CakePHP 2.1-alpha just baked

We are excited to announce the that the next version of CakePHP just hit alpha state. This version adds several useful features that make CakePHP one of the easiest and more fun to work with frameworks out there. Check it out to enjoy content type specific pages, improved error messages, view blocks and a new callbacks system.

The CakePHP core team is proud to announce the immediate availability of CakePHP 2.1.0 alpha [1]. Version 2.1 is fully backwards compatible with 2.0.x release. This means that if you have an app already working in 2.0 or plan to upgrade one to it, you can safely start using 2.1 right away and expect no additional work in upgrading. We are very excited about several enhancements that are part of 2.1 and are working hard to get the few remaining improvements completed.

In total, there were over 230 commits and over 15 new features or enhancements added to CakePHP 2.1. A complete list of the changes can be viewed in the changelogs page [2]. This is a quick list of this version’s main highlights:

Content Type Views

Two new view classes have been added to CakePHP. The new JsonView and XmlView allow you to more easily generate XML and JSON views.

By enabling RequestHandlerComponent in your application, and enabling support for the xml and or json extensions, you can automatically leverage the new view classes. There are two ways you can generate data views. The first is by using the _serialize key, and the second is by creating normal view files.

This makes it super easy to create content-type specific pages and automatic error responses in the correct mime-types.

Extending views

The View class has a new method allowing you to wrap or ‘extend’ a view/element/layout with another file. This introduces the ideas of “sub-layouts” making your views more flexible than ever, this was implemented using ViewBlocks.

View blocks are a flexible way to create slots or blocks in your views. Blocks replace $scripts_for_layout and $content_for_layout with a more robust and flexible API.

For example blocks are ideal for implementing things such as sidebars, or regions to load assets at the bottom/top of the layout.


All layout/view/element names can now use Plugin.view to indicate that a plugin view should be used. The plugin option for View::element() is deprecated.

Improved errors

The debug() function output is now cleaner and more readable. We have also added interactive stack traces to exception pages. You can click on each point of the trace to take a peek at the variable state for that point. Also, as mentioned earlier, CakePHP can now respond with content-type specific error pages.

General purpose event system

A new, generic event system has been built and it replaces the way callbacks are dispatched. This should not result in any changes to your code though. You can dispatch your own events and attach callbacks to them at will. This is useful for inter-plugin communication and decoupling of your classes through events.


Fixtures can be created in datasources other than $test. Models loaded using the ClassRegistry and using another datasource will get their datasource name prepended with test_ (e.g datasource master will try to use test_master in the testsuite)

A new TestShell has been added. It reduces the typing required to run unit tests, and offers a file path based UI:

Console/cake test app/Model/Post.php Console/cake test app/Controller/PostsController.php


  • <!–nocache–> tags now work inside elements correctly.
  • FormHelper now omits disabled fields from the secured fields hash. This makes working with SecurityComponent and disabled inputs easier.
  • The between option when used in conjunction with radio inputs, now behaves differently. The between value is now placed between the legend and first input elements.
  • The hiddenField option with checkbox inputs can now be set to a specific value such as ‘N’ rather than just 0.
  • The for attribute for date + time inputs now reflects the first generated input. This may result in the for attribute changing for generated datetime inputs.

Callback priorities

Callbacks for Helpers, Behaviors, and Components now support priorities, this helps more easily control the order in which callbacks are fired.

We are working towards making the 2.1 book online in the next few hours and plan to finish the remaining features very soon. Thanks to the ever-growing CakePHP community for the patches, documentation changes and new tickets. Without you there would be no CakePHP!

  • Download a packaged release [1]
  • View the changelog [2]