Shell Helpers

New in version 3.1: Shell Helpers were added in 3.1.0

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 src/Shell/Helper/HeadingHelper.php and put the following in it:

namespace App\Shell\Helper;

use Cake\Console\Helper;

class HeadingHelper extends Helper
    public function output($args)
        $args += ['', '#', 3];
        $marker = str_repeat($args[1], $args[2]);
        $this->_io->out($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]);

Helpers generally implement the output() method which takes an array of parameters. However, because Console Helpers are vanilla classes they can implement additional methods that take any form of arguments.

Built-In Helpers

Table Helper

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

$data = [
    ['Header 1', 'Header', 'Long Header'],
    ['short', 'Longish thing', 'short'],
    ['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:

$this->helper('Progress')->output(['callback' => function ($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,