In CakePHP 3, some things change significantly, and others stay pretty much the same. CakePHP 3 provides a new AppView class in app/src/View/AppView.php. You can do any of the following here:

  • Load helpers for every template
  • Override View methods
  • Add custom methods that may not necessarily require a new helper

In our case, we’ll be making a new MarkdownHelper available everywhere. As such, our AppView will look similar to the following:

namespace App\View;
use Cake\View\View;
class AppView extends View {
    public function initialize() {

Creating a new helper

In our helper, we’re going to depend upon the colinodell/commonmark-php package to render markdown that follows the CommonMark specification. First, you’ll want to install that package using composer:

# ssh onto the vm
vagrant ssh
cd /vagrant/app
composer require colinodell/commonmark-php:0.3.0

The colinodell/commonmark-php package will be named league/markdown shortly, but for now, these instructions should work fine.

Now we can create a very simple helper class. Helper classes allow us to format output for templates in a more user friendly format. We could, for instance, use a helper to generate the correct gravatar url for a given email address. Helpers allow you to consolidate your template logic into classes that can be easily tested and reused not just in a single application, but across multiple applications that need the same functionality.

You should first create the file containing your new helper:

cd /vagrant/app
touch app/src/View/Helper/MarkdownHelper.php

The contents of our helper will then be the following:

namespace App\View\Helper;
use Cake\View\Helper;
use Cake\View\View;
use ColinODell\CommonMark\CommonMarkConverter;
class MarkdownHelper extends Helper {
    public function __construct(View $view, $config = []) {
        parent::__construct($view, $config);
        $this->Converter = new CommonMarkConverter;
    public function out($input) {
      return $this->Converter->convertToHtml($input);

To use our helper, anytime we output Comment or Issue contents, we would wrap them in a call to our helper:

// For issues
// For comments

Helpers can be a pretty simple way of consolidating logic in your template files. While in this case there wasn’t much work to be done, you might want to consider using helpers for outputting stuff like navigation bars, custom form elements, and automatically parsing urls into embeddable images and videos.

Homework Time!

Since it’s still sunday, we’re going to skip homework. I’m going to personally listen to the guy playing jazz two apartment buildings down and go to Fifthsgiving in an hour. Let me know in the comments if you have any feedback, and see you all tomorrow!