CodeIgniter is loosely based on the popular model–view–controller (MVC) development pattern. While controller classes are a necessary part of development under CodeIgniter, models and views are optional. CodeIgniter can be also modified to use Hierarchical Model View Controller (HMVC) which allows the developers to maintain modular grouping of Controller, Models and View arranged in a sub-directory format.
CodeIgniter is most often noted for its speed when compared to other PHP frameworks. In a critical take on PHP frameworks in general, PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf spoke at frOSCon in August 2008, noting that he liked CodeIgniter "because it is faster, lighter and the least like a framework."