PREDICTION: Codeigniter 4 will NEVER be released

Date published: Monday 14th of March 2016

Here at the Inside Scoop, I like to give you information about things that are either not readily available or things which are so controversial that you'd never dream of saying them in public. Today's edition falls into the latter category and once again, it's about our favourite framework. CodeIgniter.

Now, I've been playing around with a lot of frameworks recently. So far I've been looking at AngularJS, Symfony3, Yii and a micro-framework called Slim. Folks, I'm not just looking at these. I'm getting up at 5am every day and working my socks off - trying hard to REALLY get to grips with all of these other web development frameworks.

What I can tell you is this. CodeIgniter has a LOT of catching up to do. As a matter of fact, when you look at the general web development landscape these days it seems clear to me that in order to build and release a popular PHP framework these days, you need to either have (1) a team of top-drawer, elite professionals working on that framework OR (2) at least one highly driven, super talented and fanatical individual, driving the thing forward.

Case in point. Laravel. Without Taylor Otwell, there would be no Laravel. Now, I'm not just saying that he invented the framework. I'm going further than that. You see, not only did he build Laravel, but he continues to promote, teach, market and lead the Laravel community in a manner which is as fanatical as it is admirable. You could say exactly the same thing for Fabien Potencier and the Symfony framework. Have a look at AngularJS. Now, over there we have a slightly different setup. AngularJS is, of course, led by a team from Google and those guys certainly aren't amateurs by any stretch of the English language.

So, you can see what I'm saying here, right? Now-a-days there's just too much competition for somebody to just casually throw out a framework and hope that it stands out amidst an already overpopulated roster of web development frameworks. I think that's true even if you are coming out under a name as strong as 'CodeIgniter'.

Second point:

One of the other things I've learned recently from looking at all these different frameworks is that it's very easily to declare some big, bold and highly ambitious project, but it's another thing altogether to actually do it. Once the novelty wears off and you realise that you have other obligations in life then it's all too easy to just cast things to the side and quietly move on. Recently on the forum I declared that I was going to spend two years learning and teaching every framework. It was something that I said with great intentions and great sincerity. However, after a morning of wrestling with Symfony 3, I must confess that I'm not so sure if I'll be able to carry out my overly ambitious plans after all. So, more than I ever I think I can appreciate the position that the new owners of CI are currently in.

Final point:

Speaking of the new owners of CodeIgniter (the team from the university of British Columbia), what have they actually put out since taking over the framework? As far as I can tell CI3 was practically finished by the time they took over. I can't give the Uni of BC any credit for CI3. Sorry guys. I just can't. The fact is, the new CI owners have had a couple of years to produce something substantial and... well... we're all still waiting.

As I've said before in here, universities do not have a good track record of producing bleeding edge IT products. I think that the fanatical Lone Ranger in the bedroom will produce more code, quicker, with more enthusiasm and just better than any university. Don't underestimate the power of the Lone Ranger! He's highly adaptable. He's quick. He's obsessive. He's driven. He's ambitious. You know something else? He's happy to work for free! That's why frameworks like Laravel have been so successful.

So, my prediction is that you'll never see CodeIgniter 4 being released ever. Could I be wrong about that? Absolutely! However, if they ever do release CI4 then all that's going to happen is they'll get ridiculed by the rest of the PHP community for building something which is either out of step with the rest of the PHP community or - even worse - just something which is, for want of a better word, kind of rubbish. Building and releasing CI4 will also take them away from what I'm sure is already a busy schedule over at the Uni of BC.

As things stand, I think the motivations for not bothering with CI4 far outweigh the motivations for building it and launching it. Time will tell if I'm right.

DC

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