Shell Helpers

New in version 2.8: Shell Helpers were added in 2.8.0

Shell Helpers let you package up complex output generation code. Shell Helpers can be accessed and used from any shell or task:

// Output some data as a table.

// Get a helper from a plugin.

You can also get instances of helpers and call any public methods on them:

// Get and use the Progress Helper.
$progress = $this->helper('Progress');

Creating Helpers

While CakePHP comes with a few shell helpers you can create more in your application or plugins. As an example, we’ll create a simple helper to generate fancy headings. First create the app/Console/Helper/HeadingHelper.php and put the following in it:

App::uses("BaseShellHelper", "Console/Helper");

class HeadingHelper extends BaseShellHelper
    public function output($args)
        $args += array('', '#', 3);
        $marker = str_repeat($args[1], $args[2]);
        $this->_consoleOutput->out($marker . ' ' . $args[0] . ' ' . $marker);

We can then use this new helper in one of our shell commands by calling it:

// With ### on either side
$this->helper('heading')->output('It works!');

// With ~~~~ on either side
$this->helper('heading')->output('It works!', '~', 4);

Built-In Helpers

Table Helper

The TableHelper assists in making well formatted ASCII art tables. Using it is pretty simple:

$data = array(
    array('Header 1', 'Header', 'Long Header'),
    array('short', 'Longish thing', 'short'),
    array('Longer thing', 'short', 'Longest Value'),

// Outputs
| Header 1     | Header        | Long Header   |
| short        | Longish thing | short         |
| Longer thing | short         | Longest Value |

Progress Helper

The ProgressHelper can be used in two different ways. The simple mode lets you provide a callback that is invoked until the progress is complete:

$this->helper('progress')->output(function ($progress) {
    // Do work here.

You can control the progress bar more by providing additional options:

  • total The total number of items in the progress bar. Defaults to 100.
  • width The width of the progress bar. Defaults to 80.
  • callback The callback that will be called in a loop to advance the progress bar.

An example of all the options in use would be:

    'total' => 10,
    'width' => 20,
    'callback' => function ($progress) {

The progress helper can also be used manually to increment and re-render the progress bar as necessary:

$progress = $this->helper('Progress');
    'total' => 10,
    'width' => 20,