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10 Common Challenges of CakePHP Development

Web developers seeking a streamlined go-to framework for building content management systems are increasingly inclined toward CakePHP. This framework allows them to build web applications faster and easier using pre-written instructions (code).
Sometimes, they encounter challenges that may burden the website creation process. Let’s take a look at ten common challenges that web devs who love to work with CakePHP encounter on the daily.

What Is CakePHP?

Before using it, you should know a thing or two about this popular tool developers use to build web applications. CakePHP is a powerful framework for building web applications, known for its elegant syntax and robust features. However, like any tool, it comes with its own set of challenges, as you will likely find out even after you on the market.
CakePHP was developed in 2005. It aimed to change the face of web development forever, helping especially those new to PHP code. It simplifies the process of building powerful web applications using the Model-View-Controller (MVC) paradigm.

Installing CakePHP

To master CakePHP development, you must first install it. The process is straightforward when using a dependency manager for PHP like Composer, which facilitates the management of dependencies in projects that use PHP coding.
CakePHP includes a tool called Bake Console that helps you quickly create the basic parts of your application. This Bake Console generates the boilerplate code needed for controllers, models, and views, significantly speeding up the initial development process.

Quick CakePHP Setup

Open Command Prompt or PowerShell (Windows), or use the Linux/macOS terminal.
Create a new CakePHP project (copy: composer create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app your_project – replace “your_project” with the name of your project).
Go to the newly created Project Directory (use the code: cd your_project_name).
Configure the App Secrets database connection and the app-specific settings (use: cp config/app_local.example.php config/app_local.php).
Start the built-in server for development by running the command bin/cake server .
You can access the CakePHP console with the command bin/cake. You can run commands to generate migrations, controllers, and more here.

CakePHP Development Challenges

CakePHP, much like any other web development framework, has its own set of drawbacks and challenges. Let’s discuss some of them:

1. Get ready to experience a learning curve

Those new to CakePHP may experience a steep learning curve. The tool's rich feature set – which includes ORM, behaviors, and components – may prove overwhelming. However, you can apply a couple of strategies to better understand the tool and succeed:
Incremental learning – Start with the basic features and make your way to the complex ones.
Community resources – engage with the CakePHP community using forums and online groups for guidance and support.

2. Think about flexibility versus convention

Before using CakePHP, you should know how it works. It follows a convention-over-configuration principle (CoC), which means that developers must follow conventions to speed up CakePHP development.
Some may find this principle restrictive, especially those developers who prefer the flexibility to choose their naming conventions and directory structures.

3. Consider performance

CakePHP has developed over the years, and that includes receiving performance improvements. However, some may find it slightly slower than other PHP frameworks, which could affect their work.
Developers who work on larger applications with CakePHP may need to use coaching strategies and optimization techniques to handle performance concerns.

4. CakePHP has limited built-in features

Nobody contests the fact that CakePHP provides a reliable foundation for web development. However, some developers may consider that it lacks some features usually found in other frameworks. A possible result is that the developer must do more manual work or rely on third-party components.

5. Difficult version upgrades

Tools like CakePHP receive updates from time to time. Developers must make these upgrades to receive significant changes, new features, and improvements.
It can prove difficult to upgrade from one CakePHP version to another, however, especially when many changes are made to the framework.
Developers must follow migration guidelines to ensure they are making the correct upgrade and enjoy a smooth transition. They should also use automated testing to ensure the app works correctly after an upgrade.

6. Performance optimization

It is crucial to ensure that the application runs smoothly, especially when you are charged with scaling it. The insufficient queries and page load times can degrade the user experience.
You can use tools like DebugKit to profile the application and find bottlenecks. You can also implement caching strategies for data and views to reduce load times by configuring cache settings.

7. Smaller community size

The CakePHP framework has a committed and enthusiastic community, although it may not be as extensive as other PHP frameworks. Consequently, users may find fewer plugins, third-party resources, and community-driven support available compared to other PHP frameworks.

8. Debugging and error handling

Developers must identify and fix issues quickly to maintain a healthy codebase. Unfortunately, CakePHP is not the friendliest when it comes to error interpretation. Detailed error messages can be difficult to understand, making it difficult to take measures.
You can take a few measures to improve the error-handling experience. First, install and use a debug kit plugin for detailed insights into app state and errors. Next, configure custom error pages to gracefully handle different types of errors. This helps to improve debugging efficiency and user experience.

9. Encountering customization challenges

The CakePHP conventions mentioned earlier are meant to speed up app development, of course. However, it can be difficult to customize specific aspects of the framework. Likewise, you may find it hard to diverge from conventions.
The developer's challenge is to maintain a delicate balance between adhering to established conventions and fulfilling the unique demands of a particular project.

10. CakePHP is dependent on PHP

CakePHP development is based on the PHP framework, meaning it is limited to the features of the PHP language.
Devs must use optimization techniques to mitigate this limitation and leverage improvements in newer PHP versions. This allows them to fully explore CakePHP’s potential while understanding its boundaries.


With CakePHP, you get a powerful and flexible framework for web development. But you must remember that it comes with its own set of challenges. However, you can understand them and implement strategies to explore CakePHP development more effectively.
Mastering CakePHP proves rewarding for web developers from installation to the complete application. With the knowledge from this article, you are more prepared to navigate CakePHP and build a robust and high-performance application with this framework.
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