CodeIgniter, for those of you who may not know, is a PHP Framework. It is built as an open-source framework by the folks at EllisLab. CodeIgniter aims to make developing robust web apps a snap.

I will confess, I was too late to the whole PHP framework game. This was my very first attempt at developing a minimal site using a framework. I needed something to test it out on, so I used it on a client’s site. Coming from a self-taught PHP/MySQL background, I am used to figuring things out for myself. Apparently, of all the PHP frameworks, CodeIgniter has one of the higher learning curves. CodeIgniter comes paired with a fantastic user guide, which saved me many hours searching Google for solutions.

My first client site using CodeIgniter was a simple four-page site with an admin panel to manage photos. Overall, building the site, from start to finish, took me roughly 16 hours to make it. Of those 16 hours, I probably spent ten reading documentation and getting a feel for the framework. One of the joys of a framework is almost all your everyday functions are already coded into it. The only thing holding you back from making anything you want is knowing exactly what each module can do. This is where excellent documentation comes in to play.

Another factor for my choice of learning CodeIgniter is how it was crafted with security and speed in mind. EllisLab took the time to make sure CodeIgniter’s built-in functions were as absolutely secure as possible. They also took the time to optimize the code and reduce the load on a server. Not like my first four-page site was going to need heaps of security or be getting millions of hits a day. In fact, I think it receives roughly 15 hits a day, so it is not a big client by any means.

After making the first site, I can easily see cranking out web apps in the fastest possible time with CodeIgniter. I am very impressed with the framework overall. I instantly saw the benefits when working on client projects and building custom web apps. I have since used CodeIgniter on a few more projects, and it has been invaluable. The biggest benefit of CodeIgniter is the speed at which you develop and launch a web app. I highly recommend it as the first framework for anyone brave enough to jump right into the mix and get their hands dirty.