What Fate Awaits the Development of CodeIgniter Today?

In order to provide a proper rejoinder to the question we may have to go back to the source, check the history, compare opinions expressed by people in different forums on the topic and then come to a conclusion.To begin with, CodeIgniter, which is an open source rapid application development framework with special emphasis on a very small footprint, was originally launched by EllisLab, a privately owned software development company based in Bend, Oregon, which develops applications written in PHP.

Since the founding of the company in January 2002, it has released four different applications to people.  The first, pMachinePro is no more developed; however, it was a weblog software that had free as well as a licensed version. Even though pMachine is outdated now, its last version still continues to be available free.The company’s second and flagship software product ExpressionEngine happens to be a general purpose Content Management System, which is written in object-oriented PHP and using MySQL for data storage purposes.

The third product, CodeIgniter is an open source web application framework for use in building dynamic web sites with PHP. “Its goal is to enable [developers] to develop projects much faster than writing code from scratch, by providing a rich set of libraries for commonly needed tasks, as well as a simple interface and logical structure to access these libraries.” Incidentally, the first general version of CodeIgniter was released on February 28, 2006, while the latest stable version (2.1.4) saw the light of the day on July 8, 2013.Even though CodeIgniter is generally based on the popular Model-View-Controller development patter, view and controller classes are one of the significant parts of development, while models remain optional.

CodeIgniter is also acclaimed for its speed, especially when compared to other PHP frameworks. As a matter of fact, PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf spoke highly of it at frOSCon in August 2008, commenting that he liked CodeIgniter much “because it is faster, lighter and the least like a framework.” CodeIgniter’s source code is maintained at GitHub, which is a web-based hosting service for development projects that use the Git Revision Control system, and as of the preview version 3.0-dev, is certified open source  software licensed with ‘OSL’v.3.0. Versions prior to 3.0 are licensed under a proprietary Apache/BSD-style open source license.

This decision to change to OSL license created a lot of community controversy, especially in the light of GPL incompatibility of the new license. EllisLab has reportedly responded to it with a series of articles under the banner Software License Awareness Week.However, on July 9, 2013 EllisLab declared that that it was looking for a new owner for its product known as CodeIgniter, mentioning lack of involvement as one of the reasons.

Comments Made by Developers in Various Forums

  • “I think lot of people will continue to use CodeIgniter for many years but in the long run I think it’s dead.”
  • “EllisLab has let it sit for a long time and isn’t showing interest in improving the situation. There is only one hard working developer on Github accepting pull request, without him I don’t think any commits would be added to the dev branch.”
  • I have emailed EllisLab twice in the last few months.  They were nice and replied both times saying they are still interested in CI and the release would be out soon but nothing has happened.  If you look at their blog they never talk about CI anymore.  That is a clue where it is in their priorities.  I think it would be better if they let a community member take over the project and switch to an MIT License.


Now that the whole picture has been revealed in detail, the reader may take his/her decision on whether CodeIgniter development will progress further or not.