Perhaps the title and focus of this article should not be specific for only Codeigniter, As any PHP framework has its own features and benefits against custom PHP development. But I chose Codeigniter because of its easy configuration and flexibility of going into very depth of development. I have been working in this framework since 2008, So I have pretty good reasons base on my experience with this framework that why using Codeigniter is a lot better than going to raw PHP or custom development.
Codeigniter is a powerful PHP framework with extensive list of libraries and helpers. On 99Points we have written few articles related to codeigniter development which were appreciated by readers and we thought to write more about this framework.
Ready to Go & Almost Zero Configuration
If you are going to start a new project with custom PHP then you obviously need to set and collect couple of files to get this start. You must need to build database & other configuration files. Mostly, developers have to write everything from scratch. In Custom development, we will see database queries and other php functions being used directly into lot of files. Following are few files we need in custom development.
In Codeigniter we dont need to worry about such classes and configurations. We will only need to download latest version from there website and after unzipping and setting up few things you are ready to go. The whole zip comes with 3 folders usually,
The system/ folder contains all libraries and classes which we can add and use in our application. We dont need to do anything with system folder because all our work will go to application folder. The application folder is a set of folders and each folder name defines the purpose of its creation.
These two files are needed to setup in Codeigniter.
– application/config/config.php file with a text editor and set your base URL.
– application/config/database.php If you intend to use a database then set your database settings.
As we know, Codeigniter is a Model/View/Controller (MVC) based framework so this is best structure to build any application. Each request comes to controller and performing any database interaction though Model, all out put goes to View for the end result. Where as, in custom PHP each single page serves as MVC where we can see so much complexity.
No PHP Version Conflicts
PHP is an open source which is open to enhance and provided with best built-in functions. We often see that whenever new PHP version releases, many new and useful functions are offered with it. Also few of them take places of old functions with new set of features. In custom PHP development, everything is open and directly used. So its hard to go into hundred of files and change all those old functions which are now depreciated. But in using a framework we dont need to worry about version conflicts. Because every functions comes in wrapper and a developer should not be worry about fixing such issue but a newer version of framework will be one step solution for this.
Less Chances to Mess The Code
If you are working in a team on same project there is less chances that anyone of your team would mess up the code as you all are following a predefined way to perform the tasks. The separation of code has been very easy in Codeigniter. You can break down a module into a number of controllers, models and views which will make it easy to work on same project by a team simultaneously.
Less Duplication of Code
In simple PHP development, it depends on developer mode, that where he/she write a function. They can add functions into any existing class or sometimes they will add into a specific page where they are working on. This thing get complex when you will find duplication of functions which performs same functionality. But in Codeigniter, no one writes their function on to page. Each function goes into Models, which is accessible within site. Codeigniter develops a habit to write each code to its proper place. This thing reduces the chances of duplication.
Clear & Thorough Documentation
No doubt, the popularity or success of any framework depends on its documentation and manuals. In custom programming, obviously you have no limitation on what you are doing. You can search the internet and finds many good examples of tasks you are working on but it also extends the complexity of any project when you put everyone’s code in it. Living in any framework you need to follow a specific set of rules and if you want to add do more than defined you might need some sort of help or documentation about that specific framework. Codeigniter has a very detailed and clear documentation which helps users to think out of the box.
Most Active Online Community
Codeigniter has a very effective and active community where your questions has been replied within minutes. Its very active community I have ever experienced. With an active online forum, Codeigniter has also a Wiki page where you can download many great libraries and plugins developed by CI community. These plugins are free to download and use. With these useful plugins and classes. You can also find many useful and best Premium Codeigniter Scripts which surely will save your time and provides you best built-in solutions.
Built-in Libraries and Helpers
The one of great benefit of using Codeigniter is its rich set of libraries and helpers which comes within download. You just need to add them to your controllers and models to get initialize them. Our websites mostly need a common set of functions or classes such as date class, pagination, security, session, cart, calendar and cache classes. Codeigniter has a set of such commonly used classes which save our lot of time.
Easy Error Handling
Error handling has never been so easy and transparent. In custom development, its hard to keep track of bugs and find them. Our whole application can be disturbed if the site has encountered a problem in code. Where as, in Codeigniter we have accomplished with a standard Error Handling techniques which helps to control the errors and report the failure at minimum level.
Security and Encryption
Every one wants a secure and hack free site for them. They need their site secure from CSRF/XSRF Attacks and SQL injection etc. In using framework the security of site can be achieved by using built-in classes and libraries. Codeigniter has few best libraries to do these security things in very few and easy steps.
Mostly websites don’t have cache feature in it. Specially if you are doing custom PHP development, most of the developers never mentions cache benefit or don’t want to mention as this is a thing they don’t wanna trouble with them. If you describes the benefits of cache system to your clients, I am sure 90% of clients would love to add it in their projects. Codeigniter cache library is solution to this situation.
Easy Template Solution of Codeigniter
Most of you know about template system and how they can be beneficial for our site. Template systems separates the PHP and HTML so that you can easily change layouts with taking care of actual PHP code. I have been working with Smarty template system and few others, and I can say its really hard to customize your needs. But in Codeigniter template system is very powerful and very easy to perform any action.