Upcoming CakePHP Roadmap & Releases

With Cakefest complete, I’d like to share the meat of my talk concerning the roadmap and release schedule for CakePHP.

3.5 and 3.6

We’re currently working towards 3.5, which will ship this summer. It contains a number of improvements to the middleware layer, and introduces more deprecations for combined methods with complex parameter types. 3.6 is the next logical release. Like all 3.x releases, 3.6 will be backwards compatible. 3.6 will introduce a number of new features, and additional deprecations. It will be notably different from other 3.x releases, as it will convert all documented deprecations into runtime errors.

By having runtime errors you’ll be able to more easily locate the places your application and its dependencies are using deprecated features of CakePHP. These deprecation warnings will be easy to turn on and off through the error level allowing you to upgrade to 3.6 early and incrementally fix the deprecation warnings your application has.


The next major version of CakePHP will be 4.0. 4.0 will be the first release in 4 years to contain breaking changes. Unlike the upgrade from 2.x to 3.x we want this to be a dramatically simpler upgrade. The breaking changes will be focused on:

  • Removing methods/features that were deprecated in 3.x. All features that emit runtime warnings in 3.6 will be removed in 4.0
  • Interfaces will be updated to contain the methods that currently exist in documentation only. Because there is no way to add methods to interfaces in a backwards compatible way, we’re using 4.0.0 as an opportunity to update interfaces.

4.0 will also move the minimum required PHP version to 7.1.0. This will enable us to leverage strict typing internally allowing you to benefit from a safer and easier to use CakePHP. All currently documented types will be converted into strict typehints where possible. This is one of the driving factors for the numerous deprecations being done in 3.5 and 3.6.

In addition to the breaking changes being made, we’d also like to use 4.0 as an opportunity to refine and improve our error messages with the goals of providing a better development experience. As users of Rust and Elm we see what can be done with error messages and want to bring the quality of error messages available in those tools to PHP.

Lastly, an explicit goal is to make the upgrade easy. If your application runs in the latest 3.6 without any deprecation errors, then it should run in 4.0.0 with minimal effort. Because of the additional typehinting, and interface changes there may be minor modifications needed in an application that is upgrading. We recognize that the 2.x upgrade was unpleasant and don’t want a repeat of that experience.

In an ideal world, we’d like to release 3.6 and 4.0 very close to each other. Our current timelines put the first betas for these releases in late 2017 and early 2018.

Long Term Support for 3.x

Our current plans would make the 3.x to 4.0 upgrade relatively easy. Because of this we don’t currently see many reasons to continue doing 3.x feature releases. This would make 3.6 the last 3.x with the possibility of 3.7 happening. If there is enough community interest in it. Furthermore, we plan on doing supporting 3.x with:

  • Bug fixes for 18 months after 4.0.0.
  • Security fixes for 36 months after 4.0.0 is released.

Our hope is that these time frames give you and your teams ample time to plan and execute an upgrade.

Long Term Support for 2.x

2.x has enjoyed a long life. Given the rate of issues being opened, and pull requests being created for 2.x, 2.10 will be the last 2.x release. We recognize that there are still a number of applications running on 2.x so we plan on supporting 2.x with:

  • Bug fixes for 12 months after the release of 4.0.0.
  • Security fixes for 18 months after the release of 4.0.0.

After that point, 2.x will become unmaintained and receive no further updates.

As always these timelines and milestone scope are not finalized, and we’d like to get your feedback and involvement in this process.