Yii vs. CodeIgniter: a comparative guide

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The EPAM Anywhere Editorial Team is an international collective of senior software engineers, managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on technology, career, remote work, and the daily life here at Anywhere.

The EPAM Anywhere Editorial Team is an international collective of senior software engineers, managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on technology, career, remote work, and the daily life here at Anywhere.

CodeIgniter and Yii are two popular open-source PHP frameworks with strong community support. They are based on the MVC (Model-View-Controller) structure and are deeply respected by the global developer community. CodeIgniter has 18.3k stars on GitHub, while Yii has 14.2k stars. Currently, each of these solutions serves as the basis for hundreds of thousands of websites (more precisely, 1,426,327 in the case of CodeIgniter and 334,163 in the case of Yii). So, which one is best for remote PHP developers? Let's figure out the difference between Yii and CodeIgniter below.

PHP frameworks
Source: Programadores Brasil

CodeIgniter overview

Let's start with a brief overview of CodeIgniter. As we mentioned above, this is a PHP framework used for the rapid development of web applications and websites. First released in 2006, CodeIgniter provides developers with ready-made libraries for connecting to a database and performing various operations such as sending emails, uploading files, and managing them. The entire source code of this framework is about 2 MB, which allows software engineers to master its functionality quickly . With excellent documentation, this feature makes it easy to deploy and update.

CodeIgniter uses the Model-View-Controller architectural design, ensuring the separation of data, business logic, and view. It also comes with some libraries out of the box, eliminating the need to integrate third-party solutions. However, along with this, your CodeIgniter-based project can be easily extended through the use of your libraries, helpers, class extensions, or system hooks. In general, it is one of the best options for creating dynamic websites.

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Yii overview

Yii (a “Yes it is” acronym) is a component-based, object-oriented PHP web development framework that embodies the MVC paradigm. Officially released in 2008, it allows developers to implement the concept of code reuse and can significantly speed up the process of working on a project. Initially, Yii was created as a more advanced alternative to the PRADO (PHP Rapid Application Development Object-oriented) framework. In turn, PRADO was conceived as a project to port ASP.NET to PHP.

This general-purpose web development framework can create almost any web project. Due to its small size and advanced caching features, Yii is especially suitable for developing high-load web applications and websites, such as portals, forums, content management systems with typical admin panels and a minimum of business logic, e-commerce systems, etc. The Yii framework is easy to learn and use, which contributes to the rapid development of projects on it.

best free PHP web frameworks

Yii vs. CodeIgniter: performance

What can be said about CodeIgniter vs. Yii performance?

In a nutshell, Codeigniter and Yii are considered high-performance frameworks. Along with this, they support the concept of lazy loading, displaying content to the end user only on request. That is why, in the context of our comparison, it is better to analyze these two frameworks by considering the requirements of a particular project rather than focusing solely on performance characteristics. However, below, we will describe each framework's performance aspect separately.

Yii

This framework provides smooth caching, ensuring that program engineers will be able to write only clean code. Therefore, the solutions built with the help of Yii turn out highly optimized (from the point of view of performance). The results of the Yii benchmark test are presented here.

CodeIgniter

Solutions built on this framework demonstrate outstanding performance: the average response time to run the project with 100 users is 11.5 sec (for 500 users, this parameter is about 45.6 sec, and for 1100 users, it is 26.0 sec).

Yii vs. CodeIgniter: security

What can we say about the security and reliability of these two frameworks? In general, they both have dozens of built-in tools to provide basic security for projects based on them. However, you may need to integrate third-party libraries and solutions for niche security standards.

Yii

This framework provides developers with many security tools to protect a web solution from attacks, cookie tampering, SQL injection, cross-site scripting (CSS), and cross-site request forgery (XSRF).

CodeIgniter

This framework prevents the most widespread security threats, such as cross-site scripting attacks, SQL injection, and remote code execution.

