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Yii is another powerful PHP Framework created by Qiang Xue and his core team of Alexander Makarov, Maurizio Domba, Carsten Brandt, Timur Ruziev, Klimov Paul, Antonio Ramirez, Wei Zhuo, Sebastián Thierer, and Jeffrey Winesett. Yii is also strongly supported by Larry Ullman, a well known and respected developer and author of countless books on programming. Yii lists several frameworks and technologies as inspiration in it’s development. Prado is listed as an inspiration for the component based, event driven, database connectivity abstraction, and modular concepts it is known for. Ruby on Rails is an influence as the Yii Object Relational Mapper is based on the active record design pattern of rails. jQuery is not only an inspiration, but baked into the Yii framework by default. Yii also makes use of Symfony for design inspiration in the plug in and filter architecture. Let’s install Yii 2 right now and check it out!

Yii 2 Installation Steps

Go install composer if you do not already have it installed. It works with any operating system so you’ll be covered no matter what you are using.

1. Add Github Credentials To Composer

Do yourself a favor and add your GitHub credentials to your composer installation to eliminate the annoying rate limits you will encounter using composer without credentials.

Follow the steps here to make that happen for yourself.

2. Configure Asset Plugin

Configure composer for the asset plugin which managing bower and npm package dependencies through Composer.
composer global require "fxp/composer-asset-plugin:1.0.0-beta3"

3. Create a new Yii 2 Project!

composer create-project --prefer-dist yiisoft/yii2-app-basic basic

You’ll see something like this in your terminal:

C:wampwwwyii>composer create-project --prefer-dist yiisoft/yii2-app-basic basic
Installing yiisoft/yii2-app-basic (2.0.0)
  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-app-basic (2.0.0)
    Loading from cache

Created project in basic
Loading composer repositories with package information
Installing dependencies (including require-dev)
  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-composer (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing swiftmailer/swiftmailer (v5.3.0)
    Loading from cache

  - Installing bower-asset/jquery (2.1.1)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing bower-asset/yii2-pjax (v2.0.1)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing bower-asset/punycode (v1.3.2)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing bower-asset/jquery.inputmask (3.1.34)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing cebe/markdown (1.0.1)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing ezyang/htmlpurifier (v4.6.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing yiisoft/yii2 (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-swiftmailer (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-codeception (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing bower-asset/bootstrap (v3.2.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-bootstrap (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-debug (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing bower-asset/typeahead.js (v0.10.5)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing phpspec/php-diff (v1.0.2)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-gii (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing fzaninotto/faker (v1.4.0)
    Downloading: 100%

  - Installing yiisoft/yii2-faker (2.0.0)
    Downloading: 100%

Writing lock file
Generating autoload files
chmod('runtime', 0777)...done.
chmod('web/assets', 0777)...done.
chmod('yii', 0755)...done.


Sweet! Believe it or not, you now have a fully functioning Yii Web Application built and ready to use. When you install Yii, you can choose to have it create a skeleton application and this is exactly what we just did. Let’s take a look at what we have.

Welcome To Yii

Welcome To Yii

In this scenario, we created a folder named yii in our root directory. This install was completed on Windows, so you we simply right clicked on the folder and chose use composer here which quickly opens a terminal window for us ready to accept composer commands. It is here where you typed the command from steps 3 and 4 above. This created a Yii Application in our newly created basic folder.

First up, you’ll notice that the example application is in a bootstrap style. Bootstrap v3.2.0 is baked right into the Yii repository so you get access to this right off the bat. Nice touch.

The top navbar is responsive and has a company logo or tagline option on the top left, as well as an additional about page, contact page, and login page. These are all functional by the way right upon install. Clicking the about link brings us to:


This is the About page. You may modify the following file to customize its content:


Clicking the contact links brings up a very nice contact form as you see here:
yii contact form

Even though this is the local development environment, go ahead and fill out all of the form fields, then submit the form. You will be greeted with this nice message.

Thank you for contacting us. We will respond to you as soon as possible.

Note that if you turn on the Yii debugger, you should be able to view the mail message on the mail panel of the debugger. Because the application is in development mode, the email is not sent but saved as a file under C:wampwwwyiibasicruntime/mail. Please configure the useFileTransport property of the mail application component to be false to enable email sending.

Nice Touch! It looks like by default, Yii is configured to simply log email requests. This way, you can build out the application, and simply verify in the logging system that the mail functionality is working. When you are ready, it can be turned on for production.

