Migrations Class

Migrations are a convenient way for you to alter your database in a structured and organized manner. You could edit fragments of SQL by hand but you would then be responsible for telling other developers that they need to go and run them. You would also have to keep track of which changes need to be run against the production machines next time you deploy.

The database table migration tracks which migrations have already been run so all you have to do is update your application files and call $this->migration->current() to work out which migrations should be run. The current version is found in application/config/migration.php.

Migration file names

Each Migration is run in numeric order forward or backwards depending on the method taken. Two numbering styles are available:

  • Sequential: each migration is numbered in sequence, starting with 001. Each number must be three digits, and there must not be any gaps in the sequence. (This was the numbering scheme prior to CodeIgniter 3.0.)
  • Timestamp: each migration is numbered using the timestamp when the migration was created, in YYYYMMDDHHIISS format (e.g. 20121031100537). This helps prevent numbering conflicts when working in a team environment, and is the preferred scheme in CodeIgniter 3.0 and later.

The desired style may be selected using the $config['migration_type'] setting in your application/config/migration.php file.

Regardless of which numbering style you choose to use, prefix your migration files with the migration number followed by an underscore and a descriptive name for the migration. For example:

  • 001_add_blog.php (sequential numbering)
  • 20121031100537_add_blog.php (timestamp numbering)

Create a Migration

This will be the first migration for a new site which has a blog. All migrations go in the application/migrations/ directory and have names such as 20121031100537_add_blog.php.


defined('BASEPATH') OR exit('No direct script access allowed');

class Migration_Add_blog extends CI_Migration {

        public function up()
                        'blog_id' => array(
                                'type' => 'INT',
                                'constraint' => 5,
                                'unsigned' => TRUE,
                                'auto_increment' => TRUE
                        'blog_title' => array(
                                'type' => 'VARCHAR',
                                'constraint' => '100',
                        'blog_description' => array(
                                'type' => 'TEXT',
                                'null' => TRUE,
                $this->dbforge->add_key('blog_id', TRUE);

        public function down()

Then in application/config/migration.php set $config['migration_version'] = 20121031100537;.

Usage Example

In this example some simple code is placed in application/controllers/Migrate.php to update the schema.:


class Migrate extends CI_Controller

        public function index()

                if ($this->migration->current() === FALSE)


Migration Preferences

The following is a table of all the config options for migrations.

Preference Default Options Description
migration_enabled FALSE TRUE / FALSE Enable or disable migrations.
migration_path APPPATH.’migrations/’ None The path to your migrations folder.
migration_version 0 None The current version your database should use.
migration_table migrations None The table name for storing the schema version number.
migration_auto_latest FALSE TRUE / FALSE Enable or disable automatically running migrations.
migration_type ‘timestamp’ ‘timestamp’ / ‘sequential’ The type of numeric identifier used to name migration files.

Class Reference

class CI_Migration
Returns:TRUE if no migrations are found, current version string on success, FALSE on failure
Return type:mixed

Migrates up to the current version (whatever is set for $config['migration_version'] in application/config/migration.php).

Returns:Error messages
Return type:string

This returns a string of errors that were detected while performing a migration.

Returns:An array of migration files
Return type:array

An array of migration filenames are returned that are found in the migration_path property.

Returns:Current version string on success, FALSE on failure
Return type:mixed

This works much the same way as current() but instead of looking for the $config['migration_version'] the Migration class will use the very newest migration found in the filesystem.

  • $target_version (mixed) – Migration version to process

TRUE if no migrations are found, current version string on success, FALSE on failure

Return type:


Version can be used to roll back changes or step forwards programmatically to specific versions. It works just like current() but ignores $config['migration_version'].