How To Use Plugins

Before you can use a plugin, you must install and enable it first. See How To Install Plugins.

Plugin Configuration

There is a lot you can do with the load and loadAll methods to help with plugin configuration and routing. Perhaps you want to load all plugins automatically, while specifying custom routes and bootstrap files for certain plugins.

No problem:

    'Blog' => array('routes' => true),
    'ContactManager' => array('bootstrap' => true),
    'WebmasterTools' => array('bootstrap' => true, 'routes' => true),

With this style of configuration, you no longer need to manually include() or require() a plugin’s configuration or routes file–It happens automatically at the right time and place. The exact same parameters could have also been supplied to the load() method, which would have loaded only those three plugins, and not the rest.

Finally, you can also specify a set of defaults for loadAll which will apply to every plugin that doesn’t have a more specific configuration.

Load the bootstrap file from all plugins, and additionally the routes from the Blog plugin:

    array('bootstrap' => true),
    'Blog' => array('routes' => true)

Note that all files specified should actually exist in the configured plugin(s) or PHP will give warnings for each file it cannot load. This is especially important to remember when specifying defaults for all plugins.

CakePHP 2.3.0 added an ignoreMissing option, that allows you to ignore any missing routes and bootstrap files when loading plugins. You can shorten the code needed to load all plugins using this:

// Loads all plugins including any possible routes and bootstrap files
    array('routes' => true, 'bootstrap' => true, 'ignoreMissing' => true)

Some plugins additionally need to create one or more tables in your database. In those cases, they will often include a schema file which you can call from the cake shell like this:

user@host$ cake schema create --plugin ContactManager

Most plugins will indicate the proper procedure for configuring them and setting up the database in their documentation. Some plugins will require more setup than others.

Advanced Bootstrapping

If you like to load more than one bootstrap file for a plugin. You can specify an array of files for the bootstrap configuration key:

    'Blog' => array(
        'bootstrap' => array(

You can also specify a callable function that needs to be called when the plugin has been loaded:

function aCallableFunction($pluginName, $config) {


    'Blog' => array(
        'bootstrap' => 'aCallableFunction'

Using a Plugin

You can reference a plugin’s controllers, models, components, behaviors, and helpers by prefixing the name of the plugin before the class name.

For example, say you wanted to use the ContactManager plugin’s ContactInfoHelper to output some pretty contact information in one of your views. In your controller, your $helpers array could look like this:

public $helpers = array('ContactManager.ContactInfo');

You would then be able to access the ContactInfoHelper just like any other helper in your view, such as:

echo $this->ContactInfo->address($contact);