What could be the killer application for CakePHP?

Published on and tagged with cakephp  comparison  ruby on rails  symfony

Three days ago, sosa wrote a comment to an older post which inspired me to think. But first sosa’s comment:

I think is all a matter of marketing, CakePHP is the best framework but it’s marketing hasn’t been the best.

* It needs some killer app
* It needs some killer tutorials
* Screencasts would be cool

I agree with that comment. Let us compare CakePHP with two of its “competitors”: symfony and Ruby on Rails (RoR). Both frameworks have one or more killer applications: symfony has askeet and RoR, well, they have several applications. And CakePHP? Hm, there is no such killer application in sight… (maybe someone is developing it in stealth mode, who knows?). symfony has found a nice way to create their killer application, they developed askeet in 24 steps within the scope of an advent calendar. Each step has been created as a tutorial, so they kill two birds with one stone: they have a killer application and a series of tutorials. Genial! What do you think could be the killer application for CakePHP? Or do you have an idea how to create one?

The next point are the killer tutorials, or, more general, the documentation. The good thing is: all three projects provide extensive documentation: manuals, howto’s, tutorials, api documentation. Even though, it is obvious that the documentation is a weakness of CakePHP when compared with the other projects. Well, the most important point is that it is not easy to find the documentation for CakePHP. A page with all available documentation is missing. And on the homepage you only find a link to the wiki (yeah, there are also links to the api and the manual on the homepage, but they are hidden and you find them only by accident). What could we do to improve that weakness of CakePHP?

The last point, screencasts, is a “nice to have” point, at least for me. Nonetheless, all three projects have at least one screencast. symfony and RoR place the link to the screencasts prominently on the homepage, whereas you have to search the screencast for CakePHP. Yes, there exists a CakePHP screencast, but the link to the screencast is hidden in the wiki ;-)

Conclusion: I think CakePHP can keep up technologically with the other projects, but it has to learn to sell itself better :)

14 comments baked

  • JMG

    Hum… I might have an idea poping out in my mind :p

    I recently wondered how I could reference data that aren’t text… I thought summaries was a good idea, but authors might not want to summarize their own content. That might not even summarize it well or forget some details they think are minors.

    So what about a search engine for non-text content — webcomics, images, photographs, records, etc. — that would build up on summaries written by anybody ?

    I think of a centralised search engine with an open API, so that websites could implement their own engines or use the provided ones to interact with it. Any visitors to these websites would then be able — or even be asked — to summarize content. Those summaries could then be saved on the website for their own purposes, and be sent to the search engine that would use those summaries to find adequate non-text content based on text search criterias.

    That would be such a killer app ! I’d definitely love it and I’d use it right away in my different projects :p

  • Troy Schmidt

    I think the biggest thing holding back the documentation and adequate tutorials was getting to a stable release. I think right now over half the stuff in the wiki is either outdated, deprecated, or just plain not the way to do things anymore. CakePHP has seen such a HUGE transformation in a such a short period of time that the documentations can’t keep up.

    I also find myself getting lost in the documentation. I mean you remember you saw something. So, I search API, wiki, manual, groups, check IRC, and then finally remember that I saw it on this blog. In some regards I think the wiki actually hinders the documentation and I really haven’t used it since I first started using CakePHP.

    I think if there was a useful application that gracefully utilized all aspects of CakePHP and could be built in stages, that could also be referenced by the manual then CakePHP documentation would be one resounding voice.

    I myself was going to review the manual, but when I got into it the current manual is so dry. I couldn’t really come up with examples, and CakePHP itself was changing so much. I am now using my third method to do AJAX forms. The first was a hack, the second was $ajax->form which doesn’t work in IE, and finally $ajax->submit instead of $html works the most universal and is straight out of CakePHP.

    I think that if the wiki and google group was compressed into a real forum that would be better served. This way only the most up to date would use the forums and the rest of the public and first timers would see API and manual with one program broken into multiple tutorials.

