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From CodeIgniter 2 to 4: Upgrade Journey & Coding Samplesby@sanjays
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From CodeIgniter 2 to 4: Upgrade Journey & Coding Samples

by Sanjay SinghaniaJune 7th, 2024
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CodeIgniter 4 is the latest version, packed with upgrades. It keeps the strengths of CodeIgniter 2 while adding new features and modern practices. Upgrading lets you access new features, better performance, and stronger security. We'll give clear instructions and code examples to make the transition smooth.
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This blog aims to help developers upgrade their projects from CodeIgniter 2 to CodeIgniter 4. Upgrading lets you access new features, better performance, and stronger security. We'll give clear instructions and code examples to make the transition smooth. Whether you're experienced or new to CodeIgniter, this guide has what you need to upgrade your projects successfully.

Understanding CodeIgniter Versions

CodeIgniter 2 has been a trusted framework for developers, offering features like a strong architecture, database support, form validation, and security tools. Knowing its ins and outs sets the stage for understanding CodeIgniter 4.


CodeIgniter 4 is the latest version, packed with upgrades. It keeps the strengths of CodeIgniter 2 while adding new features and modern practices. These include better performance, stronger security, flexibility, and compatibility with PHP 7 and higher. Knowing these improvements is key for developers moving from CodeIgniter 2 to 4.


When comparing the two versions, several differences, like changes in architecture, syntax, and features, stand out. For instance, CodeIgniter 4 is more modular, letting developers organize their code better. It also adopts modern PHP standards like namespaces and PSR-4 autoloading. Understanding these differences helps developers smoothly transition and make the most of CodeIgniter 4's capabilities.

Preparing for the Upgrade

Before starting the upgrade, thoroughly check your existing CodeIgniter 2 project. Look at its structure, like controllers, models, views, and any custom parts you've added. Find any outdated features or things that might not work with CodeIgniter 4. This helps you see what needs to change.


Next, see if your setup meets CodeIgniter 4's requirements. Check your PHP version, server setup, and anything else CodeIgniter 4 needs. Updating your setup to match ensures the upgrade goes smoothly and avoids problems later.


Lastly, back up your files and database before you make any changes. This is like a safety net—if something goes wrong during the upgrade, you can go back to how things were. Save copies of all your project files, like configs, controllers, models, and views. Also, make a backup of your database to keep your data safe. With a backup ready, you can upgrade with peace of mind.

Upgrading CodeIgniter Libraries and Helpers

Start by finding any outdated libraries and helpers in your CodeIgniter 2 project. These are tools that aren't supported or recommended in CodeIgniter 4 anymore, like database libraries or form helpers. Check the CodeIgniter 4 docs and release notes to spot these.


Once you've found them, it's time to update them for CodeIgniter 4. You might replace them with newer versions or find alternatives that do the same job. Watch out for any changes in how you use them between CodeIgniter 2 and 4.


Let's see some code examples to make it clearer. Here's how you can update an outdated library and helper to work with CodeIgniter 4:


  1. Updating a Deprecated Database Library:

// CodeIgniter 2

$this->load->database();


// CodeIgniter 4


$this->db = \Config\Database::connect();

  1. Updating a Deprecated Form Helper:

// CodeIgniter 2

echo form_open('controller/method');

// CodeIgniter 4

echo form_open(base_url('controller/method'));


These code examples show how to fix outdated libraries and helpers to work with CodeIgniter 4. By doing these tweaks in your project, you'll keep your CodeIgniter app current and able to run on the newest framework version.

Updating Controllers and Models

First, understand how controllers and models have changed from CodeIgniter 2 to CodeIgniter 4. In CodeIgniter 4, they're structured differently, using namespaces for better organization. Plus, there are new features and rules you need to follow.


Then, update your controllers and models to work with CodeIgniter 4. This means changing class names, namespaces, and method names to fit CodeIgniter 4's style. Also, get rid of any old stuff that's not used anymore and replace it with CodeIgniter 4's tools. This keeps your app up to date and lets you use the new features.


