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What is CodeIgniter Hosting?

CodeIgniter is a web application framework for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) coders. It allows Web developers to advance projects more quickly than they could if writing code from scratch. As open source software, CodeIgniter is affordable, adaptable, and accessible.

Overview

CodeIgniter is a PHP web development application framework built on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) paradigm.

A web application development framework is a tool for creating dynamic websites, web-based applications, and web services, which provides a structure to the overall application and modules or libraries for doing common development tasks.

Libraries and modules eliminate the need for a developer to solve a problem that other developers have already solved — basic functions and features like user login, session management, database access, and form validation. There's no need to reinvent the wheel, and a good application framework provides these functions so that a developer can focus on the important task of creating new and valuable features.

CodeIgniter also provides a structure to a web application, by suggesting a general template for how to organize code and directories, and by making some key architectural decisions about how various components interact with each other.

Model-View-Controller

One important thing that CodeIgniter provides is a Model-View-Controller (MVC) outline for application structure. Model-View-Controller is considered by many to be a “Best Practice” in application development and is a key feature of the CodeIgniter framework. MVC is, essentially, a way of organizing the components of an application in a way that separates the underlying data (the Model), the application or business logic (the Controller), and the final presentation to the screen or public API (the View).

The easiest way to understand how MVC works is to think about what might happen in CodeIgniter-based web application between a user clicking on a link and that same user seeing the content on the page a moment later.

The browser sends a request to the web server, which routes it to a set of scripts called the Controller. The Controller sends a request to the Model scripts, where details about data structure and database access are written. The Model includes code that fetches content from the database and then turns that content back over to the Controller. The Controller then sends that content to the View, which includes HTML template information. The View pushes the rendered page out to the user through the web server.

This is a somewhat simplified explanation, and omits important details like page caching (which is handled by the View, and which speeds up overall performance), application functionality like processing credit cards (handled indirectly by the Controller), and updating the database (done by the Model).

Following this general separation of concerns helps to ensure a high level of code organization and guides good decision making about how to implement novel features when building a new web application. CodeIgniter provides Model, View, and Controller scripts, as well as the libraries and application infrastructure that allow these components to interact in a meaningful way.

Important CodeIgniter Features

Light Weight

CodeIgniter provides only the scripts needed and nothing else. Most functionality comes in the form a series of plugins and interoperable libraries, so you don't end up with code for a lot of features you aren't actually using.

Database classes with support for multiple platforms

Classes for interacting with the database provide a layer of abstraction, freeing you from having to write boilerplate SQL queries, and allowing you to change database software without rewriting your application. Several popular databases are supported, including MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL.

Flexibility

The philosophy of CodeIgniter is to make PHP development easier, not harder. To that end, the framework provides a lot of flexibility and does not force you to develop in a certain way. For example, while the MVC model described above is fully supported, the framework still functions in the absence of Models, which is perfect if you are not building a database driven application.

Speed and Performance

CodeIgniter is serious about speed, and has made a number of key decision to ensure the fastest possible rendering of pages. One example of this is the automatic caching of rendered pages, which allows frequently-accessed pages to be displayed without the full fetch-and-render process.

Another example is the lack of a specialized template language for creating HTML/PHP Views. While a template markup system requires a little less typing and appears a little cleaner in source code, it is a huge hit in performance because the file essentially has to be rendered twice (once from Template markup in to PHP, and then a second time into HTML).

CodeIgniter Hosting

Hosts that support PHP should generally support CodeIgniter. There are occasional issues with environment configuration for certain modules, such as email classes having access to a mail server. Before launching a new project with CodeIgniter, you should make sure the specific modules and features you need are supported by your web host. Additionally, check to make sure that your host supports the version of PHP needed to run CodeIgniter and any required libraries.

CodeIgniter Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who develops and maintains CodeIgniter?

    CodeIgniter was originally developed and maintained by EllisLab, developers of ExpressionEngine, and in 2014 it was acquired by the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Since then, it has officially become a community-maintained project.

