With enormous use of mobile devices and digitization of businesses, web development has gone far and specific solution based application development has been the necessity of the hour. Developing robust, scalable and secure multi-device supporting solutions has become the most sought-after service in today’s age.
PHP is one of the most widely preferred programming languages for web application development Installed on over 2 million web servers and used in developing more than 378 million web applications, various PHP offers a range of frameworks. Among Laravel, CakePHP, Symfony, and Yii PHP frameworks, Codeigniter is one of the most preferred software and application development frameworks that empower developers with extensive toolsets and functionalities to craft exquisite business solutions with minimum effort. Let’s start understanding the best Codeigniter custom web development practices which you must follow.
Understanding CodeIgniter PHP Framework
CodeIgniter is an open source PHP MVC framework that enabled developers build fully-featured dynamic applications rapidly. With a range of libraries and packages facilitating connecting databases to perform diverse operations including file uploads, session management, email sending and more, the MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework of CodeIgniter helps building multiple processes of the development cycle concurrently with effective design.
To understand how CodeIgniter expedites the application development, let’s understand the MVC architecture.
Model- View-Controller or MVC, as it is popularly known, is a logical architecture of an application that constitutes:
- Models that accommodate business logics through effective functioning through computations and databases among others.
- Views that deal with the presentation of data provided by models.
- Controllers that establish connection between models and views.
The controllers capture the requests made by users and route them to appropriate models. As the responses adhering to these requests are provided by the assigned models, the response provided by models are routed to load views.
Considering CodeIgniter For Custom Development
Being an open-source web development framework and offering all-integral tools for robust and rapid application development, CodeIgniter is embraced amongst developers worldwide. This MVC web framework allows faster, secure and effortless custom web development.
CodeIgniter PHP framework offers a pre-built application structure that allows developers to use libraries and integrate packages for commonly required application features. Developers can use these pre-written codes and built exquisite web and software applications rapidly with minimum coding efforts. Basic tool sets provided by CodeIgniter can be integrated seamlessly and optimized to create custom software solutions thereby drastically speeding up the entire development process.
CodeIgniter is one of the choicest web development frameworks due to below-mentioned reasons.
- Small Footprint: CodeIgniter is a lightweight PHP framework that comes with smaller footprint. With a significant 2MB download and a simple user guide, Codeigniter is and independent development framework that allows faster and optimized framework-based performance-focused websites.
- Simple & Easy Configuration: Codeigniter Framework is quite simple and easy to configure. All you need to do is to install the framework and edit the config.php for effortlessly loading the libraries, databases, arrays and various other elements.
- Time Saving Pre-built Basic Components: Generally used application components including pre-built libraries and basic application functions are offered by CodeIgniter. You can use pre-existing application components such as email, session management and database management to embed basic functions to your customizable applications. Applications developed with CodeIgniter load faster and occupy less space in comparison to applications developed using other frameworks.
- Effortlessly Extendable with Minimum Code: With a range of predefined libraries and packages, you can implement existing features as per specific application requirements. CodeIgniter also allows you to create new libraries and packages to extend the app functionality effortlessly. Minimum code is required to extend any existing application that saves notable time and effort while eliminating great chances of committing errors.
For instance, the following function within the PHP program queries a MySQL database:
The same function can be written Codeigniter framework to handle a similar query more effectively:
As clearly seen, the PHP function constitutes 244 characters whereas the Codeigniter framework coding involved only 112 characters thereby reducing the code writing effort and minimizing the chances to commit errors.
- Highly Secure: With a restrictive approach to use minimum characters, CodeIgniter drastically reduces the possibility of passing malicious data to the applications. PHP CodeIgniter framework offers several in-built functions that facilitate input and output filtering. Most of these functions can be used to encrypt and decrypt the data for utmost security to protect from CSRF and XSS attacks.
Codeigniter framework also provides utmost protection against potential security threats including SQL injection, remote code execution (RCE), and cross-site scripting attacks making CodeIgniter the preferred choice for application development.
- CI Community: A large community of over 57,000 registered PHP CI developers and certified professionals aids to provide comprehensive support by addressing development concerns at a single platform. A CI Wikipedia page is easily accessible code and dedicated forum constituting geographically scattered developers community addresses all CI development related queries through assistance from experts across the globe.
- Develop on Github: You can also develop your CodeIgniter project on Github that enabled easy bug fixing and adding new features with third party libraries and collections.
Best Practices for CodeIgniter Development
1. Embrace default application structure
Based on MVC architecture, CodeIgniter empowers developers to establish connection to the databases and load the most appropriate views through models. Following the default MVC structure to build an application would help you end your project with striking outcomes.
2. Use ORM Library or Third Party Data Access Layer
Despite an array of pre-built libraries are available in Codeigniter, you can also leverage features and components of ORM or access third-party libraries. Embedding ORM or third-party libraries would help you extend your application features to an extent beyond the scope of existing CI libraries.
4. Custom Web Development with Custom Caching
Various ORM and third-party libraries come with integrated caching support but implementing custom caching can contribute to add to your custom web and software development projects.
5. Render Views Using Custom Template Engine
Rich views can be easily created and rendered using various templates offered by Codeigniter. But you can also choose to use third-party template engines as per your specific requirements. Codeigniter allows easy integration of custom template engines for creating intelligent views.
6. Validate Inputs
Before you submit any input to the database, ensure that it must be validated. Storing sanitized inputs and preventing SQL (Structured Query Language) injections enable effective data management with CI applications.
7. Use SEO-Friendly URLs
To make your web applications SEO friendly, it is recommended to remove index.php urls from the application URLs. The config and htaccess files must be changed to make the code index.php urls free.
8. Handling Errors
Error handling is one of the eminent practice you must follow for superlative custom web development. CodeIgniter facilitates error handling using three primary functions namely show_error(), show_404() and log_message().
9. Config Directory to Store Configuration Information
All the configuration files must be stored under the config directory. The configuration files located outside the config directory may disrupt the execution of diverse application functions leading to fatal run-time errors.
The Best Practices Advantages
Following the above mentioned best practices not only helps you write flawless code, but also adds to the expandability with minimum efforts while expediting the project development significantly. The practices listed above are perfect standards of developing exquisite custom applications with end to end functionality catering to specific business needs.
Observing the proven practices of custom web development leaves no space for erroneous outputs and project failures. Advantages of following the best practices for MVC structure based CI custom application development include:
- Reduced code flexibility
- Enhanced readability
- Effective application management
- Code reusability
Casio Computers, Nissan, and Bonfire are some of the top website developed using CodeIgniter MVC framework.
PHP CodeIgniter is an all-round framework that helps rapid web development with MVC architecture. With a small footprint, extensive libraries and packages, CI equips developers build custom web applications without much effort. The well-documented framework also assists custom application developers with all queries answered through tutorials, books and community.
The skyrocketing development needs and digital expansion of businesses can be efficiently addressed with robust, secure and scalable development platform. CodeIgniter lets developers build simple to complex web solutions using extensible code libraries and packages. Immense features and rich bundle of pre-defined functions make CI one of the most reliable custom development platform.
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