New features in CakePHP 1.3

CakePHP 1.3 introduced a number of new features. This guide attempts to summarize those changes and point to expanded documentation where necessary.



The various requireXX methods like requireGet and requirePost now accept a single array as their argument as well as a collection of string names.

$this->Security->requirePost(array('edit', 'update'));

Component settings

Component settings for all core components can now be set from the $components array. Much like behaviors, you can declare settings for components when you declare the component.

var $components = array(
    'Cookie' => array(
        'name' => 'MyCookie'
    'Auth' => array(
        'userModel' => 'MyUser',
        'loginAction' => array('controller' => 'users', 'action' => 'login')

This should reduce clutter in your Controller’s beforeFilter() methods.


  • You can now retrieve the rendered contents of sent Email messages, by reading $this->Email->htmlMessage and $this->Email->textMessage. These properties will contain the rendered email content matching their name.
  • Many of EmailComponent’s private methods have been made protected for easier extension.
  • EmailComponent::$to can now be an array. Allowing easier setting of multiple recipients, and consistency with other properties.
  • EmailComponent::$messageId has been added, it allows control over the Message-ID header for email messages.

View & Helpers

Helpers can now be addressed at $this->Helper->func() in addition to $helper->func(). This allows view variables and helpers to share names and not create collisions.

New JsHelper and new features in HtmlHelper

See JsHelper documentation for more information

Pagination Helper

Pagination helper provides additional CSS classes for styling and you can set the default sort() direction. PaginatorHelper::next() and PaginatorHelper::prev() now generate span tags by default, instead of divs.


Helper::assetTimestamp() has been added. It will add timestamps to any asset under WWW_ROOT. It works with Configure::read('Asset.timestamp'); just as before, but the functionality used in Html and Javascript helpers has been made available to all helpers. Assuming Asset.timestamp == force

$path = 'css/cake.generic.css'
$stamped = $this->Html->assetTimestamp($path);

//$stamped contains 'css/cake.generic.css?5632934892'

The appended timestamp contains the last modification time of the file. Since this method is defined in Helper it is available to all subclasses.


highlight() now accepts an array of words to highlight.


A new method addFormat() has been added. This method allows you to set currency parameter sets, so you don’t have to retype them:

$this->Number->addFormat('NOK', array('before' => 'Kr. '));
$formatted = $this->Number->currency(1000, 'NOK');


The form helper has had a number of improvements and API modifications, see Form Helper improvements for more information.


Logging and CakeLog have been enhanced considerably, both in features and flexibility. See New Logging features for more information.


Cache engines have been made more flexible in 1.3. You can now provide custom Cache adapters in app/libs as well as in plugins using $plugin/libs. App/plugin cache engines can also override the core engines. Cache adapters must be in a cache directory. If you had a cache engine named MyCustomCacheEngine it would be placed in either app/libs/cache/my_custom_cache.php as an app/libs. Or in $plugin/libs/cache/my_custom_cache.php as part of a plugin. Cache configs from plugins need to use the plugin dot syntax:

Cache::config('custom', array(
    'engine' => 'CachePack.MyCustomCache',

App and Plugin cache engines should be configured in app/bootstrap.php. If you try to configure them in core.php they will not work correctly.

New Cache methods

Cache has a few new methods for 1.3 which make introspection and testing teardown easier.

  • Cache::configured() returns an array of configured Cache engine keys.
  • Cache::drop($config) drops a configured Cache engine. Once dropped cache engines are no longer readable or writeable.
  • Cache::increment() Perform an atomic increment on a numeric value. This is not implemented in FileEngine.
  • Cache::decrement() Perform an atomic decrement on a numeric value. This is not implemented in FileEngine.

Models, Behaviors and Datasource

App::import(), datasources & datasources from plugins

Datasources can now be included loaded with App::import() and be included in plugins! To include a datasource in your plugin you put it in my_plugin/models/datasources/your_datasource.php. To import a Datasource from a plugin use App::import('Datasource', 'MyPlugin.YourDatasource');

Using plugin datasources in your database.php

You can use plugin datasources by setting the datasource key with the plugin name. For example if you had a WebservicePack plugin with a LastFm datasource (plugin/webservice_pack/models/datasources/last_fm.php), you could do:

var $lastFm = array(
    'datasource' => 'WebservicePack.LastFm'


  • Missing Validation methods now trigger errors, making debugging why validation isn’t working easier.
  • Models now support virtual fields.


