Views

A view is simply a web page, or a page fragment, like a header, footer, sidebar, etc. In fact, views can flexibly be embedded within other views (within other views, etc.) if you need this type of hierarchy.

Views are never called directly, they must be loaded by a controller. Remember that in an MVC framework, the Controller acts as the traffic cop, so it is responsible for fetching a particular view. If you have not read the Controllers page, you should do so before continuing.

Using the example controller you created in the controller page, let’s add a view to it.

Creating a View

Using your text editor, create a file called BlogView.php and put this in it:

<html>
<head>
    <title>My Blog</title>
</head>
<body>
    <h1>Welcome to my Blog!</h1>
</body>
</html>

Then save the file in your application/Views directory.

Displaying a View

To load and display a particular view file you will use the following function:

echo view('name');

Where name is the name of your view file.

Important

The .php file extension does not need to be specified, but all views are expected to end with the .php extension.

Now, open the controller file you made earlier called Blog.php, and replace the echo statement with the view function:

class Blog extends \CodeIgniter\Controller
{
        public function index()
        {
                echo view('BlogView');
        }
}

If you visit your site using the URL you did earlier you should see your new view. The URL was similar to this:

example.com/index.php/blog/

Note

While all of the examples show echo the view directly, you can also return the output from the view, instead, and it will be appended to any captured output.

Loading Multiple Views

CodeIgniter will intelligently handle multiple calls to view() from within a controller. If more than one call happens they will be appended together. For example, you may wish to have a header view, a menu view, a content view, and a footer view. That might look something like this:

class Page extends \CodeIgniter\Controller
{
        public function index()
        {
                $data = [
                        'page_title' => 'Your title'
                ];

                echo view('header');
                echo view('menu');
                echo view('content', $data);
                echo view('footer');
        }
}

In the example above, we are using “dynamically added data”, which you will see below.

Storing Views within Sub-directories

Your view files can also be stored within sub-directories if you prefer that type of organization. When doing so you will need to include the directory name loading the view. Example:

echo view('directory_name/file_name');

Namespaced Views

You can store views under a View directory that is namespaced, and load that view as if it was namespaced. While PHP does not support loading non-class files from a namespace, CodeIgniter provides this feature to make it possible to package your views together in a module-like fashion for easy re-use or distribution.

If you have Blog directory that has a PSR-4 mapping setup in the Autoloader living under the namespace Example\Blog, you could retrieve view files as if they were namespaced also. Following this example, you could load the BlogView file from /blog/views by prepending the namespace to the view name:

echo view('Example\Blog\Views\BlogView');

Caching Views

You can cache a view with the view command by passing a cache option with the number of seconds to cache the view for, in the third parameter:

// Cache the view for 60 seconds
echo view('file_name', $data, ['cache' => 60]);

By default, the view will be cached using the same name as the view file itself. You can customize this by passing along cache_name and the cache ID you wish to use:

// Cache the view for 60 seconds
echo view('file_name', $data, ['cache' => 60, 'cache_name' => 'my_cached_view']);

Adding Dynamic Data to the View

Data is passed from the controller to the view by way of an array in the second parameter of the view function. Here’s an example:

$data = [
        'title'   => 'My title',
        'heading' => 'My Heading',
        'message' => 'My Message'
];

echo view('blogview', $data);

Let’s try it with your controller file. Open it and add this code:

class Blog extends \CodeIgniter\Controller
{
        public function index()
        {
                $data['title']   = "My Real Title";
                $data['heading'] = "My Real Heading";

                echo view('blogview', $data);
        }
}

Now open your view file and change the text to variables that correspond to the array keys in your data:

<html>
<head>
    <title><?= $title ?></title>
</head>
<body>
    <h1><?= $heading ?></h1>
</body>
</html>

Then load the page at the URL you’ve been using and you should see the variables replaced.

The data passed in is only available during one call to view. If you call the function multiple times in a single request, you will have to pass the desired data to each view. This keeps any data from “bleeding” into other views, potentially causing issues. If you would prefer the data to persist, you can pass the saveData option into the $option array in the third parameter.

$data = [
        'title'   => 'My title',
        'heading' => 'My Heading',
        'message' => 'My Message'
];

echo view('blogview', $data, ['saveData' => true]);

Additionally, if you would like the default functionality of the view method to be that it does save the data between calls, you can set $saveData to true in application/Config/Views.php.

Creating Loops

The data array you pass to your view files is not limited to simple variables. You can pass multi dimensional arrays, which can be looped to generate multiple rows. For example, if you pull data from your database it will typically be in the form of a multi-dimensional array.

Here’s a simple example. Add this to your controller:

class Blog extends \CodeIgniter\Controller
{
        public function index()
        {
                $data = [
                        'todo_list' => ['Clean House', 'Call Mom', 'Run Errands'],
                        'title'     => "My Real Title",
                        'heading'   => "My Real Heading"
                ];

                echo view('blogview', $data);
        }
}

Now open your view file and create a loop:

<html>
<head>
        <title><?= $title ?></title>
</head>
<body>
        <h1><?= $heading ?></h1>

        <h3>My Todo List</h3>

        <ul>
        <?php foreach ($todo_list as $item):?>

                <li><?= $item ?></li>

        <?php endforeach;?>
        </ul>

</body>
</html>