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Cake PHP: A Comprehensive Review

Cake PHP: A Comprehensive Review

According to annual SitePoint framework popularity survey, CakePHP is one of the most popular PHP frameworks of 2015. The open source web framework is distributed under the MIT license. So it can be used by the large, midsize and small enterprises without paying licensing fee. At the same time, the availability of development materials and resources makes it easier for programmers to learn and use this framework within a shorter amount of time. The developers can further avail the assistance of the large CakePHP community to resolve development issues without any delay.

Despite being written in PHP, CakePHP is designed based on Ruby on Rails concepts. It also supports some of the commonly used software development concepts including model-view-controller (MVC) and convention over configuration (CoC). The MVC architecture makes it easier for programmers to develop large-scale enterprise websites by keeping the business logic and presentation layers separate. Likewise, they can easily set up the framework without worrying about the complex XML or YAML files. They can start using the web framework immediately after configuring the database.

CakePHP further helps programmers to save time by using several batteries or libraries built into the PHP MVC frameworks. They can use the batteries to accomplish common tasks like database access, caching, translation, validation and authentication. Also, they can use the built-in security tools provided by the framework to prevent cross site scripting (XSS) attacks, cross site request forgery (CSRF), SQL injection, and form tampering. The tools further make it easier for programmers to validate user input without writing additional code.

However, at the same time CakePHP falls behind in popularity when compared to Laravel, Symfony2, CodeIgniter, Yii 2, and Zend Framework 2. Many users feel that it lacks some of the advanced features provided by other PHP frameworks. It requires users to update the default route while creating custom URLs. The one-way routing system supported by it also impacts the database access and operation adversely. The beginners further find it easier to learn CodeIgniter than CakePHP. Likewise, the documentation for the framework also needs improvement.

However, the framework is being updated at period intervals with advanced features and enhancements. Version 3 comes with a number of new features to compete with other popular PHP frameworks available in the market. The most recent version of the framework comes with a new ORM which is inspired by similar tools provided by other PHP frameworks. The specialized and focused classes provided by the ORM to solve several issues. The users can take advantage of the Table, Query and Entity classes to perform database operations more efficiently.

As CakePHP was earlier using a static session management class, developers have to explore ways to make session management more efficient. CakePHP 3 enables developers to access sessions directly from the request object. The new feature makes it easier for users to test sessions effectively, while taking advantage of testing tools like PHPUnit 4.x. The updated version of the web framework further provides enhanced support for CookieComponent, FlashComponent and FlashHelper. CakePHP 3 enables developers to use a plug-in as a theme. The themes now provide functionality to similar to plug-ins. So the plug-ins can now be packages and redistributed more efficiently.

The version 3 of the framework also comes with a number of new helpers to eliminate repetitive development tasks. The programmers can use TimeHelper to display, format and evaluate time values more efficiently. Likewise, they can use TextHelper to format URLs using their preferred words or phrases. The feature further enables them to optimize the web page for search engines by including relevant and appropriate keywords in the URL.

However, the users will take time to learn and use the most recent version of CakePHP. It no longer support functions like LogError(), config(), cache() and clearCache(). It further supports 5.4.16, while requiring both mbstring and intl extensions. The support for PHP version will not have any impact on developers as most modern web applications are developed using the most recent version of the programming language. On the whole, the third version of this framework comes with new features to overcome the issues and shortcomings highlighted by developers who are into CakePHP framework development.