Let's see some examples to see how it's done:


  1. Updating a Controller Class:


// CodeIgniter 2

class Welcome extends CI_Controller {

 public function index() {

 $this->load->view('welcome_message');

}

}


// CodeIgniter 4

namespace App\Controllers;

class Welcome extends BaseController {

public function index() {

return view('welcome_message');

}

}


  1. Updating a Model Class:


// CodeIgniter 2

class User_model extends CI_Model {

public function get_users() {

return $this->db->get('users')->result();

 }

}


// CodeIgniter 4

namespace App\Models;

use CodeIgniter\Model;

class UserModel extends Model {

 protected $table = 'users';

 protected $primaryKey = 'id';

}


These examples show how to tweak your controllers and models to work with CodeIgniter 4. By doing this in your own code, you can make sure your CodeIgniter app is ready for all the cool new things in CodeIgniter 4.

Migrating Views and Templates

Start by checking your view files and templates in your CodeIgniter 2 project. View files have the HTML stuff and how things look, while templates give a layout to your views. Look out for any customizations, how things are laid out, or PHP code inside them. This helps you see what needs to change for CodeIgniter 4.


Then, make your views and templates work with CodeIgniter 4. CodeIgniter 4 has new ways to handle views and templates, like using namespaces and better routing. Update your files to use these new features, so everything works smoothly with CodeIgniter 4. Also, get rid of any old view helpers or functions and replace them with new ones.


Let's see an example to make it clearer:\Updating a View File


<!-- CodeIgniter 2 -->

<h1>Welcome to CodeIgniter 2</h1>


<!-- CodeIgniter 4 -->

<h1>Welcome to CodeIgniter 4</h1>


  1. Updating a Template File:

<!-- CodeIgniter 2 -->

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html>

<head>

 <title>CodeIgniter 2 Template</title>

</head>

<body>

  <div class="container">

         <?php echo $content; ?>

    </div>

</body>


</html>

<!-- CodeIgniter 4 -->

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html>

<head>

    <title>CodeIgniter 4 Template</title>

</head>

<body>

    <div class="container">

    <?= $this->renderSection('content') ?>

    </div>

</body>

</html>



These examples show how to make your view files and templates work with CodeIgniter 4. When you update them like this, your views will work smoothly with CodeIgniter 4, and you can use all the new stuff it offers.

Handling Routing and URLs

Start by looking at how URLs are handled in your CodeIgniter 2 project. This is called routing, and it decides which controllers and methods are used for different URLs. Pay attention to any special routes or parts of routes you've set up. Understanding how routing works in CodeIgniter 2 will help you see what needs changing for CodeIgniter 4.


Then, update your routing to fit CodeIgniter 4. CodeIgniter 4 has a more flexible system for routing, giving you more control. Change your routes to use CodeIgniter 4's way of doing things, and use its new features like route groups and closures. Also, get rid of any old routing stuff and replace it with CodeIgniter 4's tools.


Let's see some examples to make it clearer:


// CodeIgniter 2

$route['default_controller'] = 'welcome';

$route['404_override'] = '';


$route['translate_uri_dashes'] = FALSE;

// CodeIgniter 4

$routes->setDefaultController('Welcome');

$routes->set404Override('NotFoundController');

$routes->setTranslateURIDashes(false);

);


  1. Adding Custom Routes:

// CodeIgniter 2

$route['products/(:any)'] = 'catalog/product_lookup/$1';


// CodeIgniter 4


$routes->get('products/(:any)', 'Catalog::productLookup/$1');

  1. Using Route Groups:

// CodeIgniter 4

$routes->group('admin', function ($routes) {

$routes->get('dashboard', 'Admin::dashboard');

$routes->get('users', 'Admin::users');

});


These examples show how to tweak your routine for CodeIgniter 4. When you do this, your routes will work smoothly with the latest version of the framework, and you can use all the new routing features it offers.

Database Migration and Query Building

Start by checking how your database is set up in your CodeIgniter 2 project. Look at the database config file to find things like the server name, username, password, and database name. Also, see how you're making database queries in your models or controllers. Notice any special functions or tricky queries you're using.


Then, move your database stuff to work with CodeIgniter 4. CodeIgniter 4 has some changes and improvements for handling databases, like an easier config setup and better ways to build queries. Update your config file to match CodeIgniter 4's style, and tweak your query methods to work with it too.


