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MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC is an extremely simple PHP framework based on project MINI3. It is NOT a professional framework. As a result, it does not come with all the features and functionalities that real frameworks have. It is limited to a very reduce number of helper libraries.
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MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC is an extremely simple and easy to understand PHP framework based on project MINI3. MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC is NOT a professional framework. As a result, it does not come with all the features and functionalities that real frameworks have. It is limited to a very reduce number of helper libraries.

This project can be suitable to anybody who just wants to show some pages, make some database calls, implement sessions, validate forms, and do some AJAX calls here and there, without the need of reading a lot of documentation of those more advance, complex and professional frameworks. MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC is easy to install, runs nearly everywhere and doesn't make things more complicated than necessary.

For a deeper introduction into MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC base project MINI3, have a look into this blog post: MINI, an extremely simple barebone PHP application.

I really hope this small "framework" can be useful as MINI3 has been to me. If you would like to have a look into our other projects, please visit us at Canchito-Dev.


  • Extremely simple, easy to understand
  • Simple but clean structure
  • Makes "beautiful" clean URLs
  • Integrated with Boostrap v3 and v4.0.0-alpha.6
  • Easy to use database library, which uses PDO for any database requests, comes with an additional PDO debug tool to emulate your SQL statements
  • Easy to use form library for creating and validating form
  • Easy to use e-mail library for sending mails
  • Easy to use session library for hadling sessions
  • Easy to use library for generation pagination
  • Easy to use file upload library
  • Easy to use image manipulation library
  • Demo CRUD actions: Create, Read, Update and Delete database entries easily using the build-in database library
  • Demo form actions: Create and validate form using the build-in form library
  • Demo session actions: handle sessions using the build-in form library
  • Demo mail action: send an e-mail using the build-in e-mail library based on PHPMailer
  • Tries to follow PSR 1/2 coding guidelines
  • Commented code
  • Uses only native PHP code, so people don't have to learn a framework


You need a standard Web server with at least:

  • PHP 5.3.0+
  • MySQL
  • mod_rewrite activated
  • basic knowledge of Composer

For your development environment, I usually use WAMPServer, which is a Windows web development environment, and stands for Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP.

Now, Composer is a very simple and easy to use dependency manager for PHP. It allows you to declare the libraries your project depends on and it will manage (install/update) them for you. You can download the Windows installer from their official site.


Just follow these steps:

  1. Edit the database credentials in application/config/config.php
  2. Execute the .sql statements in the _install/- folder (with PHPMyAdmin for example).
  3. Make sure you have mod_rewrite activated on your server / in your environment.
  4. Install composer and run composer install in the project's folder to download the dependencies and create the autoloading stuff from Composer automatically. For those who are not familiar with Composer, just remember back in the days, when you were using a PHP files with all the includes you needed. Well, Composer creates classes that automatically do this.

MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC runs without any further configuration. You can also put it inside a sub-folder, it will work without any further configuration.

If you want to test the mail library, you have to modify the configuration under application/config/config.php. At the moment, if you have a Gmail account, you should only need to modify the parameters SMTP_USERNAME and SMTP_PWD with your own Gmail account and password. If you get errors, you might have to configure your Gmail accout by following this easy step: Head over to Account Security Settings ( and enable "Access for less secure apps", this allows you to use Google's SMTP for clients other than the official ones.


In order to limit the access to only the /public folder, we use mod_rewrite. These will keep other folder such as the /application folder save from unwanted visitors. To do so, we have created the .htaccess file. This file alters how Apache web server treats a directory and its contents. To achive this, we have to follow a specific syntax.


Inherited from MINI3, MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC comes with a little customized PDO debugger tool (find the code in application/libs/helper.php), trying to emulate your PDO-SQL statements. It's extremely easy to use:

$sql = "SELECT id, artist, track, link FROM song WHERE id = :song_id LIMIT 1";
$query = $this->db->prepare($sql);
$parameters = array(':song_id' => $song_id);

echo Helper::debugPDO($sql, $parameters);


License - The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2016, canchito-dev

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.



The structure in general

After you’ve downloaded and extracted the application, these are the files and folders you should see:

  • _instal: has the SQL files for creating the database demo data
  • application: contains the application you' re creating. Basically, it holds your models, views, controllers, and other code (like helpers and class extensions). In other words, this is the folder where you do your magic
    • config: holds the configuration file that MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVS uses
    • controller: in this folder you will place your class files developed for your application
    • core: place your base class files of your application
    • libs: place your own developed libraries useful for your application
    • model: data base fetching logic in
    • view: most of your work will be in this folder, you will place your html template files
  • public: public document root of your application. It contains all the files you want to be publically reachable
  • vendor: application dependencies are installed
  • .htaccess
  • composer.json

Whenever there is an URL request, the application will automatically translate the URL-path to the appropiate controllers and their methods inside. Take a look at the following examples: http://localhost/mini-master/home/index will call the index() method in application/controllers/Home.php.

http://localhost/mini-master/home/news will execute the news() method in application/controllers/Home.php.