  • How do I install CodeIgniter?

    After you've downloaded Code Igniter, it can be installed in a few easy steps: 1. Unzip the package. 2. Upload the CodeIgniter folders and files to your server. Typically you'll want to place the index.php file at your root. 3. Open application/config/config.php with a text editor. Set your base URL and, if you plan to use encryption or sessions, set your encryption key. If you’re not using a database, that’s it. If you do plan on using a database, you’ll need to open application/config/database.php with a text editor and configure your database settings. For increased security, you can also rename your system and application folders. It’s best to check the installation documentation on CodeIgniter’s website to make sure you've updated all of your configurations correctly before doing this.

  • What is the difference between CodeIgniter 3.x and CodeIgniter 2.x?

    CodeIgniter 3.0 introduced a number of improvements to the sessions, encryption, and database libraries, improving overall performance and reliability. While they continue to support the legacy version, they recommend the 3.x version for all new installations.

  • Is there a guide to learn how to use CodeIgniter?

    Yes, a user manual is included with the installation. It is recommended that you review all topics in the introduction, and then read each of the General Topics pages in order, as each topic builds on each other. Code examples are also included, so you can practice while you learn. Additional reference guides are also included, and you can find more information in the community forums and online Wiki.

  • Why should I choose CodeIgniter?

    CodeIgniter is designed for developers who want an application development framework with a small footprint and exceptional performance, with broad compatibility, and that requires almost zero configuration. It’s for users who don't want to use the command line, adhere to restrictive coding rules, or be forced to learn a templating language. In short, it’s for anyone who wants a simple to use solution with plenty of support documentation available.

  • Does CodeIgniter use a Template Engine?

    Yes and no. CodeIgniter comes with a simple template parser, but using it is optional. The CodeIgniter team feels template engines cannot match the performance of native PHP, and the benefits gained by using them (slightly simpler syntax), does not outweigh the price to performance required to convert the template’s pseudo-code code back to PHP. However, the template engine is available for those who find it easier to use.

  • How much does CodeIgniter cost?

    CodeIgniter is free to download and use. It’s licensed under an Apache/BSD-style open source license, so you can use or modify it however you please.

  • How are URLs configured in CodeIgniter?

    CodeIgniter by default creates search-engine and human friendly, segment-based URLs, such as: example.com/news/event/summer_event. CodeIgniter segments the URL so that the first segment represents the controller class that should be invoked (in the above example, “news”), the second represent the class function or method to be called (“event”), and the third represents the ID and any variables that will be passed to the controller (“summer_event”).

  • What type of security measures does CodeIgniter provide?

    CodeIgniter includes a number of built-in security measures, including: It restricts the characters it allows in your URI strings in order to minimize the possibility that malicious data can be passed to your application. PHP error reporting can be disabled in production, preventing sensitive information from being entered in error outputs. It includes a Cross Site Scripting Filter, which looks for commonly used techniques for embedding malicious code, hijack cookies, or other malicious activity. It provides Cross-Site Request Forgery protection, which protects users from unknowingly submitting hacker requests. It also includes a number of best practices for programmers to improve the security of their code.

  • Can I contribute to CodeIgniter?

    CodeIgniter is community-driven, and they gladly accept code and documentation contributions through a repository on their website and GitHub. The easiest way to contribute is to point out a bug, which can be done through the issues reporting system on their site.

  • I’m using an older version of CodeIgniter. Can I upgrade to the latest version?

    The steps to upgrade will vary depending on the version you are currently running. Make sure to check out the documentation section on CodeIgniter’s website, as several files and setting may need to be adjusted to ensure a smooth transition to a later version, particularly if you are moving from a legacy version (2.x) to CodeIgniter 3.0.

  • Since CodeIgniter launched version 3.0, will they continue to support legacy versions?

    Since it is a community-maintained project, this will depend on the participation of community contributors. At the time of this writing, the legacy version was still being actively developed, and will likely continue to be developed, due to the number of active users.

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