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 the very depth of development. I have been working in this framework since 2008, So I have pretty good reasons based 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 an extensive list of libraries and helpers. On 99Points we have written a 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 a couple of files to get this started. You must need to build a 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 in a lot of files. Following are a few files we need in custom development.
In Codeigniter, we don’t need to worry about such classes and configurations. We will only need to download the latest version from their website and after unzipping and setting up a 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 don’t need to do anything with the system folder because all our work will go to the 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 be set up 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 the best structure to build any application. Each request comes to the controller and performs any database interaction through Model, all output goes to View for the end result. Whereas, in custom PHP every single page serves as MVC where we can see so much complexity.
No PHP Version Conflicts
PHP is open-source that is open to enhance and provide the best built-in functions. We often see that whenever a new PHP version releases, many new and useful functions are offered with it. Also, few of them take place of old functions with new sets of features. In custom PHP development, everything is open and directly used. So it’s hard to go into hundred of files and change all those old functions which are now depreciated. But in using a framework we don’t need to worry about version conflicts. Because every function comes in the wrapper and a developer should not worry about fixing such issues but a newer version of the framework will be one step solution for this.
Fewer Chances to Mess The Code
If you are working in a team on the same project there are fewer chances that any one 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 the same project with a team simultaneously.
Less Duplication of Code
In simple PHP development, it depends on the developer mode, where he/she writes a function. They can add functions to any existing class or sometimes they will add to a specific page where they are working on. This thing gets complex when you will find duplication of functions that performs the same functionality. But in Codeigniter, no one writes their function onto the page. Each function goes into Models, which is accessible within the site. Codeigniter develops a habit to write each code in 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 more than defined you might need some sort of help or documentation about that specific framework. Codeigniter has very detailed and clear documentation which helps users to think outside of the box.
Most Active Online Community
Codeigniter has a very effective and active community where your questions have been replied to within minutes. It’s the 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 the 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 you time and provides you best built-in solutions.
Built-in Libraries and Helpers
The one of great benefits of using Codeigniter is its rich set of libraries and helpers that comes with the 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 saves us a lot of time.
Easy Error Handling
Error handling has never been so easy and transparent. In custom development, it’s hard to keep track of bugs and find them. Our whole application can be disturbed if the site has encountered a problem in code. Whereas, in Codeigniter, we have accomplished standard Error Handling techniques which help to control the errors and report the failure at a minimum level.
Security and Encryption
Everyone wants a secure and hack-free site for them. They need their site secure from CSRF/XSRF Attacks and SQL injection etc. In using a framework the security of the site can be achieved by using built-in classes and libraries. Codeigniter has a few best libraries to do these security things in very few easy steps.
Most websites don’t have a cache feature in them. Especially if you are doing custom PHP development, most of the developers never mention cache benefits or don’t want to mention it as this is a thing they don’t wanna trouble with them. If you describe the benefits of the cache system to your clients, I am sure 90% of clients would love to add it to their projects. The Codeigniter cache library is the solution to this situation.
Easy Template Solution of Codeigniter
Most of you know about template systems and how they can be beneficial for our site. Template systems separate the PHP and HTML so that you can easily change layouts with taking care of actual PHP code. I have been working with the Smarty template system and a few others, and I can say it’s really hard to customize your needs. But in Codeigniter template system is very powerful and very easy to perform any action.