The features, libraries, and modules provided by robust PHP frameworks enable programmers to write custom web applications rapidly according to complex business requirements. But the developers do not need the advanced and robust features provided by full-stack PHP frameworks while building small and simple web applications. Also, the additional features and modules provided by full-stack PHP frameworks often impact the performance of web applications and increase server overhead. That is why; many PHP programmers prefer microframeworks to full-stack frameworks while developing simple websites and web applications. Despite being lightweight and fast, the microframeworks lack some of the robust features provided by the full-stack frameworks. But the developers have option to choose from a wide range of open source PHP microframeworks according to specific project needs. The web developers consider some of the most popular PHP microframeworks in 2018.

7 Widely Used PHP Microframeworks Web Developers Must Consider in 2018

1) Slim

The open source microframework for PHP comes with features to accelerate development of web applications and application programming interfaces. The robust router provided by Slim maps route callbacks to specific HTTP method requests and URIs. At the same time, the developers can integrate the concentric middleware provided by the framework to customize HTTP request and response objects.

Slim further allows developers to inspect and manipulate HTTP message methods, status, headers, body, cookies, and URI by supporting varied PSR-7 HTTP message implementations. The programmers can even use code hooks to execute functions throughout the web application’s lifecycle. Also, Slim helps developers to keep the web application architecture clean by installing only the relevant packages.

2) Silex

Despite being a lightweight framework, Silex enables developers to accelerate custom web application development by leveraging Symfony components. It even comes with features to facilitate development of single-file applications. The extension system based on Pimple micro service-container makes it easier for programmers to work with third-party libraries.

At the same time, the developers can test the web application easily by abstracting requests and responses through Symfony’s HttpKernel. Silex further comes with a dependency injection container that includes as single file and a single class. However, Silex lacks the capability to process multiple requests concurrently. The PHP microframework is even speculated to retire in June 2018.

3) Lumen

Lumen is designed as the lightweight version of a robust and widely used PHP framework – Laravel. In addition to being faster than other PHP microframeworks, Lumen further enables developers to avail some of the robust features provided by Laravel – caching, routing, authentication, validations, queues, middleware, Eloquent ORM, and service container. But the developers can start using the micro and lightweight version of Laravel without dealing with complex configuration.

They can even upgrade the web application from Lumen to Laravel without putting extra time and effort. The web applications can also be upgraded without making any changes to their source code. But Lumen comes with features to simplify development of web applications and APIs. It also inherits some of the major shortcomings of Laravel including static proxy classes.

4) Flight

Flight is designed as a simple, lightweight, and extensive web framework for PHP. The features provided by the PHP microframework make it easier for programmers to write RESTful web applications. In addition to providing a set of default functions and components, Flight also allows developers to register custom classes and map custom functions. The developers even have option to override the default classes and methods.

They can further filter both default and custom methods before and after calling them. Flight further allows developers to use the same variables anywhere in the application, display the view template by calling the render method, and catch all errors and exceptions. But Flight does not allow developers to use dynamic methods. Hence, the developers have to use static methods and explore ways to inject dependencies.

5) Siler

Siler aims to enable programmers to build web applications and APIs by using PHP as a declarative programming language. In addition to being fast and lightweight, Siler enables programmers to write applications using built-in functions provided by PHP. It even treats the PHP files and functions as first-class citizens. The developers can even use Siler just like regular PHP libraries.

Siler further supports PHP 7 and allows programmers to work with third-party template engines and ORM systems. It even features a component-based architecture and allows developers to work with various components through helper functions. The web developers can always consider Siler to build web applications and APIs by leveraging the built-in functions provided by PHP.

6) Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade (FSL) is designed as the successor to another discontinued PHP microframework – Limonade.  Like Limonade, FSL comes with features to simplify web development and prototyping. Its core design draws influence from a number of robust web frameworks including Orbit, Sinatra and Camping.

The developers can integrate the functions provided by FSL seamlessly with default PHP functions. But FSL, unlike other PHP microframeworks, allows developers to use controller callbacks as a function, static method, object method, or closure. Hence, it becomes easier for PHP programmers to build web applications based on MVC architecture and functional programming concepts.

7) MINI3

Unlike other microframeworks for PHP, MINI does not provide any features to simplify web application development. Instead, MINI3 is designed as a simple and easy-to-understand PHP application. It helps programmers to understand how to keep the application structure clean, make URLs clean, make AJAX calls, perform Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) database actions, and handle database requests through PDO.

MINI3 aims to enable programmers to write web applications in PHP without using any framework. It further enables developers to start building web applications by making changes to the commented code. Hence, many developers opt for MINI3 as a robust alternative to other PHP microframeworks.

On the whole, the PHP developers have option to choose from a number of widely used PHP microframeworks. But the PHP microframeworks still differ from each other in terms of features, performance, and usability. Hence, it becomes essential for web developers to compare the top PHP microframeworks of 2018 according to precise needs of each project.