CodeIgniter vs. Yii: development costs

Considering the entry threshold and basic features of both frameworks, they are approximately on the same level. Therefore, it makes sense to evaluate the cost of web development services for each in terms of the place of residence of developers who specialize in working with a specific framework. In particular, according to this and this analytics, Yii software engineers are most concentrated in the US, Canada, EU countries, and China, while CodeIgniter software engineers live mainly in India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan.

If we calculate the average rate for these countries, we can conclude that the price tag for Yii-based development services may be lower than in the case of CodeIgniter. However, it is worth focusing on the rates of a particular development service provider.

Yii

The developer’s rates usually start at $40 per hour. However, the final price tag directly depends on the demand for such software engineers in a particular region and with a particular technology stack (besides Yii).

CodeIgniter

A CodeIgniter developer may charge around $50-$75 per hour or more. Remember that the rates of a specific software engineer or software development company depend on their level of demand and general expertise.

CodeIgniter vs. Yii: maintenance costs

Speaking specifically about software components based on Yii or CodeIgniter, it makes sense to discuss their updates (to upload the current version of these frameworks, you can use Composer) and how they affect the maintenance costs. For instance, let’s discuss if it is expensive to support projects on CodeIgniter 3 vs. Yii2.

Yii

The projects based on the older version of this framework may need additional maintenance. Given that Yii is slightly less popular than CodeIgniter, to modify your project, it will be more difficult to find software engineers with many years of experience in Yii development. This means that maintenance costs may be somewhat higher.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a popular framework that is ideal for small projects. This is supported not only by the high development speed and ease of development, but also by the low cost of maintaining projects based on it.

CodeIgniter vs. Yii: speed

What can be said about the development time with these frameworks? Let’s find it out.

Yii

The entry threshold for this framework is a little higher than in the case of CodeIgniter. Therefore, the second option is better for startups and projects that must be implemented in the shortest possible time. On the other hand, this framework allows PHP web developers to write reusable code, significantly speeding up the development process.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter can be considered one of the quickest PHP frameworks: both in terms of loading time and the speed of the development process.

CodeIgniter vs. Yii: scalability

Finally, let's say a few words about the scalability of these two tools.

Yii

After the PHP framework Yii vs. CodeIgniter comparison, we can say that Yii is a better option from the point of view of scalability, as it supports a module-based approach.

CodeIgniter

Some developers claim that this framework suffers from a lack of module portability and has “weak” libraries. So, for a module-based approach implementation, it wouldn't be a good choice.

Differences between CodeIgniter and Yii frameworks

To sum up the main specifics of these two frameworks, we recommend you analyze this CodeIgniter and Yii comparison table.

Feature

Yii

CodeIgniter

Version

2.0.49

4.4.4

Supported PHP version

PHP 5+

PHP 7.4+

ORM

Active records and database access objects

Active records

Template system

PHP, PRADO, and some extensions

PHP, Simple template parser

CRUD

supports

doesn’t support

VCS

through Git subversion

through Git subversion and GitHub

Multiple databases support

available

available

Testing tools

PHPUnit and Selenium

PHPUnit

Security tools

against XSRF, SQL injections, inbuilt XSS

against XSRF, SQL injections, inbuilt XSS

Yii vs. CodeIgniter: how to choose the most suitable framework for your product

Based on our Yii vs. CodeIgniter comparison, CodeIgniter is better for small projects (for example, for creating simple web applications and websites). As for the Yii framework, it has proven itself better in working with medium and large projects with high scalability requirements.

Conclusion

After reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of the difference between CodeIgniter and Yii framework, and now you know which one will look better on your PHP developer resume depending on the job requirements. But, if you still aren't sure between these two, the best way is to network within developer communities and decide on the framework matching your professional aspirations best.

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published 18 Jan 2024
updated 24 Feb 2024
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written by

The EPAM Anywhere Editorial Team is an international collective of senior software engineers, managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on technology, career, remote work, and the daily life here at Anywhere.

The EPAM Anywhere Editorial Team is an international collective of senior software engineers, managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on technology, career, remote work, and the daily life here at Anywhere.

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