The following links are only visible for logged in users. http://localhost/mini-master/songs/add will call the add() method in application/controllers/Songs.php.

http://localhost/mini-master/songs/listofsongs will do what the listOfSongs() method in application/controllers/Songs.php says.

http://localhost/mini-master/songs/editsong/28 will execute the editSong() method in application/controllers/Songs.php and will pass 28 as a parameter to it.

Showing a view

Let's look at the documentation() method in application/controllers/Home.php: This simply shows the header, navbar, footer and the documentation.php page (in views/home/). If you need to do something like preparing data, you can add the needed code before loading the views.

public function documentation() {
	// load views
	require APP . 'view/_templates/header.php';
	require APP . 'view/_templates/nav.header.php';
	require APP . 'view/home/documentation.php';
	require APP . 'view/_templates/footer.php';

Working with data

Let's look into the listOfSongs() method in the application/controllers/Songs.php: Similar to documentation, but here we also request data. Again, everything is extremely reduced and simple: $this->model->getAllSongs() simply calls the getAllSongs() method in application/model/model.php.

public function listOfSongs() {
	$songs = $this->model->getAllSongs();
	// load views. within the views we can echo out $songs
	require APP . 'view/_templates/header.php';
	require APP . 'view/_templates/nav.header.php';
	require APP . 'view/songs/listofsongs.php';
	require APP . 'view/_templates/footer.php';

The data-handling method for retreiving the list of songs from the database are in application/model/Songs.php. Have a look how getAllSongs() in Songs.php looks like.

public function getAllSongs() {
	// get a database instance
	$db = Database\Database::getInstance();
	//connect to database
	$db = $db->connect();
	$all = $db->query()
    	->from('songs', array(
    	->order('id', 'desc')
	//disconnect from database
	return $all;

The result, here $songs, can then easily be used directly inside the view files (in this case application/views/songs/listofsongs.php, in a simplified example):

<table class="table table-striped table-bordered table-hover table-condensed">
            <th class="text-center">Id</th>
            <th class="text-center">Artist</th>
            <th class="text-center">Track</th>
            <th class="text-center">Link</th>
            <th class="text-center"></th>
    	<?php foreach ($songs as $song) { ?>
            <td><?php if (isset($song['id'])) echo htmlspecialchars($song['id'], ENT_QUOTES, CHARSET); ?></td>
            <td><?php if (isset($song['artist'])) echo htmlspecialchars($song['artist'], ENT_QUOTES, CHARSET); ?></td>
            <td><?php if (isset($song['track'])) echo htmlspecialchars($song['track'], ENT_QUOTES, CHARSET); ?></td>
                <?php if (isset($song['link'])) { ?>
                    <a href="<?php echo htmlspecialchars($song['link'], ENT_QUOTES, CHARSET); ?>"><?php echo htmlspecialchars($song['link'], ENT_QUOTES, CHARSET); ?></a>
                <?php } ?>
            	<div class="btn-toolbar" role="toolbar">
				  <div class="btn-group btn-group-xs" role="group">
				  	<a class="btn btn-default" href="<?php echo URL . 'songs/deletesong/' . htmlspecialchars($song['id'], ENT_QUOTES, CHARSET); ?>" role="button" title="Delete">
				  		<span class="glyphicon glyphicon glyphicon-remove" aria-hidden="true"></span>
				  	<a class="btn btn-default" href="<?php echo URL . 'songs/editsong/' . htmlspecialchars($song['id'], ENT_QUOTES, CHARSET); ?>" role="button" title="Edit">
				  		<span class="glyphicon glyphicon glyphicon-pencil" aria-hidden="true"></span>
    	<?php } ?>

Sending mail

For the emailing library, I have extended [PHPMailer] ( This was done for simplicity. I just created the basic functions needed, added extra validations and called [PHPMailer] ( functions afterwards.

Sending an e-mail is quite easy and straight forward. Let's look into the contactUs() method in application/controllers/Home.php. Simply specify a sender, add recipients, type a subject, and a body, and finally call the sendMail() menthod.

$mailer = $this->emailer();
$mailer->addRecipient(SMTP_USERNAME, 'MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC');
$mailer->subject('This is a test');
$mailer->replyTo('', 'MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC no-reply');
$mailer->htmlBody(file_get_contents(APP . '\view\_templates\_mail\contents.html'), APP . '\view\_templates\_mail');

Creating forms

Create forms with a base URL built from your config preferences. The main benefit of using this helper library rather than hard coding your own HTML, is that it permits your site to be more portable in the event your URLs ever change, and also, you will for sure know that all your forms are created in the same way.

