CakePHP Access Control Alphabet Soup

Reading through a few of my most recent posts, you’ll quickly learn that I’m learning CakePHP as my PHP framework of choice. So far, so good. Actually, it’s pretty good, but that is not without some questions I’ve had along the way. I’m probably getting stuck more than I should on best practice coding, but I like to do it the right way, not necessarily the easiest way (read: hacks).

Among some of my initial stumbling blocks has been working through the idea of access control from the framework viewpoint. I “get it” when it comes to writing my own code, like in the revealCMS, and I “get it” in the context of certain “things” (usually users) needing access to specific things (often controllers and actions). The hard part is sorting out where to even start with all the alphabet soup: Auth, Acl, Aro, Aco, etc etc etc. How do you even get to a point where you have a simple working prototype to expand on?

Apparently there are numerous examples and tutorials of how to get started with Cake Acl, however I find many of them to be over-complicated or thorough. In other cases some are simply too terse. There is a fine line between terseness and conciseness. Even the CakePHP docs leave much to be desired for newer users: the official Acl documentation is long and kind-of confusing, and the sample application tutorial (also part of the official docs) seems to do things differently than explained in the primary documentation – a considerable problem, in my opinion. Yes, I do realize that the concept of Acl really depends on your application, but shouldn’t documentation at least be consistent? The one saving grace, however, is that the Bakery has a few examples, which brings me to my next point.

I found a tutorial I actually like so far. By “so far,” I mean I haven’t finished it yet, but to this point I’ve gotten more done than most articles have gotten me in just setting up the Acl… and it’s not all that difficult. It’s Ketan’s How to use Acl with Cake PHP 1.2.x?* No dobut some of you will stumble across this post here, and hopefully find it useful. I think once the dust settles on the first step, you(we) will be able to look at some of the other tutorials and adapt them to our own specific needs.

I’ll try to keep this post updated with additonal solutions as I find them.

* There ARE some typos in the example code, so be aware of that and make modifications as necessary.

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