Using behaviors that do not exist, now triggers a cakeError making missing behaviors easier to find and fix.


CakeSchema can now locate, read and write schema files to plugins. The SchemaShell also exposes this functionality, see below for changes to SchemaShell. CakeSchema also supports tableParameters. Table Parameters are non column specific table information such as collation, charset, comments, and table engine type. Each Dbo implements the tableParameters they support.

tableParameters in MySQL

MySQL supports the greatest number of tableParameters; You can use tableParameters to set a variety of MySQL specific settings.

  • engine Control the storage engine used for your tables.
  • charset Control the character set used for tables.
  • encoding Control the encoding used for tables.

In addition to tableParameters MySQL dbo’s implement fieldParameters. fieldParameters allow you to control MySQL specific settings per column.

  • charset Set the character set used for a column
  • encoding Set the encoding used for a column

See below for examples on how to use table and field parameters in your schema files.

tableParameters in Postgres

tableParameters in SQLite

Using tableParameters in schema files

You use tableParameters just as you would any other key in a schema file. Much like indexes:

var $comments => array(
    'id' => array(
      'type' => 'integer',
      'null' => false,
      'default' => 0,
      'key' => 'primary'
    'post_id' => array('type' => 'integer', 'null' => false, 'default' => 0),
    'comment' => array('type' => 'text'),
    'indexes' => array(
        'PRIMARY' => array('column' => 'id', 'unique' => true),
        'post_id' => array('column' => 'post_id'),
    'tableParameters' => array(
        'engine' => 'InnoDB',
        'charset' => 'latin1',
        'collate' => 'latin1_general_ci'

is an example of a table using tableParameters to set some database specific settings. If you use a schema file that contains options and features your database does not implement, those options will be ignored. For example if you imported the above schema to a PostgreSQL server, all of the tableParameters would be ignore as PostgreSQL does not support any of the included options.



Bake has had a number of significant changes made to it. Those changes are detailed in the bake updates section


The ShellDispatcher has been modified to not require shells and tasks to have Shell as their immediate parent anymore.


Shell::nl() has been added. It returns a single or multiple linefeed sequences. Shell::out(), err() and hr() now accept a $newlines parameter which is passed to nl() and allows for controlling how newlines are appended to the output.

Shell::out() and Shell::err() have been modified, allowing a parameterless usage. This is especially useful if you’re often using $this->out('') for outputting just a single newline.

Acl Shell

All AclShell commands now take node parameters. node parameters can be either an alias path like controllers/Posts/view or Model.foreign_key ie. User.1. You no longer need to know or use the aco/aro id for commands.

The Acl shell dataSource switch has been removed. Use the Configure settings instead.


The Schema shell can now read and write Schema files and SQL dumps to plugins. It expects and will create schema files in $plugin/config/schema

Router and Dispatcher


Generating URLs with new style prefixes works exactly the same as admin routing did in 1.2. They use the same syntax and persist/behave in the same way. Assuming you have Configure::write('Routing.prefixes', array('admin', 'member')); in your core.php you will be able to do the following from a non-prefixed URL:

  array('controller' => 'posts', 'action' => 'index', 'member' => true)
  array('controller' => 'posts', 'action' => 'index', 'admin' => true)

Likewise, if you are in a prefixed URL and want to go to a non-prefixed URL, do the following:

    'controller' => 'posts',
    'action' => 'index',
    'member' => false
    'controller' => 'posts',
    'action' => 'index',
    'admin' => false

Route classes

For 1.3 the router has been internally rebuilt, and a new class CakeRoute has been created. This class handles the parsing and reverse matching of an individual connected route. Also new in 1.3 is the ability to create and use your own Route classes. You can implement any special routing features that may be needed in application routing classes. Developer route classes must extend CakeRoute, if they do not an error will be triggered. Commonly a custom route class will override the parse() and/or match() methods found in CakeRoute to provide custom handling.


  • Accessing filtered asset paths, while having no defined asset filter will create 404 status code responses.

Library classes


You can now globally customize the default transliteration map used in Inflector::slug using Inflector::rules. Example Inflector::rules('transliteration', array('/å/' => 'aa', '/ø/' => 'oe'))

The Inflector now also internally caches all data passed to it for inflection (except slug method).


