Coding Standards

CakePHP developers will use the following coding standards.

It is recommended that others developing CakeIngredients follow the same standards.

You can use the CakePHP Code Sniffer to check that your code follows required standards.


All code and comments should be written in English.

Adding New Features

No new features should be added, without having their own tests – which should be passed before committing them to the repository.


One tab will be used for indentation.

So, indentation should look like this:

// base level
    // level 1
        // level 2
    // level 1
// base level


$booleanVariable = true;
$stringVariable = 'moose';
if ($booleanVariable) {
    echo 'Boolean value is true';
    if ($stringVariable === 'moose') {
        echo 'We have encountered a moose';

In cases where you’re using a multi-line function call use the following guidelines:

  • Opening parenthesis of a multi-line function call must be the last content on the line.

  • Only one argument is allowed per line in a multi-line function call.

  • Closing parenthesis of a multi-line function call must be on a line by itself.

As an example, instead of using the following formatting:

$matches = array_intersect_key($this->_listeners,
                    array_keys($this->_listeners), 0)));

Use this instead:

$matches = array_intersect_key(
        preg_grep($matchPattern, array_keys($this->_listeners), 0)

Line Length

It is recommended to keep lines at approximately 100 characters long for better code readability. Lines must not be longer than 120 characters.

In short:

  • 100 characters is the soft limit.

  • 120 characters is the hard limit.

Control Structures

Control structures are for example “if”, “for”, “foreach”, “while”, “switch” etc. Below, an example with “if”:

if ((expr_1) || (expr_2)) {
    // action_1;
} elseif (!(expr_3) && (expr_4)) {
    // action_2;
} else {
    // default_action;
  • In the control structures there should be 1 (one) space before the first parenthesis and 1 (one) space between the last parenthesis and the opening bracket.

  • Always use curly brackets in control structures, even if they are not needed. They increase the readability of the code, and they give you fewer logical errors.

  • Opening curly brackets should be placed on the same line as the control structure. Closing curly brackets should be placed on new lines, and they should have same indentation level as the control structure. The statement included in curly brackets should begin on a new line, and code contained within it should gain a new level of indentation.

  • Inline assignments should not be used inside of the control structures.

// wrong = no brackets, badly placed statement
if (expr) statement;

// wrong = no brackets
if (expr)

// good
if (expr) {

// wrong = inline assignment
if ($variable = Class::function()) {

// good
$variable = Class::function();
if ($variable) {

Ternary Operator

Ternary operators are permissible when the entire ternary operation fits on one line. Longer ternaries should be split into if else statements. Ternary operators should not ever be nested. Optionally parentheses can be used around the condition check of the ternary for clarity:

// Good, simple and readable
$variable = isset($options['variable']) ? $options['variable'] : true;

// Nested ternaries are bad
$variable = isset($options['variable']) ? isset($options['othervar']) ? true : false : false;

View Files

In view files (.ctp files) developers should use keyword control structures. Keyword control structures are easier to read in complex view files. Control structures can either be contained in a larger PHP block, or in separate PHP tags:

if ($isAdmin):
    echo '<p>You are the admin user.</p>';
<p>The following is also acceptable:</p>
<?php if ($isAdmin): ?>
    <p>You are the admin user.</p>
<?php endif; ?>

We allow PHP closing tags (?>) at the end of .ctp files.


Always try to be as strict as possible. If a none strict test is deliberate it might be wise to comment it as such to avoid confusing it for a mistake.

For testing if a variable is null, it is recommended to use a strict check:

if ($value === null) {
      // ...

The value to check against should be placed on the right side:

// not recommended
if (null === $this->foo()) {
    // ...

// recommended
if ($this->foo() === null) {
    // ...

Function Calls

Functions should be called without space between function’s name and starting bracket. There should be one space between every parameter of a function call:

$var = foo($bar, $bar2, $bar3);

As you can see above there should be one space on both sides of equals sign (=).

Method Definition

Example of a method definition:

public function someFunction($arg1, $arg2 = '') {
    if (expr) {
    return $var;

Parameters with a default value, should be placed last in function definition. Try to make your functions return something, at least true or false, so it can be determined whether the function call was successful:

public function connection($dns, $persistent = false) {
    if (is_array($dns)) {
        $dnsInfo = $dns;
    } else {
        $dnsInfo = BD::parseDNS($dns);

    if (!($dnsInfo) || !($dnsInfo['phpType'])) {
        return $this->addError();
    return true;

There are spaces on both side of the equals sign.


Arguments that expect objects or arrays can be typehinted:

 * Some method description.
 * @param Model $Model The model to use.
 * @param array $array Some array value.
 * @param bool $boolean Some boolean value.
public function foo(Model $Model, array $array, $boolean) {

Here $Model must be an instance of Model and $array must be an array.

