YII Development: how to do web development with this PHP Framework

YII framework is one of the most popular PHP frameworks that helps businesses build their websites. It is open-source, component based, object oriented and high-performance MVC framework that enables maximum reusability. 

YII – Yes It Is

Interestingly, YII stands for ‘Yes, It Is’. And not surprising too, since it has evolved to become one of the most demanded PHP frameworks lately. 

What is YII most suitable for?

Being a very stable framework, developers prefer to use the YII framework for both small and big projects. If you are looking at a really huge, complex, large sized application, you can choose other PHP frameworks. 

The framework has a component-based architecture and highly sophisticated caching support, it is also used for developing large-scale applications like forums, content management systems, e-commerce websites, portals and so on. 

When compared with other PHP frameworks

It would be interesting to know how YII compares with other popular frameworks. 

Like many PHP frameworks, YII follows the MVC architecture, the architectural pattern that separates applications into three main logical components – Model, View, Controller. This separation between the software’s business logic and display enables division of labor and better maintenance. 

YII is clearly documented, feature-rich, and quite efficient. It is a standalone framework for complete Web Application development, and so can be used for the quick building of modern applications.

Features of Yii framework

As explained earlier, the Yii framework is one among the top PHP frameworks in use presently. There are a number of reasons why businesses benefit from using this framework. Let’s look at some of the benefits that contribute to the popularity of this framework:

1. Automate repetitive tasks

It is often cumbersome to perform repetitive tasks as it takes up considerable time and effort. So developers love using the Yii framework because there are tools that help them automate repetitive tasks. One such commonly used tool is the Gii. With this tool, developers can create codes in the blink of an eye. It is a web-based code scaffolding tool that lets the developers customize the application depending on the needs of the project, and business needs. This tool gives them the complete flexibility for creating customized, scalable codes.

2. Caching

The caching feature is one of the major highlights of Yii. Caching helps improve the performance of web applications, and Yii has an incredible, robust layered caching scheme. It is powerful that developers can use any cache component that they need to use with a common API . Some of the commonly used caching components are: 

  • cFileCache – for storing cached data
  • cDummyCache – a component that helps developers check the availability of cache
  • cMemCache – The component uses the spare RAM in other servers to work as memory cache. This helps in storing constantly used information. 

3. Speed up development process 

Since Yii has enough tools to help clear repetitive tasks, you can speed up development time. For example, the developer can use the controller Generator if he wants to generate a new controller class with multiple controller actions. This considerably reduces development time, and the developers can use their creativity to customize the application. 

4. Helps develop highly customisable apps

The goal of every business is to release highly customisable apps because they want to be unique in every way possible. Yii is extensible, and this makes it possible for developers to customize their core codes. There are more than 850 extensions, and you can tailor to fit the needs of your application. And there are plenty of themes to choose from to help customize the appearance of the application. 

5. Excellent security

YII is great at handling and solving security issues, as it comes with a number of security mechanisms like Cross Site Request Forgery, Cross Site Scripting, XSS etc to enhance security. There are plenty of ways through which hackers and people with malicious intent will collect personal data when users visit websites, especially forums, e-commerce websites etc. This is done by injecting malicious code into it. Yii prevents harmful code so that only filtered content goes in.  

Yii also prevents cookie attacks by using a cookie validation technique. Through this, the cookies will not be modified by unauthorised people. 

To start with Yii

If you are a developer familiar with PHP frameworks, then getting started with Yii will be easier. The learning curve is not steep, but yet, there are certain things you need to be familiar. For example, with this framework, you will write the codes in an object oriented fashion, so you have to know Classes and Objects really well. 

Knowledge of Object Oriented Programming

If you are not familiar with OOP, you have to have a basic understanding of the same, and to do that you can visit any of the many available tutorials. If you are building a complex application, you have to be aware of advanced OOP concepts too. 

Installing Yii

Once you are familiar with the basics of YII, you can go ahead with the installation process. There are indeed a few ways to install the framework, but there are two main methods involved here: 

One method is by using the Composer package manager. And the other method is by Downloading an archive file

Downloading through the composer package manager is often the preferred method, because you can install new extensions and run updates with a single command. In the standard method, the framework and the project template will be downloaded and installed first. The project template is the best method to start working with a Yii project because it comes with all the basic features needed, for example, login, contact page and so on. 

If you do not have the Composer installed, you can visit getcomposer.org to do it. 

If you are downloading from an Archive File, you can download the file from yiiframework website, keep it in a web-accessible folder, unpack it. And then modify the config/web.php file. This is done by entering a secret key. If you are using the Composer, this part is done automatically. 

Once the asset libraries are also downloaded, you will finish the installation process, you can either configure the web server or utilise the built-in PHP web server by running this console command – php yii serve. 

You can get started with the application development process, once you receive the ‘Congratulations’ page in the browser. 


YII development has been around for sometime, and it will still be the trending technology because of the advantages that we have detailed above. The large community support, error handling, extensibility and integration with other frameworks make YII one of the best result-oriented frameworks around. 

Interesting Links:

Is YII the right framework for your Web Development?

More information about YII Framework

Pictures: Canva

The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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