As a modern server-side scripting language, PHP is hugely popular among both beginners and experienced web developers. In addition to supporting object-oriented and procedural programming, PHP is also compatible with major web browsers, web servers and operating systems. It also comes with a number of advanced features to effectuate and speed up development of modern internet application.
The programmers can further save both time and effort by using a good PHP framework. The resources provided by each PHP framework helps PHP programmers to accomplish common web development tasks like code and file organization, form validation, input/output filtering, cookie and session handling, and security. At the same time, the developers can also take advantage of the libraries, utilities and plug-ins provided by the framework to avoid writing longer lines of code.
The developers also have option to choose from popular web frameworks like Laravel, Symfony2, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Zend, Phalcon and Yii. But the features and performance of individual PHP frameworks vary, just like their popularity and market share. That is why; it is essential for PHP web developers to get a comparison of various PHP Frameworks and choose the one that complements all needs of the project.
Comparison of Various PHP Frameworks
According to Google search trends, Laravel is the most popular PHP framework of 2015. Despite being comparatively new, it comes with a number of features to speed up PHP development. The PHP programmers can use Laravel to easily accomplish common tasks like authentication, session management, queuing, routing, object-relationship mapping (ORM) and caching. At the same time, its expressive syntax enables users to create a high-quality and reusable code base. Laravel also comes with database agnostic migration and schema builder to boost the productivity of a team of PHP developers.
Symfony2 allows developers to choose from 30 standalone built-in components for their web application. The simple and elegant framework further provides solid foundation for building complex websites and web-based enterprise applications. As it focuses on model-view-controller (MVC) pattern, it becomes easier for developers to write clean and readable code by keeping the business logic and user interface separate. Also, Symfony makes PHP programmers more productive by making all aspects of the development process customizable.
The simple and elegant tools provided by CodeIgniter makes it easier for PHP programmers to build fully-features web applications within a stipulated amount of time. A number of surveys have also highlighted that CodeIgniter is much faster than other PHP frameworks. It further supports the MVC approach. So the developers can build large web applications quickly by keeping the business logic and user interface separate. CodeIgniter further comes with a simple templating tool, while providing plug-ins and add-ons for other templating engines. So it becomes easier for programmers to use a variety of templates to enhance the application’s look, feel and functionality.
CakePHP comes with a number of features to make web application development faster and simpler. It further does not require programmers to write longer lines of code while developing large web application. As it supports MVC pattern, the developers can effectuate development of large websites by keeping the business logic and presentation separate. At the same time, CakePHP enables developers to create prototypes rapidly by taking advantage of the scaffolding and code generation feature. At the same time, the framework also makes it easier for programmers to accomplish common tasks like authentication, validation, caching, database access and translation.
Zend Framework 2
As the name indicates, the framework has evolved from Zend Framework 1. But the updated version comes with a number of features to help developers to write modern applications in PHP. It supports several new features of PHP 5.3 like lambda functions, namespace, late static binding and closure. Also, it enables users to use 100% object-oriented code that can be modified and reused without any hassle. Zend is also designed with a completely different component structure to allow Zend PHP programmers to all its components independently, with minimal dependency on other components.
Despite being a popular full-stack PHP framework, Phalcon is written in C programming language. The programming language boosts the performance of Phalcon, while making it platform independent. But the functionality of the framework is exposed as PHP classes. So the PHP programmers do not need to be proficient on C to take advantage of Phalcon. As the framework supports MVC pattern, it becomes easier for developers to rapidly build both single and multi-module web applications. At the same time, the programmers can take advantage of an ORM and templating engines.
In addition to reducing development time, Yii also helps developers to create prototype of the web application quickly. It comes with a number of useful features including caching, authentication, scaffolding, testing, and role-based access control. Also, it supports MVC programming pattern, and works seamlessly with AJAX. At the same time, the framework is also designed with complete focus on security. So PHP programmers can take advantage of the security features to protect the web application from cross-site scripting attacks and SQL injection, while filtering all output and input.
As the name indicates, Slim is a macro and lightweight PHP development. Despite being a macro framework, Slim comes with several features to effectuate development of various web applications and APIs. Its request and response abstractions enable developers to manipulate various aspects of HTTP messages. Also, they have option to use industry-standard encryption techniques to persist session data. It further uses high quality encryption to secure session and cookie data using a unique key. Also, it simplifies client-side HTTP caching by providing a number of helper methods. On the whole, Slim comes with a number of features that makes it easier for programmers to create high-performing web applications without writing longer lines of code.
While comparing the frameworks, you must remember that all these popular PHP frameworks are open source and free. So you can use any framework without increasing project overheads. The openness also enables you to experiment with different PHP frameworks, and assess their features and performance practically.