Note that if you want to allow $array to be also an instance of ArrayObject you should not typehint as array accepts only the primitive type:

 * Some method description.
 * @param array|ArrayObject $array Some array value.
public function foo($array) {

Method Chaining

Method chaining should have multiple methods spread across separate lines, and indented with one tab:

$email->from('[email protected]')
    ->to('[email protected]')
    ->subject('A great message')


All comment blocks, with the exception of the first block in a file, should always be preceded by a newline.

File Header DocBlock

All PHP files should contain a file header DocBlock, which should look like this:

* CakePHP(tm) : Rapid Development Framework (
* Copyright (c) Cake Software Foundation, Inc. (
* Licensed under The MIT License
* For full copyright and license information, please see the LICENSE.txt
* Redistributions of files must retain the above copyright notice.
* @copyright     Copyright (c) Cake Software Foundation, Inc. (
* @link CakePHP(tm) Project
* @since         X.Y.Z
* @license MIT License

The included phpDocumentor tags are:

Class DocBlocks

Class DocBlocks should look like this:

 * Short description of the class.
 * Long description of class.
 * Can use multiple lines.
 * @deprecated 3.0.0 Deprecated in 2.6.0. Will be removed in 3.0.0. Use Bar instead.
 * @see Bar
 * @link
class Foo {


Class DocBlocks may contain the following phpDocumentor tags:

Property DocBlocks

Property DocBlocks should look like this:

 * @var string|null Description of property.
 * @deprecated 3.0.0 Deprecated as of 2.5.0. Will be removed in 3.0.0. Use $_bla instead.
 * @see Bar::$_bla
 * @link
protected $_bar = null;

Property DocBlocks may contain the following phpDocumentor tags:

Method/Function DocBlocks

Method and functions DocBlocks should look like this:

 * Short description of the method.
 * Long description of method.
 * Can use multiple lines.
 * @param string $param2 first parameter.
 * @param array|null $param2 Second parameter.
 * @return array An array of cakes.
 * @throws Exception If something goes wrong.
 * @link
 * @deprecated 3.0.0 Deprecated as of 2.5.0. Will be removed in 3.0.0. Use Bar::baz instead.
 * @see Bar::baz
 public function bar($param1, $param2 = null) {

Method and function DocBLocks may contain the following phpDocumentor tags:

Variable Types

Variable types for use in DocBlocks:




A variable with undefined (or multiple) type.


Integer type variable (whole number).


Float type (point number).


Logical type (true or false).


String type (any value in ” ” or ‘ ‘).


Null type. Usually used in conjunction with another type.


Array type.


Object type. A specific class name should be used if possible.


Resource type (returned by for example mysql_connect()). Remember that when you specify the type as mixed, you should indicate whether it is unknown, or what the possible types are.


Callable function.

You can also combine types using the pipe char:


For more than two types it is usually best to just use mixed.

When returning the object itself, e.g. for chaining, one should use $this instead:

 * Foo function.
 * @return $this
public function foo() {
    return $this;

Including Files

include, require, include_once and require_once do not have parentheses:

// wrong = parentheses
require_once ($class);

// good = no parentheses
require_once 'ClassFileName.php';
require_once $class;

When including files with classes or libraries, use only and always the require_once function.

PHP Tags

Always use long tags (<?php ?>) Instead of short tags (<? ?>).

Naming Convention


Write all functions in camelBack:

function longFunctionName() {


Class names should be written in CamelCase, for example:

class ExampleClass {


Variable names should be as descriptive as possible, but also as short as possible. All variables should start with a lowercase letter, and should be written in camelBack in case of multiple words. Variables referencing objects should in some way associate to the class the variable is an object of. Example:

$user = 'John';
$users = array('John', 'Hans', 'Arne');

$dispatcher = new Dispatcher();

Member Visibility

Use PHP5’s private and protected keywords for methods and variables. Additionally, protected method or variable names start with a single underscore (_). Example:

class A {
    protected $_iAmAProtectedVariable;

    protected function _iAmAProtectedMethod() {
       /* ... */

Private methods or variable names start with double underscore (__). Example:

class A {
    private $__iAmAPrivateVariable;

    private function __iAmAPrivateMethod() {
        /* ... */

Try to avoid private methods or variables, though, in favor of protected ones. The latter can be accessed or modified by subclasses, whereas private ones prevent extension or re-use. Private visibility also makes testing much more difficult.

Example Addresses

For all example URL and mail addresses use “”, “” and “”, for example:

The “” domain name has been reserved for this (see RFC 2606) and is recommended for use in documentation or as examples.


File names which do not contain classes should be lowercased and underscored, for example:



For casting we use:




Cast to boolean.


Cast to integer.


Cast to float.


Cast to string.


Cast to array.


Cast to object.

Please use (int)$var instead of intval($var) and (float)$var instead of floatval($var) when applicable.


Constants should be defined in capital letters:

define('CONSTANT', 1);

If a constant name consists of multiple words, they should be separated by an underscore character, for example: