Contributing to the documentation is simple. The files are hosted on Feel free to fork the repo, add your changes/improvements/translations and give back by issuing a pull request. You can even edit the docs online with GitHub, without ever downloading the files – the “Improve this Doc” button on any given page will direct you to GitHub’s online editor for that page.

CakePHP documentation is continuously integrated, and deployed after each pull request is merged.


Email the docs team (docs at cakephp dot org) or hop on IRC (#cakephp on freenode) to discuss any translation efforts you would like to participate in.

New Translation Language

We want to provide translations that are as complete as possible. However, there may be times where a translation file is not up-to-date. You should always consider the English version as the authoritative version.

If your language is not in the current languages, please contact us through Github and we will consider creating a skeleton folder for it. The following sections are the first one you should consider translating as these files don’t change often:

  • index.rst

  • intro.rst

  • quickstart.rst

  • installation.rst

  • /intro folder

  • /tutorials-and-examples folder

Reminder for Docs Administrators

The structure of all language folders should mirror the English folder structure. If the structure changes for the English version, we should apply those changes in the other languages.

For example, if a new English file is created in en/file.rst, we should:

  • Add the file in all other languages : fr/file.rst, zh/file.rst, …

  • Delete the content, but keeping the title, meta information and eventual toc-tree elements. The following note will be added while nobody has translated the file:

    File Title
    .. note::
        The documentation is not currently supported in XX language for this
        Please feel free to send us a pull request on
        `Github <>`_ or use the **Improve This Doc**
        button to directly propose your changes.
        You can refer to the English version in the select top menu to have
        information about this page's topic.
    // If toc-tree elements are in the English version
    .. toctree::
        :maxdepth: 1
    .. meta::
        :title lang=xx: File Title
        :keywords lang=xx: title, description,...

Translator tips

  • Browse and edit in the language you want the content to be translated to - otherwise you won’t see what has already been translated.

  • Feel free to dive right in if your chosen language already exists on the book.

  • Use Informal Form.

  • Translate both the content and the title at the same time.

  • Do compare to the English content before submitting a correction (if you correct something, but don’t integrate an ‘upstream’ change your submission won’t be accepted).

  • If you need to write an English term, wrap it in <em> tags. For example, “asdf asdf Controller asdf” or “asdf asdf Kontroller (Controller) asfd”.

  • Do not submit partial translations.

  • Do not edit a section with a pending change.

  • Do not use HTML entities for accented characters, the book uses UTF-8.

  • Do not significantly change the markup (HTML) or add new content.

  • If the original content is missing some info, submit an edit for that first.

Documentation Formatting Guide

The new CakePHP documentation is written with ReST formatted text. ReST (Re Structured Text) is a plain text markup syntax similar to markdown, or textile. To maintain consistency it is recommended that when adding to the CakePHP documentation you follow the guidelines here on how to format and structure your text.

Line Length

Lines of text should be wrapped at 80 columns. The only exception should be long URLs, and code snippets.

Headings and Sections

Section headers are created by underlining the title with punctuation characters at least the length of the text.

  • # Is used to denote page titles.

  • = Is used for sections in a page.

  • - Is used for subsections.

  • ~ Is used for sub-subsections.

  • ^ Is used for sub-sub-subsections.

Headings should not be nested more than 5 levels deep. Headings should be preceded and followed by a blank line.


Paragraphs are simply blocks of text, with all the lines at the same level of indentation. Paragraphs should be separated by one blank line.

Inline Markup

  • One asterisk: text for emphasis (italics) We’ll use it for general highlighting/emphasis.

    • *text*.

  • Two asterisks: text for strong emphasis (boldface) We’ll use it for working directories, bullet list subject, table names and excluding the following word “table”.

    • **/config/Migrations**, **articles**, etc.

  • Two backquotes: text for code samples We’ll use it for names of method options, names of table columns, object names, excluding the following word “object” and for method/function names – include “()”.

    • ``cascadeCallbacks``, ``true``, ``id``, ``PagesController``, ``config()``, etc.

If asterisks or backquotes appear in running text and could be confused with inline markup delimiters, they have to be escaped with a backslash.

Inline markup has a few restrictions:

  • It may not be nested.

  • Content may not start or end with whitespace: * text* is wrong.

  • Content must be separated from surrounding text by non-word characters. Use a backslash escaped space to work around that: onelong\ *bolded*\ word.


