3.0: a peek into CakePHP’s future

With version 2.2.0 out the team is now focusing on bringing the CakePHP community a major new version with awesome features

Since its creation, more than 7 years ago, CakePHP has grown with a life of its own. Its main goal has always been to empower developers with tools that are both easy to learn and use, leverage great libraries requiring low documentation and low dependencies too. We’ve had several big releases along these years and an ever growing community. Being one of the most popular frameworks out there and probably the first one (!) we have also gotten a lot of criticism from the developer community in general. We have, though, accepted it and learnt from our mistakes to keep building the best PHP framework there is.

CakePHP is known for having a very slow pace of adopting new stuff and it has served very well to its community. Back when we were doing version 2.0 we decided to hold on version 5.2 of PHP for multiple reasons and despite it didn’t let us innovate as much as we wished to, it was an excellent choice given the general environment regarding hosting solutions and general adoption of PHP 5.3. A look back into the past reminded us that we were big innovators in PHP, bringing features to developers that few dreamt possible to do in this language. Now, it’s time to look ahead in future and decide on staying in our comfort zone or take back our leading position as innovators.

So it is with great excitement that we announce we are putting our our efforts in bringing you the next major release of CakePHP. Version 3.0 will leverage the new features in PHP 5.4 and will include an important change in our models and database system. CakePHP 3.0 will not be ready less than 6 or 8 months and we reckon that, given the rise of cheap cloud hosting solutions and upcoming release of new operating system versions, there is no better time to jump on the most current stable version of PHP.

As you may already know, PHP 5.4 offers awesome features that would introduce useful new concepts and interesting solutions to old problems. Closure binding, traits, multibyte support are tools we see of great usefulness for properly implemented advanced framework features we’ve had in mind for a long time. Also new syntax sugar added to the language will make it more pleasant to write both small and complex applications with the framework and a always welcomed free performance increase.

We have a young but already well defined road map for what we want to accomplish in next release and you are invited to contribute and suggest what’s next:

  • Drop support for 5.2.x and support 5.4+ only

  • Add proper namespaces for all classes. This will make it easier to reuse classes outside CakePHP and to use external libraries and finally no chances of collisions between your app classes and core ones.

  • Use traits were possible and makes sense

  • Improve bootstrapping process to allow more developer control and better performance

  • Model layer rewrite:

    • Models to return objects from queries
    • Datamapper-like paradigm
    • Richer query API
    • Support for any database type
    • Support for more database drivers both PDO and native
  • Improve Router:

    • Make it faster
    • Remove named parameters
    • Add support for named routes
    • Smarter router prefixes
    • Shorter url syntax

As you may imagine most of the time will be spent or rewriting the model layer, but it will also be one of the most powerful features CakePHP 3.0 will have. It’s new architecture based on PHP 5.4 capabilities will offer an easier and more powerful set of tools to build web applications in no time.

If you are already as excited as we are this all this new stuff coming, you definitely should meet us on next CakeFest we’ll be talking about the future of CakePHP and hacking our way through to bring you a dev release as soon as possible. Wouldn’t it be lovely to attend to awesome talks, workshops and also be part of the group deciding initial architecture for next major version of the framework? Make sure you book your tickets before we run out of them!

We’re always looking for different people having a vision on software development, are you interested in helping out? There is no better time to start sending patches and become one of the core team!