Guide to CodeIgniter Drivers

Hi everybody! Here we go .. today by my broken English, so try hard to understand, because  we have very interesting topic: How to use Drivers in CodeIgniter?

What are Drivers?

‘Drivers’ is new feature of CodeIgniter 2.0.  In official docs of CI 2.0 is written:

Drivers are a special type of Library that has a parent class and any number of potential child classes. Child classes have access to the parent class, but not their siblings. Drivers provide an elegant syntax in your controllers for libraries that benefit from or require being broken down into discrete classes.

My explanation will be similar:

Drivers allow you to make superlibrary, and many small libraries called drivers. That enables you to make more elegant classes (drivers), and more elegant syntax inside your app.


In CI docs you can find this example:



Real world example:



I really like idea of this feature. You can box up lot of functionality with it and make one elegant solution.

How to make Driver in CI?

And finaly problem has occured, because there is not written enought in CI to know how to write them. I was googling for long time to find it out, with no answer. That is also a reason, why I posted this short article. So here are 3. steps:

  1. Making file structure
  2. Making driver list
  3. Making driver(s)

I. Making file structure

We’ll start with file structure. On your app/libraries make new folder and call it Test_driver. Inside make new file named Test_driver.php. Now make another folder inside Test_driver folder, and name it drivers. Inside drivers folder make a new file, our first driver, Test_driver_first_driver.php.

You should have this file structure:


We’re ready now.

II. Making driver list

It’s time for PHP. Open /Test_driver/Test_driver.php and write this code:

class Test_driver extends <strong>CI_Driver_Library</strong>
	function __construct()
		<strong>$this->valid_drivers</strong> = array('test_driver_first_driver');
		/*  Yes, it's really required */

Make sure it extends CI_Driver_Library. When you’re done, let’s make first driver and test it!

III. Making driver(s)

Now open your /Test_driver/drivers/Test_driver_first_driver.php and paste this code:


class Test_driver_first_driver extends <strong>CI_Driver</strong>
	function index()
 		echo "Hello world!";


Make sure it extends CI_Driver. Ok, driver is written let’s test it. Open any controller (i.e. welcome.php) and add:


.. and it should work :)


This is my first article in blog written in English! Trust me, I can speak Slovak fluently. I hope, this quick tut helps you to understand where and how to write and use Drivers in CodeIgniter. Have a nice day and don’t forget to share this article on FB or something similar :)

This article has 19 comments

  1. Steve Wanless

    Working on my first driver.

    Seeing Test_driver_first_driver extends ‘CI_Driver’ and not ‘Test_driver’, is there any way to have a common function in ‘Test_driver’ that’s available to ‘Test_driver_first_driver’ and another others I might create?

  2. onur

    Thanks for the article!

    You may try this in place of mandatory __construct method:

    class Test_driver extends CI_Driver_Library {

    protected $valid_drivers = array(


  3. Ryan Marshall

    Thanks for the article, I too was a bit confused after reading the CI docs page.

    Don’t worry about your english, I had no problems understanding your article. :) It’s a lot better than my Slovakian. ;)

  4. Iván T.

    Clear and concise, the best CodeIgniter Drivers tutorial; there’s another here but for newbies like me yours is like gold.

    Your english is good.

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  6. Kaege

    Wow o_0
    Neither CI’s official user guide nor the source code tell us that$this->valid_drivers in the superlibrary is a must.
    Thanks, dude. Your tut’s like a godsent to me :0)

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