I’ve been playing with a sweet PHP framework called CodeIgniter, and I have to say: I love it. It uses the MVC pattern, which I’ve never much cared for, but does it in a nice way: by staying out of the way. The models are incredibly basic, and really, you don’t even need them. The views are PHP templates done the way PHP templates should be done; with PHP.

Something many frameworks miss: the documentation is amazing. There is a great tutorial video on their website, and after watching it, many people say they’re hooked. The user guide is even better: well laid out, and it even has a slick interface and look that makes it pleasurful to use. What’s missing is pure API documentation, but there is a reference (that I now have printed and posted just above my desk) and most of the calls are outlined in the manual.

Unlike many other frameworks, it doesn’t impose any strict methods of doing anything. You have a controller that is a class with a bunch of functions. There are ‘helpers’, ‘libraries’, ‘plugins’, that all have a common way of loading ( $this->load->library(‘session’); for example). These can be core libraries, or application-specific (installed in the application/ folder). The directory layout is very intuitive, and it can all go underneath an HTTP root folder (not requiring certain files inside/outside of a web-accessable folder — double plus for people using shared hosting with open_basedir restrictions).

I started experimenting with it for the second version of web interface I’m writing, and I actually decided to port another application I had 75% done to it. It’s still in-progress as I write some user authentication routines, and I decided to write a “SuperModel” class (yeah, kind of dumb name) that builds forms and validates them – because I hate manually building forms.

If you’re a PHP developer, I highly recommend checking this framework out. It’s only been around publically for a couple months and has been aparently downloaded over 5000 times, and has a growing and active community in the forums.