Set has a new method Set::apply(), which allows you to apply callbacks to the results of Set::extract and do so in either a map or reduce fashion:

Set::apply('/Movie/rating', $data, 'array_sum');

Would return the sum of all Movie ratings in $data.


All languages in the catalog now have a direction key. This can be used to determine/define the text direction of the locale being used.


  • File now has a copy() method. It copies the file represented by the file instance, to a new location.


  • Configure::load() can now load configuration files from plugins. Use Configure::load('plugin.file'); to load configuration files from plugins. Any configuration files in your application that use . in the name should be updated to used _


In addition to app/vendors a new app/libs directory has been added. This directory can also be part of plugins, located at $plugin/libs. Libs directories are intended to contain 1st party libraries that do not come from 3rd parties or external vendors. This allows you to separate your organization’s internal libraries from vendor libraries. App::import() has also been updated to import from libs directories:

App::import('Lib', 'ImageManipulation'); //imports app/libs/image_manipulation.php

You can also import libs files from plugins:

App::import('Lib', 'Geocoding.Geocode'); //imports app/plugins/geocoding/libs/geocode.php

The remainder of lib importing syntax is identical to vendor files. So if you know how to import vendor files with unique names, you know how to import libs files with unique names.


  • The default Security.level in 1.3 is medium instead of high
  • There is a new configuration value Security.cipherSeed this value should be customized to ensure more secure encrypted cookies, and a warning will be generated in development mode when the value matches its default value.


Now you can use locale definition files for the LC_TIME category to retrieve date and time preferences for a specific language. Just use any POSIX compliant locale definition file and store it at app/locale/language/ (do not create a folder for the category LC_TIME, just put the file in there).

For example, if you have access to a machine running debian or ubuntu you can find a french locale file at: /usr/share/i18n/locales/fr_FR. Copy the part corresponding to LC_TIME into app/locale/fr_fr/LC_TIME file. You can then access the time preferences for French language this way:

Configure::write('Config.language','fr-fr'); // set the current language
$monthNames = __c('mon',LC_TIME,true); // returns an array with the month names in French
$dateFormat = __c('d_fmt',LC_TIME,true); // return the preferred dates format for France

You can read a complete guide of possible values in LC_TIME definition file in this page


Error Handling

Subclasses of ErrorHandler can more easily implement additional error methods. In the past you would need to override __construct() and work around ErrorHandler’s desire to convert all error methods into error404 when debug = 0. In 1.3, error methods that are declared in subclasses are not converted to error404. If you want your error methods converted into error404, then you will need to do it manually.


With the addition of Routing.prefixes scaffolding has been updated to allow the scaffolding of any one prefix:

Configure::write('Routing.prefixes', array('admin', 'member'));

class PostsController extends AppController {
    var $scaffold = 'member';

Would use scaffolding for member prefixed URLs.


After 1.2 was released, there were numerous requests to add additional localizations to the phone() and postal() methods. Instead of trying to add every locale to Validation itself, which would result in large bloated ugly methods, and still not afford the flexibility needed for all cases, an alternate path was taken. In 1.3, phone() and postal() will pass off any country prefix it does not know how to handle to another class with the appropriate name. For example if you lived in the Netherlands you would create a class like:

class NlValidation {
    public function phone($check) {
    public function postal($check) {

This file could be placed anywhere in your application, but must be imported before attempting to use it. In your model validation you could use your NlValidation class by doing the following:

public $validate = array(
    'phone_no' => array('rule' => array('phone', null, 'nl')),
    'postal_code' => array('rule' => array('postal', null, 'nl'))

When your model data is validated, Validation will see that it cannot handle the ‘nl’ locale and will attempt to delegate out to NlValidation::postal() and the return of that method will be used as the pass/fail for the validation. This approach allows you to create classes that handle a subset or group of locales, something that a large switch would not have. The usage of the individual validation methods has not changed, the ability to pass off to another validator has been added.

IP Address Validation

Validation of IP Addresses has been extended to allow strict validation of a specific IP Version. It will also make use of PHP native validation mechanisms if available:

Validation::ip($someAddress);         // Validates both IPv4 and IPv6
Validation::ip($someAddress, 'IPv4'); // Validates IPv4 Addresses only
Validation::ip($someAddress, 'IPv6'); // Validates IPv6 Addresses only


A uuid() pattern validation has been added to the Validation class. It will check that a given string matches a UUID by pattern only. It does not ensure uniqueness of the given UUID.