CodeIgniter gives you access to a Query Builder class. This pattern allows information to be retrieved, inserted, and updated in your database with minimal scripting. In some cases only one or two lines of code are necessary to perform a database action. CodeIgniter does not require that each database table be its own class file. It instead provides a more simplified interface.
Beyond simplicity, a major benefit to using the Query Builder features is that it allows you to create database independent applications, since the query syntax is generated by each database adapter. It also allows for safer queries, since the values are escaped automatically by the system.