Contributing to CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a community driven project and accepts contributions of code and documentation from the community. These contributions are made in the form of Issues or Pull Requests on the CodeIgniter repository on GitHub.

Issues are a quick way to point out a bug. If you find a bug or documentation error in CodeIgniter then please check a few things first:

  • There is not already an open Issue
  • The issue has already been fixed (check the develop branch, or look for closed Issues)
  • Is it something really obvious that you fix it yourself?

Reporting issues is helpful but an even better approach is to send a Pull Request, which is done by “Forking” the main repository and committing to your own copy. This will require you to use the version control system called Git.


Note that GitHub is not for general support questions!

If you are having trouble using a feature of CodeIgniter, ask for help on the forum.

If you are wondering if you are using something correctly or if you have found a bug, ask on the forum first.

Tips for a Good Issue Report

Use a descriptive subject line (eg parser library chokes on commas) rather than a vague one (eg. your code broke).

Address a single issue in a report.

Identify the CodeIgniter version (eg 3.0-develop) and the component if you know it (eg. parser library)

Explain what you expected to happen, and what did happen. Include error messages and stacktrace, if any.

Include short code segments if they help to explain. Use a pastebin or dropbox facility to include longer segments of code or screenshots - do not include them in the issue report itself. This means setting a reasonable expiry for those, until the issue is resolved or closed.

If you know how to fix the issue, you can do so in your own fork & branch, and submit a pull request. The issue report information above should be part of that.

If your issue report can describe the steps to reproduce the problem, that is great. If you can include a unit test that reproduces the problem, that is even better, as it gives whoever is fixing it a clearer target!


Before we look into how, here are the guidelines. If your Pull Requests fail to pass these guidelines it will be declined and you will need to re-submit when you’ve made the changes. This might sound a bit tough, but it is required for us to maintain quality of the code-base.

PHP Style

All code must meet the Style Guide, which is essentially the Allman indent style, underscores and readable operators. This makes certain that all code is the same format as the existing code and means it will be as readable as possible.


If you change anything that requires a change to documentation then you will need to add it. New classes, methods, parameters, changing default values, etc are all things that will require a change to documentation. The change-log must also be updated for every change. Also PHPDoc blocks must be maintained.


CodeIgniter recommends PHP 5.4 or newer to be used, but it should be compatible with PHP 5.2.4 so all code supplied must stick to this requirement. If PHP 5.3 (and above) functions or features are used then there must be a fallback for PHP 5.2.4.


CodeIgniter uses the Git-Flow branching model which requires all pull requests to be sent to the “develop” branch. This is where the next planned version will be developed. The “master” branch will always contain the latest stable version and is kept clean so a “hotfix” (e.g: an emergency security patch) can be applied to master to create a new version, without worrying about other features holding it up. For this reason all commits need to be made to “develop” and any sent to “master” will be closed automatically. If you have multiple changes to submit, please place all changes into their own branch on your fork.

One thing at a time: A pull request should only contain one change. That does not mean only one commit, but one change - however many commits it took. The reason for this is that if you change X and Y but send a pull request for both at the same time, we might really want X but disagree with Y, meaning we cannot merge the request. Using the Git-Flow branching model you can create new branches for both of these features and send two requests.


You must sign your work, certifying that you either wrote the work or otherwise have the right to pass it on to an open source project. git makes this trivial as you merely have to use –signoff on your commits to your CodeIgniter fork.

git commit --signoff

or simply

git commit -s

This will sign your commits with the information setup in your git config, e.g.

Signed-off-by: John Q Public <>

If you are using Tower there is a “Sign-Off” checkbox in the commit window. You could even alias git commit to use the -s flag so you don’t have to think about it.

By signing your work in this manner, you certify to a “Developer’s Certificate or Origin”. The current version of this certificate is in the Developer’s Certificate of Origin 1.1 file in the root of this documentation.