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Seeking simpler alternative to Laravel: CodeIgniter worth it?

(This post was last modified: 07-10-2023, 10:52 PM by AnjanaTelaney.)

Until now, I have relied on Laravel for my small website, which includes a blog, gallery, and other custom elements that I constructed. I opted for Laravel because I desired complete control over the functionality of my site, and no other solution offered exactly what I needed. However, I am encountering an issue as each new release of Laravel seems to bring more complexity and introduces new third-party tools that need to be learned. Although it is possible to choose not to use these tools, doing so appears to go against the direction of the framework.

As a non-developer who learned PHP solely to achieve my desired results, I find it burdensome to have to learn Laravel, Mix, Tailwind, NPM, Vue, and other tools just to maintain my website's functionality.

Therefore, I am in search of an alternative framework that offers a simpler approach. CodeIgniter has been recommended to me, although I have no prior experience with it. Before investing my time into learning CodeIgniter, I would greatly appreciate hearing from others who have transitioned online2yu from Laravel to CodeIgniter, particularly if they foresee any potential challenges I might face when rebuilding my website.

Thank you in advance for any assistance provided.

@AnjanaTelaney Seems I'm in pretty much the same situation as you describe. I'm not a coder, but I've been doing a lot of things in PHP, SQL, JS, etc, over the last few years, just to get what I want done. A couple of years ago, I used Laravel to build a fair-sized site. I could do this simply by following the examples in the docs, and finding things on StackExchange, a couple of Laravel forums, and how-to articles. Laravel worked great, but there's so much stuff... Even though I could make my way using only what I needed, it felt too complicated. I don't want to "be a coder", but I do want to feel I have an understanding of what's going on.

I'm trying CodeIgniter 4 for the second time in the last two years. A basic for me was built-in authentication, and that has recently arrived with Shield. My project right now is a simple database-driven site. Basically, a CMS custom-built for what I want, that I can adjust and tweak any way I like. So far, CI seems great for this. HOWEVER, although the docs are solid, they don't quite go into the example level I'm most comfortable with, and there aren't that many current articles and tutorials.

An example of what I mean -- and this is very basic -- is using permissions with Shield, CI4's authentication/authorization package. I installed it no problem. I could register, login and out, and so on, with nice, clean forms, in a few minutes. And the docs seem quite complete. But, there are no high-level code examples for how to apply it. No basic user management page. Or how to show and hide page elements depending on the user's permissions. Standard actual use stuff. Laravel's own docs, and those of some of the key add-in packages, had most of that. I can figure all of this out, but it can take hours for me. Frustrating, because I know exactly what's needed, yet I spend time checking syntax and where to put things, when an example would do that in an instant.

That said, CI4 seems great. Not a crazy mountain of third-party dependencies. Seems just right for non-coder DIY, instead of trying to wrangle something like...WordPress or other CMS-type apps, or dealing with a huge beast like Laravel. It's only a few additions to the docs -- complete implementation examples and snippets -- from being, for me, perfect. :)

I have been using CI for a couple of years and can highly recommend it. One of the reasons I chose CI (it was v.3 at the time) and not Laravel was becuase of, what I call, Laravel bloat. With the release of CI4, it was a game changer.
Dirk B.
Abatrans Software
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Personally,  I developed a CRUD portal in Laravel. After I deployed it for production use, we noticed it was very slow. I believe the issue is Laravel bloat from features we do not nee.d. For instance, we use LDAPS to AD for authentication so all the built-in code is useless.

Looking for a faster alternative led me to CI4. The migration took a lot of work but, for me, it is worth it due to a better end user experience. I DO miss the interactivity of Livewire though Sad

One other thought, Laravel has the concept of long tern supported releases,

Codeigniter only has one active version train and, sometimes, there are breaking changes in newer versions.

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