A CakePHP plugin for I18n related tools.

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2.2.0 2021-12-25 14:04 UTC

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Last update: 2023-03-12 12:48:36 UTC


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This plugins provides:

  • Route class for generating and matching urls with language prefix.
  • Middleware which sets locale using I18n::setLocale() based on language prefix in URL and also provides redirection to appropriate URL with language prefix when accessing site root.
  • Class for retrieving translation messages stored in database instead of po/mo files.
  • Validation class for auto translating validation message.
  • A widget to generate select box with list of timezone identifiers.


composer require admad/cakephp-i18n


Load the plugin by running command:

bin/cake plugin load ADmad/I18n

The plugin contains multiple classes useful for internationalization. You can pick and chose the ones you require.


The I18nRoutes helps generating language prefixed routes of style /{lang}/{controller}/{action}.

For e.g. you can add routes to your routes.php similar to the ones shown below:

$routes->scope('/', function ($routes) {
        ['action' => 'index'],
        ['routeClass' => 'ADmad/I18n.I18nRoute']
        ['routeClass' => 'ADmad/I18n.I18nRoute']

Fragment /{lang} will be auto prefixed to the routes which allows matching URLs like /en/posts, /en/posts/add etc. The lang element is persisted so that when generating URLs if you don't provide the lang key in URL array it will be automatically added based on current URL.

When connecting the routes you can use lang key in options to provide regular expression to match only languages which your app supports. Or your can set config value I18n.languages which the route class will use to auto generate regex for lang element matching:

Configure::write('I18n.languages', ['en', 'fr', 'de']);

Note: I18nRoute extends core's DashedRoute so the URL fragments will be inflected accordingly.


While not necessary, one would generally use the I18nMiddleware too when using language prefixed routes with the help of I18nRoute.

You can setup the I18nMiddleware in your src/Application::middleware() as shown:

$middlware->add(new \ADmad\I18n\Middleware\I18nMiddleware([
    // If `true` will attempt to get matching languges in "languages" list based
    // on browser locale and redirect to that when going to site root.
    'detectLanguage' => true,
    // Default language for app. If language detection is disabled or no
    // matching language is found redirect to this language
    'defaultLanguage' => 'en',
    // Languages available in app. The keys should match the language prefix used
    // in URLs. Based on the language the locale will be also set.
    'languages' => [
        'en' => ['locale' => 'en_US'],
        'fr' => ['locale' => 'fr_FR']

The keys of languages array are the language prefixes you use in your URL.

To ensure that the lang router param is available, you must add this middleware after adding CakePHP's default routing middleware (i.e. after ->add(new RoutingMiddleware($this))).

The middleware does basically two things:

  1. When accessing site root / it redirects the user to a language prefixed URL, for e.g. /en. The langauge is redirects to depends on the configuration keys detectLanguage and defaultLanguage shown above.

    Now in order to prevent CakePHP from complaining about missing route for /, you must connect a route for / to a controller action. That controller action will never be actually called as the middleware will intercept and redirect the request.

    For e.g. $routes->connect('/', ['controller' => 'Foo']);

  2. When accesing any URL with language prefix it set's the app's locale based on the prefix. For that it checks the value of lang route element in current request's params. This route element would be available if the matched route has been connects using the I18nRoute.

    Using the array provided for the languages key it sets the App.language config to language prefix through Configure::write() and the value of locale is for I18n::setLocale() call.


By default CakePHP using .po files to store static string translations. If for whatever reason you don't want to use .po files you can use the DbMessagesLoader class to store the translation messaged in database instead. Personally I belive having the messages in a table instead of .po files make it much easier to make a web interface for managing translations.

To use this class first create database table using sql file provided in the plugin's config folder.

Add code similar to what's shown below in your app's config/bootstrap.php:

// NOTE: This is should be done below Cache config setup.

// Configure I18n to use DbMessagesLoader for default domain. You need to do
// this for each domain separately.
\Cake\I18n\I18n::config('default', function ($domain, $locale) {
    $loader = new \ADmad\I18n\I18n\DbMessagesLoader(

    return $loader();

You can use admad/i18n extract command to extract the translation message from your code files and populate the translations table. Updating the db records with translations for each language is upto you.

bin/cake admad/i18n extract

Now you can use the translation funtions like __() etc. as you normally would. The I18n class will fetch the required translations from the database instead of .po files.


In your AppView::initialize() configure the FormHelper to use TimezoneWidget.

// src/View/AppView.php
public function initialize(): void
    $this->loadHelper('Form', [
        'widgets' => [
            'timezone' => ['ADmad/I18n.Timezone']

You can generate a select box with timezone identifiers like:

// Generates select box with list of all timezone identifiers grouped by regions.
$this->Form->control('fieldname', ['type' => 'timezone']);

// Generates select box with list of timezone identifiers for specified regions.
$this->Form->control('fieldname', [
    'type' => 'timezone',
    'options' => [
        'Asia' => DateTimeZone::ASIA,
        'Europe' => DateTimeZone::EUROPE

As shown in example above note that unlike normal select box, options is now an associative array of valid timezone regions where the key will be used as optgroup in the select box.