List markup is very similar to markdown. Unordered lists are indicated by starting a line with a single asterisk and a space. Numbered lists can be created with either numerals, or # for auto numbering:

* This is a bullet
* So is this. But this line
  has two lines.

1. First line
2. Second line

#. Automatic numbering
#. Will save you some time.

Indented lists can also be created, by indenting sections and separating them with an empty line:

* First line
* Second line

    * Going deeper
    * Whoah

* Back to the first level.

Definition lists can be created by doing the following:

    An MVC framework for PHP

Terms cannot be more than one line, but definitions can be multi-line and all lines should be indented consistently.

Describing Classes and their Contents

The CakePHP documentation uses the phpdomain to provide custom directives for describing PHP objects and constructs. Using these directives and roles is required to give proper indexing and cross referencing features.

Describing Classes and Constructs

Each directive populates the index, and or the namespace index.

.. php:global:: name

This directive declares a new PHP global variable.

.. php:function:: name(signature)

Defines a new global function outside of a class.

.. php:const:: name

This directive declares a new PHP constant, you can also use it nested inside a class directive to create class constants.

.. php:exception:: name

This directive declares a new Exception in the current namespace. The signature can include constructor arguments.

.. php:class:: name

Describes a class. Methods, attributes, and constants belonging to the class should be inside this directive’s body:

.. php:class:: MyClass

    Class description

   .. php:method:: method($argument)

   Method description

Attributes, methods and constants don’t need to be nested. They can also just follow the class declaration:

.. php:class:: MyClass

    Text about the class

.. php:method:: methodName()

    Text about the method
.. php:method:: name(signature)

Describe a class method, its arguments, return value, and exceptions:

.. php:method:: instanceMethod($one, $two)

    :param string $one: The first parameter.
    :param string $two: The second parameter.
    :returns: An array of stuff.
    :throws: InvalidArgumentException

   This is an instance method.
.. php:staticmethod:: ClassName::methodName(signature)

Describe a static method, its arguments, return value and exceptions, see php:method for options.

.. php:attr:: name

Describe an property/attribute on a class.

Prevent Sphinx to Output Warnings

Sphinx will output warnings if a function is referenced in multiple files. It’s a great way to ensure that you did not add a function two times, but sometimes, you actually want to write a function in two or more files, eg. debug object is referenced in /development/debugging and in /core-libraries/global-constants-and-functions. In this case, you can add :noindex: under the function debug to suppress warnings. Keep only one reference without :no-index: to still have the function referenced:

.. php:function:: debug(mixed $var, boolean $showHtml = null, $showFrom = true)

Cross Referencing

The following roles refer to PHP objects and links are generated if a matching directive is found:


Reference a PHP function.


Reference a global variable whose name has $ prefix.


Reference either a global constant, or a class constant. Class constants should be preceded by the owning class:

DateTime has an :php:const:`DateTime::ATOM` constant.

Reference a class by name:


Reference a method of a class. This role supports both kinds of methods:


Reference a property on an object:


Reference an exception.

Source Code

Literal code blocks are created by ending a paragraph with ::. The literal block must be indented, and like all paragraphs be separated by single lines:

This is a paragraph::

    while ($i--) {

This is regular text again.

Literal text is not modified or formatted, save that one level of indentation is removed.

Notes and Warnings

There are often times when you want to inform the reader of an important tip, special note or a potential hazard. Admonitions in sphinx are used for just that. There are fives kinds of admonitions.

  • .. tip:: Tips are used to document or re-iterate interesting or important information. The content of the directive should be written in complete sentences and include all appropriate punctuation.

  • .. note:: Notes are used to document an especially important piece of information. The content of the directive should be written in complete sentences and include all appropriate punctuation.

  • .. warning:: Warnings are used to document potential stumbling blocks, or information pertaining to security. The content of the directive should be written in complete sentences and include all appropriate punctuation.

  • .. versionadded:: X.Y.Z “Version added” admonitions are used to display notes specific to new features added at a specific version, X.Y.Z being the version on which the said feature was added.

  • .. deprecated:: X.Y.Z As opposed to “version added” admonitions, “deprecated” admonition are used to notify of a deprecated feature, X.Y.Z being the version on which the said feature was deprecated.

All admonitions are made the same:

.. note::

    Indented and preceded and followed by a blank line. Just like a

This text is not part of the note.



This is a helpful tid-bit you probably forgot.


You should pay attention here.


It could be dangerous.

New in version 4.0.0: This awesome feature was added in version 4.0.0

Deprecated since version 4.0.1: This old feature was deprecated on version 4.0.1