Let's stay in the contactus.php page (in views/home/). As you can see, there are a few basic step needed to create a form:

  1. Get an instance of the form helper
  2. Call the create() method to set the form properties
  3. Open the form by callling the open() method
  4. Start adding elements to your form. You can add several different elements such as labels, textboxes, drop-downs, etc.
  5. Close the form by calling the close() method
//get an instance of the form helper
$form = $this->form();

//call the create()-method to set the form properties
		'method' => 'post',
		'name' => 'formContactUs',
		'id' => 'formContactUs',
		'role' => 'form',
		'novalidate' => false

//open the form for adding input controls

//start adding elements to your form. You can add several different elements such as labels, textboxes, drop-downs, etc.
close the form	

Validating forms

We are still sticking to the contactUs.php page (in views/home/). Have a loook into the contactUs()-method in the home-controller (application/controllers/Home.php). The advantage of the form validation helper library is that you can define a set of rules and apply them to different elements in different pages.

To use them, follow these simple steps:

  1. Get an instance of the form validation helper library
  2. Always check that the form was submitted before validating the form elements' values
  3. Set all the rules for each form element
  4. Call the run()-method to validate each form element data
// check that the form was submitted before validating the form elements' values
if (isset($_POST["btnContactUs"])) {
	$validator = $this->formValidations();
	// set all the form rules
	$validator->setRule('subject', 'Subject', 'required|minLength[5]|maxLength[45]', array(
			'required' => 'Please specify a subject',
			'minLength' => 'Subject must be at least 5 characters',
			'maxLength' => 'Subject cannot be longer then 45 characters'
	$validator->setRule('name', 'Name', 'required|minLength[5]|maxLength[45]', array(
			'required' => 'Please specify your name',
			'minLength' => 'Name must be at least 5 characters',
			'maxLength' => 'Name cannot be longer then 45 characters'
	$validator->setRule('email', 'E-mail', 'required|email|maxLength[45]', array(
			'required' => 'Please specify your e-mail address',
			'email' => 'Correo electrónico no válido',
			'maxLength' => 'E-mail cannot be longer then 45 characters'
	$validator->setRule('message', 'Message', 'required|minLength[5]|maxLength[255]', array(
			'required' => 'Please specify your doubt, message or question',
			'minLength' => 'Message must be at least 5 characters',
			'maxLength' => 'Message cannot be longer then 255 characters'
	// do the validation
	if($validator->run('btnContactUs', 'contactUs') === false) {
		//do some confirmation


MINI-FRAMEWORK-MVC started as an idea and a challenge. I am not exactly a professional PHP programmer, but I had the basic knowledge. However, I wanted to improve and learn in dept how a MVC framework was build. So, I bought the book "Pro PHP MVC" by Chris Pitt, and read it during my free time. In this book, I got the chance to get to know current most popular professional MVC frameworks. And at the same time, the book explains how to build from scratch classes that are useful for a MVC Framework.

To complement the book, I also took the Udemy course Learn PHP Model View Controller Pattern (PHP MVC). It was in this course where I understood how to join the different classes need in a framework and got to know MINI3.

After reading the book and finishing the course, I though myself it would be a good idea to combine some of the lessons learnt from both and implement them in MINI3. But I did not want to build everything from scratch. And that is why, some of the libraries are just implementations of already existing ones, whereas some are adaptations of snippets of code, and some others are fully developed by me.

Dear haters, trolls and everything-sucks-people...

This project started as a way of helping me understand and learn about MVC design pattern. But it grew up to include some other libraries that have been helpful to me. It might not fully follow MVC principles or not perfectly coded, but it was developed with all the good intensions at heart. I also like what our good friend from MINI3 said. So I will just quote him:

"... MINI is just a simple helper-tool I've created for my daily work, simply because it was much easier to setup and to handle than real frameworks. For daily agency work, quick prototyping and frontend-driven projects it's totally okay, does the job and there's absolutely no reason to discuss why it's "shit compared to Laravel", why it does not follow several MVC principles or why there's no personal unpaid support or no russian translation or similar weird stuff. The trolling against Open-Source-projects (and their authors) has really reached insane dimensions.

I've written this unpaid, voluntarily, in my free-time and uploaded it on GitHub to share. It's totally free, for private and commercial use. If you don't like it, don't use it. If you see issues, then please write a ticket (and if you are really cool: I'm very thankful for any commits!). But don't bash, don't complain, don't hate. Only bad people do so...."

Contribute Code

If you would like to become an active contributor to this project please follow these simple steps:

  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch
  3. Commit your changes
  4. Push to the branch
  5. Create new Pull Request
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