Let's see some examples to make it clearer:


1. Updating Database Configuration:


// CodeIgniter 2

$db['default'] = array(

     'hostname' => 'localhost',

  'username' => 'username',

     'password' => 'password',

     'database' => 'database_name',

     'dbdriver' => 'mysql',

     'dbprefix' => '',

     'pconnect' => FALSE,

     'db_debug' => TRUE,

     'cache_on' => FALSE,

     'cachedir' => '',

     'char_set' => 'utf8',

     'dbcollat' => 'utf8_general_ci',

     'swap_pre' => '',

     'autoinit' => TRUE,

     'stricton' => FALSE,


);

// CodeIgniter 4

<?php

namespace Config\Database;

use CodeIgniter\Database\Config;

$config = new Config();

$config->default = [

    'DSN'      => '',

    'hostname' => 'localhost',

    'username' => 'username',

    'password' => 'password',

   'database' => 'database_name',

    'DBDriver' => 'MySQLi',

    'DBPrefix' => '',

    'pConnect' => false,

    'DBDebug'  => (ENVIRONMENT !== 'production'),

    'cacheOn'  => false,

    'cacheDir' => '',

    'charset'  => 'utf8',

    'DBCollat' => 'utf8_general_ci',

    'swapPre'  => '',

    'encrypt'  => false,

    'compress' => false,

    'strictOn' => false,

    'failover' => [],

    'port'     => 3306,

];


return $config;

  1. Updating Query Building Methods:

// CodeIgniter 2


$query = $this->db->select('name, email')->where('id', $id)->get('users');

// CodeIgniter 4

$db = \Config\Database::connect();

$query = $db->table('users')->select('name, email')->where('id', $id)->get();


These examples show how to move your database stuff to work with CodeIgniter 4. When you do this, your database will work smoothly with CodeIgniter 4, and you can use all the new features it offers.

Testing and Debugging

Testing after upgrading is super important to make sure your CodeIgniter app works well. It helps find any problems or things that don't work right after the upgrade, so you can fix them and move smoothly to CodeIgniter 4. Good testing checks everything, like how things work, how fast they are, and if they still work with other stuff you've added.


When you run into problems during the upgrade, it's important to figure out what's going wrong. This might be because of old stuff that's not used anymore, things not working together right, or settings that need adjusting. To find and fix these issues, you'll need to dig into things and use tools like logging and error reporting provided by CodeIgniter 4.


Here are some tips to make sure your testing and debugging are thorough:


  1. Automated Testing: Implement automated testing using frameworks like PHPUnit or Codeception to validate the functionality and behavior of your application. Write unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end tests to cover different layers of your application.


  2. Regression Testing: Perform regression testing to verify that existing features and functionalities remain intact after the upgrade. Create test cases based on the expected behavior of your application, and compare the results against the pre-upgrade state.


  3. User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Involve stakeholders or end-users in UAT to gather feedback on the upgraded application. Conduct usability tests, acceptance tests, and performance tests to ensure that the upgraded application meets user expectations and performance standards.


  4. Debugging Tools: Utilize debugging tools provided by CodeIgniter 4, such as the built-in debugger, error logging, and stack trace analysis, to identify and troubleshoot issues effectively. Enable error reporting and logging in your development environment to capture errors and warnings during testing.


  5. Code Review:Conduct code reviews to identify potential issues, code smells, or best practice violations introduced during the upgrade process. Collaborate with team members to review and refactor code as needed, ensuring code quality and maintainability.

By following these testing and debugging practices, you can minimize risks and ensure a successful upgrade to CodeIgniter 4, delivering a reliable and robust application to your users.

Conclusion

In conclusion, upgrading from CodeIgniter 2 to CodeIgniter 4 presents both challenges and solutions for developers. While it might seem tough to deal with outdated features and tweak things like routing, there are ways to overcome these hurdles. Testing your app thoroughly, fixing any bugs you find, and working together with your team to review and improve the code can help a lot.


By tackling these challenges head-on and finding smart solutions, you can make sure your upgrade to CodeIgniter 4 goes smoothly, giving users a better and more reliable app in the end.