To give you an initial experience with Yii, in this section we describe how to
create your first Yii application. We will use
yiic (command line tool)
to create a new Yii application and
Gii (powerful web based code generator)
to automate code creation for certain tasks. For convenience,
we assume that
YiiRoot is the directory where Yii is installed, and
is the document root of our Web server.
yiic on the command line as follows:
% YiiRoot/framework/yiic webapp WebRoot/testdrive
Note: When running
yiicon Mac OS, Linux or Unix, you may need to change the permission of the
yiicfile so that it is executable. Alternatively, you may run the tool as follows,% cd WebRoot % php YiiRoot/framework/yiic.php webapp testdrive
This will create a skeleton Yii application under the directory
WebRoot/testdrive. The application has a directory structure that
is needed by most Yii applications.
Without writing a single line of code, we can test drive our first Yii application by accessing the following URL in a Web browser:
As we can see, the application has four pages: the homepage, the about page, the contact page and the login page. The contact page displays a contact form that users can fill in to submit their inquiries to the webmaster, and the login page allows users to be authenticated before accessing privileged contents. See the following screenshots for more details.
Contact page with input errors
Contact page with success message
The following diagram shows the directory structure of our application. Please see Conventions for a detailed explanation.
testdrive/ index.php Web application entry script file index-test.php entry script file for the functional tests assets/ containing published resource files css/ containing CSS files images/ containing image files themes/ containing application themes protected/ containing protected application files yiic yiic command line script for Unix/Linux yiic.bat yiic command line script for Windows yiic.php yiic command line PHP script commands/ containing customized 'yiic' commands shell/ containing customized 'yiic shell' commands components/ containing reusable user components Controller.php the base class for all controller classes UserIdentity.php the 'UserIdentity' class used for authentication config/ containing configuration files console.php the console application configuration main.php the Web application configuration test.php the configuration for the functional tests controllers/ containing controller class files SiteController.php the default controller class data/ containing the sample database schema.mysql.sql the DB schema for the sample MySQL database schema.sqlite.sql the DB schema for the sample SQLite database testdrive.db the sample SQLite database file extensions/ containing third-party extensions messages/ containing translated messages models/ containing model class files LoginForm.php the form model for 'login' action ContactForm.php the form model for 'contact' action runtime/ containing temporarily generated files tests/ containing test scripts views/ containing controller view and layout files layouts/ containing layout view files main.php the base layout shared by all pages column1.php the layout for pages using a single column column2.php the layout for pages using two columns site/ containing view files for the 'site' controller pages/ containing "static" pages about.php the view for the "about" page contact.php the view for 'contact' action error.php the view for 'error' action (displaying external errors) index.php the view for 'index' action login.php the view for 'login' action
Application generator described above also supports creation of files needed
by Git version control system. The following command would create necessary
.gitignore (e.g. content of the
runtime shouldn't be tracked)
.gitkeep (forces tracking of initially empty but important directories)
% YiiRoot/framework/yiic webapp WebRoot/testdrive git
Another supported VCS is Mercurial: pass the
hg value as third parameter in
case you're using this VCS. This feature is available since version 1.1.11.
Most Web applications are backed by databases. Our test-drive application
is not an exception. To use a database, we need to tell the
application how to connect to it. This is done in the application
WebRoot/testdrive/protected/config/main.php, highlighted as follows,
return array( ...... 'components'=>array( ...... 'db'=>array( 'connectionString'=>'sqlite:protected/data/testdrive.db', ), ), ...... );
The above code instructs Yii that the application should connect to the SQLite database
WebRoot/testdrive/protected/data/testdrive.db when needed. Note that the SQLite database
is already included in the skeleton application that we just generated. The database
contains only a single table named
CREATE TABLE tbl_user ( id INTEGER NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY AUTOINCREMENT, username VARCHAR(128) NOT NULL, password VARCHAR(128) NOT NULL, email VARCHAR(128) NOT NULL );
If you want to try a MySQL database instead, you may use the included MySQL
WebRoot/testdrive/protected/data/schema.mysql.sql to create the database.
Note: To use Yii's database feature, we need to enable the PHP PDO extension and the driver-specific PDO extension. For the test-drive application, we need to turn on both the
Now comes the fun part. We would like to implement CRUD (create, read,
update and delete) operations for the
tbl_user table we just created. This is
also commonly needed in practical applications. Instead of taking the trouble
to write the actual code, we will use
Gii -- a powerful Web-based code generator.
Info: Gii has been available since version 1.1.2. Before that, we could use the aforementioned
yiictool to accomplish the same goal. For more details, please refer to Implementing CRUD Operations with yiic shell.
In order to use Gii, we first need to edit the file
WebRoot/testdrive/protected/config/main.php, which is known as the application configuration file:
return array( ...... 'import'=>array( 'application.models.*', 'application.components.*', ), 'modules'=>array( 'gii'=>array( 'class'=>'system.gii.GiiModule', 'password'=>'pick up a password here', ), ), );
Then, visit the URL
http://hostname/testdrive/index.php?r=gii. We will be prompted for a password, which should be the one that we just entered in the above application configuration.
After login, click on the link
Model Generator. This will bring us to the following model generation page,
Table Name field, enter
tbl_user. In the
Model Class field, enter
User. Then press the
Preview button. This will show us the new code file to be generated. Now press the
Generate button. A new file named
User.php will be generated under
protected/models. As we will describe later in this guide, this
User model class allows us to talk to the underlying database
tbl_user table in an object-oriented fashion.
After creating the model class file, we will generate the code that implements the CRUD operations about the user data. We choose the
Crud Generator in Gii, shown as follows,
Model Class field, enter
User. In the
Controller ID field, enter
user (in lower case). Now press the
Preview button followed by the
Generate button. We are done with the CRUD code generation.
Let's enjoy our work by browsing the following URL:
This will display a list of user entries in the
Create User button on the page. We will be brought to the login
page if we have not logged in before. After logging in, we see
an input form that allows us to add a new user entry. Complete the form and
Create button. If there is any input error, a nice error
prompt will show up which prevents us from saving the input. Back on the
user list page, we should see the newly added user appearing in the list.
Repeat the above steps to add more users. Notice that the user list page will automatically paginate the user entries if there are too many to be displayed in one page.
If we login as an administrator using
admin/admin, we can view the user
admin page with the following URL:
This will show us the user entries in a nice tabular format. We can click on the table header cells to sort the corresponding columns. We can click on the buttons on each row of data to view, update or delete the corresponding row of data. We can browse different pages. We can also filter and search to look for the data we are interested in.
All these nice features come without requiring us to write a single line of code!
User admin page
Create new user page
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