Getting started with Kohana, the Swift PHP Framework

Kohana, PHP framework

This is the first in a series of posts on installing and using the Kohana PHP framework.  For more in the series, see:

Part 2: Moving Kohana out of the docroot

Kohana home page

Kohana is an open source, object oriented, MVC framework that originated as a fork of the CodeIgniter project.

For a long time, I’ve been a big fan of CodeIgniter, the PHP framework. I’m still a big fan. CodeIgniter is lightweight, fast, and has a short learning curve. The problem is that it’s dead in the water, see After looking around at some other options, I’ve started putting Kohana through it’s paces. Kohana was originally a fork of CodeIgniter, although later versions have been rewritten from the ground up. So, first off the bat, there’s that shared ancestry, which should mean that a lot of my CodeIgniter knowledge will be directly translatable to the Kohana world. Kohana also keeps that commitment to being fast and lightweight. That’s important to me. A framework is a development tool. It should enable me to get something up and running quickly, but it shouldn’t be so heavy that it gets in the way. Kohana looks like a good option, so I’m going to take a look at what it takes to get something up and running.

Installing kohana is pretty straight forward. Go to to download the latest version. Unzip it and you’ll end up with a new `kohana` folder. Place the contents of that folder inside your web server document root. You should wind up with a directory structure like this:

Kohana file structure

File structure for a new kohana installation

Ignore the public/ directory in that last image.  That’s part of the set up for ,y next post!  Once you have the files in the right place, you’ll need to make a few edits to


. This file gets loaded by index.php and is responsible for getting everything loaded and in the right place. First, set the default timezone:

// Example of changing timezone to Sao Paulo, Brazil

Next, you’ll need to set the `base_url` to reflect the location of kohana relative to your document root:

* Example of kohana's installation directly in docroot
* Apache's DocumentRoot configured to /var/www
'base_url' => '/',

Finally, you’ll probably need to chmod the `application/cache` and `application/logs` directories to make them writable by the application:

sudo chmod -R a+rwx application/cache
sudo chmod -R a+rwx application/logs

Once you’ve done all that, just open your url in a browser, in this case, http://locahost/, and you should see something like this:

Kohana installation report

Kohana installation report

If the installation tests report any issues, you’re on your own getting those fixed. Once Kohana’s environment checks all report green, either delete or rename the install.php file. Once that’s gone ( or at least renamed ) then when you reload the page, Kohana will route to the default Controller, and you’ll see a page that says ‘hello, world!’.

From here on out, it’s pretty straight forward. Kohana is a Object Oriented framework that assumes a Model-View-Controller architecture. Creating an application is a simple matter of defining routes, and creating controllers, models and views. In my next post, I’ll go into more detail on how to create a real working application using Kohana.