Patches and pull requests are a great way to contribute code back to CakePHP. Pull requests can be created in GitHub, and are preferred over patch files in ticket comments.

Initial Setup

Before working on patches for CakePHP, it’s a good idea to get your environment setup. You’ll need the following software:

  • Git
  • PHP 5.6.0 or greater
  • PHPUnit 5.7.0 or greater

Set up your user information with your name/handle and working email address:

git config --global 'Bob Barker'
git config --global ''


If you are new to Git, we highly recommend you to read the excellent and free ProGit book.

Get a clone of the CakePHP source code from GitHub:

After your fork is made, clone your fork to your local machine:

git clone

Add the original CakePHP repository as a remote repository. You’ll use this later to fetch changes from the CakePHP repository. This will let you stay up to date with CakePHP:

cd cakephp
git remote add upstream git://

Now that you have CakePHP setup you should be able to define a $test database connection, and run all the tests.

Working on a Patch

Each time you want to work on a bug, feature or enhancement create a topic branch.

The branch you create should be based on the version that your fix/enhancement is for. For example if you are fixing a bug in 3.x you would want to use the master branch as the base for your branch. If your change is a bug fix for the 2.x release series, you should use the 2.x branch. This makes merging your changes in later much simpler, as Github does not let you edit the target branch:

# fixing a bug on 3.x
git fetch upstream
git checkout -b ticket-1234 upstream/master

# fixing a bug on 2.x
git fetch upstream
git checkout -b ticket-1234 upstream/2.x


Use a descriptive name for your branch, referencing the ticket or feature name is a good convention. e.g. ticket-1234, feature-awesome

The above will create a local branch based on the upstream (CakePHP) 2.x branch. Work on your fix, and make as many commits as you need; but keep in mind the following:

  • Follow the Coding Standards.
  • Add a test case to show the bug is fixed, or that the new feature works.
  • Keep your commits logical, and write good clear and concise commit messages.

Submitting a Pull Request

Once your changes are done and you’re ready for them to be merged into CakePHP, you’ll want to update your branch:

# Rebase fix on top of master
git checkout master
git fetch upstream
git merge upstream/master
git checkout <branch_name>
git rebase master

This will fetch + merge in any changes that have happened in CakePHP since you started. It will then rebase - or replay your changes on top of the current code. You might encounter a conflict during the rebase. If the rebase quits early you can see which files are conflicted/un-merged with git status. Resolve each conflict, and then continue the rebase:

git add <filename> # do this for each conflicted file.
git rebase --continue

Check that all your tests continue to pass. Then push your branch to your fork:

git push origin <branch-name>

If you’ve rebased after pushing your branch, you’ll need to use force push:

git push --force origin <branch-name>

Once your branch is on GitHub, you can submit a pull request on GitHub.

Choosing Where Your Changes will be Merged Into

When making pull requests you should make sure you select the correct base branch, as you cannot edit it once the pull request is created.

  • If your change is a bugfix and doesn’t introduce new functionality and only corrects existing behavior that is present in the current release. Then choose master as your merge target.
  • If your change is a new feature or an addition to the framework, then you should choose the branch with the next version number. For example if the current stable release is 3.2.10, the branch accepting new features will be
  • If your change is a breaks existing functionality, or API’s then you’ll have to choose then next major release. For example, if the current release is 3.2.2 then the next time existing behavior can be broken will be in 4.x so you should target that branch.


Remember that all code you contribute to CakePHP will be licensed under the MIT License, and the Cake Software Foundation will become the owner of any contributed code. Contributors should follow the CakePHP Community Guidelines.

All bug fixes merged into a maintenance branch will also be merged into upcoming releases periodically by the core team.