A CakePHP multiple layouts solution

CakePHP multiple layouts FAQ: How do I use multiple layouts in CakePHP? Also, is there an easy way to switch between different layouts in my CakePHP controllers?

To use multiple layouts in CakePHP, the CakePHP docs tell us to switch layouts in our CakePHP controller functions (actions), like this:

function add() {
  # for this controller action and view, use a layout named 'add.ctp' in the layouts directory
  $this->layout = 'add';
  # more controller action code ...

So, if all you needed to know was how to switch layouts based on your CakePHP controller functions, well, that's all you need, have a nice day. :)

Automatically switching between multiple CakePHP layouts

However, if you want a nice way to automatically switch your CakePHP layouts based on which controller is invoked (as opposed to adding that line of code to each CakePHP controller action), I just ran across the following very nice solution. In short, put the following code in your CakePHP AppController, and modify it as desired based on your controller and layout names:

# got this layout solution from http://book.cakephp.org/comments/96
# PART 1: define this array
var $custom_layouts = array('Projects'=>'default',

# PART 2: use the array in this function
function beforeRender() 
  if (array_key_exists($this->name, $this->custom_layouts))
    $this->layout = $this->custom_layouts[$this->name];
    # default to default.ctp
    $this->layout = 'default';

  # to help debug/verify your controller names, if need be
  #$this->log($this->name, 'debug');

In this example, I have CakePHP controllers named ProjectsController and ProcessGroupsController, and corresponding CakePHP layouts named 'default.ctp' and 'project.ctp', respectively.

As you can also see in the code, I found most of that solution at this URL. I added the 'else' clause and default solution, which works really well for my current CakePHP project.

So far this has been a really good CakePHP multiple layouts solution. I hope it can help you too.