake views for actions that begin with Routing.admin

As mentioned before cake bake fixture and cake bake test are new, and have several subcommands each. cake bake fixture all will regenerate all the basic fixtures for your application. The -count parameter allows you to set the number of fake records that are created. By running fixture task interactively you can generate fixtures using the data in your live tables. You can use cake bake test <type> <class> to create test cases for already created objects in your app. Type should be one of the standard CakePHP types (‘component’, ‘controller’, ‘model’, ‘helper’, ‘behavior’) but doesn’t have to be. Class should be an existing object of the chosen type.

Templates Galore

New in bake for 1.3 is the addition of more templates. In 1.2 baked views used templates that could be changed to modify the view files bake generated. In 1.3 templates are used to generate all output from bake. There are separate templates for controllers, controller action sets, fixtures, models, test cases, and the view files from 1.2. As well as more templates, you can also have multiple template sets or, bake themes. Bake themes can be provided in your app, or as part of plugins. An example plugin path for bake theme would be app/plugins/bake_theme/vendors/shells/templates/dark_red/. An app bake theme called blue_bunny would be placed in app/vendors/shells/templates/blue_bunny. You can look at cake/console/templates/default/ to see what directories and files are required of a bake theme. However, like view files, if your bake theme doesn’t implement a template, other installed themes will be checked until the correct template is found.

Additional plugin support.

New in 1.3 are additional ways to specify plugin names when using bake. In addition to cake bake plugin Todo controller Posts, there are two new forms. cake bake controller Todo.Posts and cake bake controller Posts -plugin Todo. The plugin parameter can be while using interactive bake as well. cake bake controller -plugin Todo, for example will allow you to use interactive bake to add controllers to your Todo plugin. Additional / multiple plugin paths are supported as well. In the past bake required your plugin to be in app/plugins. In 1.3 bake will find which of the pluginPaths the named plugin is located on, and add the files there.