Jeremy Harris

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Apr 2015

Aliasing in CakePHP 3.0

I finally got around to starting a CakePHP 3.0 project. One of the first things I do when creating a new Cake project is alias the FormHelper, so I can add default classes, remove HTML5 validation, etc. In the past, you would alias helpers via the className key in your configuration.

The Olde Timey Way

namespace App\Controller;

use Cake\Controller\Controller;

class AppController extends Controller
    public $helpers = [
        'Form' => [
            'className' => 'MyForm'

This worked well for a while. (Fun fact, I actually helped contribute this feature into the core back in the day!) This little bit of extra configuration allows you to use $this->Form in your views to access your Helper, removing the necessity to update all of your views.

Since Cake 3 uses namespaces now, I thought there might be a way to achieve this without the configuration. And there is.


If you're not familiar with namespaces, you should be. They've been around for a while. They allow you to do some pretty neat things, one of which we'll do here.

Instead of adding that configuration, why not just create your own FormHelper class? After all, Cake will look for a class in your App before it loads its default ones. Without namespaces, you can't accomplish this because you couldn't extend Cake's helper like this: FormHelper extends FormHelper. Hence the className aliasing.

With namespaces, however, this is easily achieved like so:

namespace App\View\Helper;

use Cake\View\Helper\FormHelper as CakeFormHelper;

 * Form Helper
class FormHelper extends CakeFormHelper
     * Initializes input field
     * Removes HTML5 validation
     * @param string $field Field name
     * @param array $options Options
     * @return array
    public function _initInputField($field, $options = array())
        $options = parent::_initInputField($field, $options);
        return $options;

Here we just use PHP's aliasing ability to bring in Cake's FormHelper as CakeFormHelper, allowing us to extend it without a naming conflict. Without any additional configuration in your controller, Cake's class loader will find this FormHelper and use it by default.

Pretty neat.

Jeremy Harris is a web developer with over 10 years of experience. He's coded in many languages and currently focuses on PHP, both agnostic and framework-based. When he isn't at the keyboard, you can find him walking @riverthepuppy or brewing beer. He only talks in the third person when peer pressure dictates he should, such as on his blog.