Running via the CLI

As well as calling an applications Controllers via the URL in a browser they can also be loaded via the command-line interface (CLI).

What is the CLI?

The command-line interface is a text-based method of interacting with computers. For more information, check the Wikipedia article.

Why run via the command-line?

There are many reasons for running CodeIgniter from the command-line, but they are not always obvious.

  • Run your cron-jobs without needing to use wget or curl
  • Make your cron-jobs inaccessible from being loaded in the URL by checking the return value of is_cli().
  • Make interactive “tasks” that can do things like set permissions, prune cache folders, run backups, etc.
  • Integrate with other applications in other languages. For example, a random C++ script could call one command and run code in your models!

Let’s try it: Hello World!

Let’s create a simple controller so you can see it in action. Using your text editor, create a file called Tools.php, and put the following code in it:

class Tools extends CI_Controller {

        public function message($to = 'World')
                echo "Hello {$to}!".PHP_EOL;

Then save the file to your application/controllers/ folder.

Now normally you would visit the site using a URL similar to this:

Instead, we are going to open the terminal in Mac/Linux or go to Run > “cmd” in Windows and navigate to our CodeIgniter project.

$ cd /path/to/project;
$ php index.php tools message

If you did it right, you should see Hello World! printed.

$ php index.php tools message "John Smith"

Here we are passing it a argument in the same way that URL parameters work. “John Smith” is passed as a argument and output is:

Hello John Smith!

That’s it!

That, in a nutshell, is all there is to know about controllers on the command line. Remember that this is just a normal controller, so routing and _remap() works fine.