  • lemp

    I am currently developing a new version of a vertical portal (over 100,000 visitors/month) with Cake. It won’t be a killer application neither a web 2.0 sexy beast but at least will add a real world medium scale public project to the stable.

    We hope to launch in March.

  • sosa

    check this http://www.dizzytree.com/blog/2006/01/30/the-dizzytree-client-extranet-part-one/ its a basecamp port to php or something, maybe somekind of port of a famous RoR app should work. What about a “Bakepack”?

    I could design it.

  • amigos

    I was once attracted to CakePHP…then I move to symfony..why?? Cos symfony sell themself better…way way better than Cake…I admit that Cake is a great framework..but most of its greatness are not documented…and I keep asking myself..what is great about this Cake anyway…and yet still in beta…

    Blogs seem to be supporting Cake quite a lot..but still Cake website dont seem to take that for granted…Maybe its becos the people at Cake were so busy with the baking cake that they dont have the time to make the icing…but then again, that’s a lame excuse..symfony just released the 0.6 version and the tutorial is already updated…the symfony book, a 200+ pages of manual was updated as well..and still they to are busy with the developement work..

    So, to Cake guys…whats the point of having such great framework, when you cant tell the audience how great you are…its like having a porshe, but couldn’t drive it.

  • Coeus

    First and foremost, these are two great projects and it really shows how great and powerful the php community.

    I agree that cakePHP lacks in the documentation department and am hoping it gets better once the stable version is released. People won’t want to use a framework if there isn’t enough documentation out there telling them how to use it.

    The tutorials are a most, these are practical examples of how to bake with cakephp. So they definitely need to update their wiki and make it easier to use. As the author pointed out, I didn’t even know a screencast existed for cakephp.

    I hope the cake team focus more on documentation + tutorials once the stable version is out, becuase I do believe it is the best framework out there for php

  • s

    if cake is so great so why there is no good application for that? I can`t find anything what kickass.

  • cakebaker

    @s: I think there exist some “good” applications developed with CakePHP, whatever “good” means in this context. But you are right, the killer application for CakePHP has not been created yet, although that is no reason for me for not using CakePHP ;-)

  • Damir Secki

    I think a classifieds system would be a great app for a showoff…
    showing it step by step in a intuitive tutorial with some nice ajax features and voila!

  • Mark Rairdon

    I’ve gone through several wiki tutorials for cake…some are helpful, others just dead end (more to come…what to do next?). You’re absolutely right there’s no killer app at all to really put it together and I just don’t have the time to figure bits and pieces out.

    My only hangup with symfony was that you need php5. Cake is php4 & 5…so I thought it would be a better start moving to a MVC framework with backwards compatibility. Now I’m going to symphony anyway just to make some progress.

  • Tom

    I could create a killer application for cakePHP…if you mean “popular useful and pretty” by that. It’s a matter of design. I’m completely convinced cake can build very nice applications. I am full of work right now, but I am using cake to create a photo/patient database. That app really won’t make it to the public, but I would love to make a basecamp killer. I have the idea, I’ve had the idea for a long while and Cake is going to make it easier to execute. …but sure, I could make an app way better than the popular basecamp with my eyes closed. Basecamp is limited (and kinda easy to create even without cake)…but for some reason they manage to make money off it. I don’t know how. Anyway, it’s nothing to do with how you get there, it’s all about how it works.

  • cakebaker

    @Tom: Go for it :) Of course it is possible to create a better solution than Basecamp, but I wouldn’t underestimate the effort to create such an application.

  • zim's

    any body know where i can get a sample application build using cakephp?

    please mail me at gurning@gmail.com or post here if any body know where link can i’m browse to get that

    thanks a lot,

    [edited by cakebaker: removed irrelevant links]

  • cakebaker

    @zim’s: Have a look on http://cakeforge.org/, there are many projects (e.g. Cheesecake Photoblog) available for download.


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