As my friends find out that I work for Cake Development Corporation, they start asking me what resources I use in order to get my work done. Since I don't have any essays to share, or tutorials for you this week, I'd thought I'd spend some time sharing some of my favorite resources.
The CakePHP Manual is the first place I go when I need to remember how to use some pretty basic, non-advanced functionality. For all the pissing and moaning about the lack of documentation for 1.2.x, the manual is still a great resource. When will the documentation be ready? When it's ready!
When the manual isn't enough, I venture down into the bowels of the code and visit the online API so I can see if a particular class / component / whatever has a method I think it has and what parameters it can accept. As awesome as the API is, I think it would be very helpfull if there were examples of using a method right in the API. Next time I add something into the core I will be sure to include an example right there in my docblock
However, nothing beats actually having examples on how to do something with CakePHP. Once I found out about the Bakery, it was like I had found a chest up in an attic with all sorts of cool stuff inside it. Lots of examples, and when you're an insider like I am (heh) you can even see articles that hasn't been published yet. If you are looking for specific examples of doing stuff in both 1.1.x and 1.2.x then your first stop should be the Bakery.
I am on the CakePHP mailing list, where I have earned my nickname 'GrumpyCanuck' that I use on various IRC channels on freenode. Getting help via the mailing list and IRC comes with some baggage though. Do your research before you ask, or else you will be either flamed or outright ignored. Nobody wants that, they want answers to their questions, right? I may come across as grumpy on the list but when you show you've put the work into trying to find an answer you will be surprised how quickly people rush to help.
Then I start using Google itself, finding interesting information all over the web. There are very few CakePHP blogs that I go to all the time (I read a lot of aggregating feeds, so that does the work for me) but the one I find myself constantly coming back to is Felix Geisend?rfer's ThinkingPHP And Beyond. Tons of code exampes and excellent commentary. Almost as good as this blog (hah!)
But of course, I'm super spoiled because I have direct access to many of the core developers of CakePHP, such as Larry Masters (PhpNut), Garrett Woodworth (gwoo) and Nate Abele (_nate_). Without being able to talk to those guys via IM or on IRC, so many of my problems learning how CakePHP works at more than a basic level would not have been solved. So, it never hurts to suck-up to / cultivate relationships with some of the more senior members of the CakePHP community. They are usually more than glad to help you out when you have questions and can speak to them directly.
So, as baseball season starts to head towards a finish (between my long-running simulation baseball league, coaching girls baseball and playing men's 35+ slow-pitch) I will finally have some time to give back to CakePHP. There are some tickets in CakePHP's trac site with my name on them that I need to get to and hack away at them, along with adding functionality to my CLI console for testing things. Also, rumours of a CakeFest conference for later this year have me motivated to get a bunch of stuff done so I have something to give some talks about.
So, if you have any other resources you like to use for CakePHP, feel free to put them in the comments and if we get enough of them I will do a follow-up post.