Yii Debug Bar

This brings us to another really nice feature by way of the Yii Debug Bar. It provides a wealth of information including the version of Yii running, the PHP version in use, Status codes, the currently executing controller and method name, the number of log messages, response times, memory used, and asset bundles. Awesome stuff here friends! This debugger provides an absolute treasure trove of information. If you click the bar, look at some of the data you get:

yii debug bar


Application Configuration

Name Value
Yii Version 2.0.0
Application Name My Application
Environment dev
Debug Mode Yes

Installed Extensions

Name Value

PHP Configuration

Name Value
PHP Version 5.5.12
Xdebug Enabled
APC Disabled
Memcache Disabled



Name Value
Route ‘site/captcha’
Action ‘yii\captcha\CaptchaAction::run()’
Parameters []


Name Value
r ‘site/captcha’
v ‘54516b06e37f6’






Name Value
PHPSESSID ‘i38h0u0p9l5jptni3563cilba4’

Request Body


Request Headers

Name Value
host ‘localhost’
user-agent ‘Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:33.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/33.0’
accept ‘image/png,image/*;q=0.8,*/*;q=0.5’
accept-language ‘en-US,en;q=0.5’
accept-encoding ‘gzip, deflate’
referer ‘http://localhost/yii/basic/web/index.php?r=site%2Fcontact’
connection ‘keep-alive’

Response Headers

Name Value
X-Powered-By ‘PHP/5.5.12’
Pragma ‘public’
Expires ‘0’
Cache-Control ‘must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0’
Content-Transfer-Encoding ‘binary’
Content-Type ‘image/png’


Name Value
__flash []
__captcha/site/captcha ‘sormkf’
__captcha/site/captchacount 1




Name Value
HTTP_HOST ‘localhost’
HTTP_USER_AGENT ‘Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:33.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/33.0’
HTTP_ACCEPT ‘image/png,image/*;q=0.8,*/*;q=0.5’
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING ‘gzip, deflate’
HTTP_REFERER ‘http://localhost/yii/basic/web/index.php?r=site%2Fcontact’
HTTP_CONNECTION ‘keep-alive’
SystemRoot ‘C:\Windows’
COMSPEC ‘C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe’
WINDIR ‘C:\Windows’
SERVER_SIGNATURE ‘<address>Apache/2.4.9 (Win32) PHP/5.5.12 Server at localhost Port 80</address>
SERVER_SOFTWARE ‘Apache/2.4.9 (Win32) PHP/5.5.12’
SERVER_NAME ‘localhost’
DOCUMENT_ROOT ‘C:/wamp/www/’
SCRIPT_FILENAME ‘C:/wamp/www/yii/basic/web/index.php’
QUERY_STRING ‘r=site%2Fcaptcha&v=54516b06e37f6’
REQUEST_URI ‘/yii/basic/web/index.php?r=site%2Fcaptcha&v=54516b06e37f6’
SCRIPT_NAME ‘/yii/basic/web/index.php’
PHP_SELF ‘/yii/basic/web/index.php’
REQUEST_TIME_FLOAT 1414621959.204
REQUEST_TIME 1414621959
# Time Level Category Message
1 23:32:39.251 trace yiibaseApplication::bootstrap Bootstrap with yiilogDispatcher
2 23:32:39.251 trace yiibaseModule::getModule Loading module: debug
3 23:32:39.277 trace yiibaseApplication::bootstrap Bootstrap with yiidebugModule::bootstrap()
4 23:32:39.286 trace yiibaseModule::getModule Loading module: gii
5 23:32:39.291 trace yiibaseApplication::bootstrap Bootstrap with yiigiiModule::bootstrap()
6 23:32:39.296 trace yiiwebUrlManager::parseRequest Pretty URL not enabled. Using default URL parsing logic.
7 23:32:39.298 trace yiiwebApplication::handleRequest Route requested: ‘site/captcha’
8 23:32:39.308 trace yiibaseController::runAction Route to run: site/captcha
9 23:32:39.326 trace yiibaseAction::runWithParams Running action: yiicaptchaCaptchaAction::run()
10 23:32:39.336 info yiiwebSession::open Session started

Total 5 asset bundles were loaded.


sourcePath C:/wamp/www/yii/basic/web
basePath C:/wamp/www/yii/basic/web
baseUrl /yii/basic/web
  • css/site.css
  • yiiwebYiiAsset
  • yiibootstrapBootstrapAsset


sourcePath C:wampwwwyiibasicvendoryiisoftyii2/assets
basePath C:wampwwwyiibasicwebassetse822b307
baseUrl /yii/basic/web/assets/e822b307
  • yii.js
  • yiiwebJqueryAsset


sourcePath C:wampwwwyiibasicvendorbower/jquery/dist
basePath C:wampwwwyiibasicwebassets8489d356
baseUrl /yii/basic/web/assets/8489d356
  • jquery.js


sourcePath C:wampwwwyiibasicvendorbower/bootstrap/dist
basePath C:wampwwwyiibasicwebassetsd6e3c75b
baseUrl /yii/basic/web/assets/d6e3c75b
  • css/bootstrap.css


sourcePath C:wampwwwyiibasicvendorbower/bootstrap/dist
basePath C:wampwwwyiibasicwebassetsd6e3c75b
baseUrl /yii/basic/web/assets/d6e3c75b
  • js/bootstrap.js
  • yiiwebJqueryAsset
  • yiibootstrapBootstrapAsset

Very slick stuff indeed. The base install also points you to three very helpful links.

Yii Docs

Yii Forums

Yii Extensions

In addition to this, there is a fully functioning login page with support for an admin and demo account. All pages have a slick breadcrumb structure as well to boot.


In this episode we took a look at installing the Yii Framework. It’s a snap, all you have to do is run a couple of composer commands and the entire framework is installed with a base application for you to kick the tires on. We’ll be looking at Yii more in the episodes to come so do stay tuned!

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