In the area of web development, PHP web frameworks have their own ecosystem. Building web applications and websites of all complexity and sizes is made possible by PHP frameworks. A large percentage of websites around the world are built using PHP code showing the popularity of PHP language among web developers. But developing websites from scratch using raw PHP code would be next to impossible if not for PHP frameworks that has fueled the massive growth. According to NetCraft which conducted the Net Server Survey in 2014, the number of websites around the world crossed one billion in 2014 and that number is increasing every day.
Frameworks are basically tools meant for skilled web developers who know exactly how to utilize them and have a clear understanding of the limitations of the frameworks that they choose. In modern web development, success is determined by speed of development along with a reusable, well organized and maintainable code, all the while giving importance to scalability. Using an already existing and proven PHP framework can help developers achieve this goal. Frameworks offer libraries and components which are ready to use and also enforces proven architecture as well as file and code structure. There are various benefits of using PHP frameworks which increases the productivity of PHP frameworks and makes web development fun.
Here are the top PHP frameworks for modern web development:
Laravel is one of the most famous PHP frameworks and is used extensively by a large number of web developers. The framework is built in such a way that it is simple to use, easy to learn and supports speedy development of applications. Released in 2011, the framework boasts of a robust development and hosting platform. Laravel framework also has a large number of features such as RESTful routing, amazing ORM, powerful queue library, simple authentication, painless routing, light weight templating engine or native PHP and many more. Laravel framework is built using numerous Symfony components and provides well-tested and reliable code for web application development. Laravel framework also has a packaged Vagrant box known as ‘Homestead’ which allows developers to start development without having to install a web server, PHP, HHVM or any other package in the local server. A micro PHP framework called ‘Lumen’ is also available which allows developers to build Laravel based services and lightning fast API’s.
Symfony 2 framework is helpful in accomplishing large scale and complex enterprise projects. The version 2 of this framework is built over existing components of Symfony such as eZ Publish, Drupal and phpBB. Symfony takes PHP development to the next level by having various reusable components and an active and vibrant community. The reusable PHP libraries in the framework can be used to complete various tasks such as routing, object configuration, authentication, form creation, templating and many more. The applications and websites which are developed using Symfony framework have a showcase section which is quite interesting as it provides a sneak peek of the various projects which was developed using this framework.
Released in 2012, Phalcon is one of the fastest PHP frameworks that are available today. To reach the highest level of performance optimization, Phalcon is written in C and C++ which also means that it consumes lower resources. Moreover, knowledge of C language is not required because the functionality is exposed as PHP classes which can be readily used for any application. Delivered as C-extension, the architecture of Phalcon is optimized at low levels which help in reducing the overhead that is usually seen in MVC-based applications. The framework has decreased resource usage and higher execution speeds. The Phalcon framework boasts of modern features such as controllers, routing, query language, ORM, universal auto-loader, caching, translation, asset management, security and many more.
Codeignitor has been around for more than ten years and developers prefer it as it is fast, lightweight and easy to learn compared to contemporary PHP frameworks. Codeignitor is a lightweight PHP framework with a straightforward installation process requiring minimal configuration and save the user from a lot of development troubles. As it works on most of the dedicated hosting platforms, PHP version conflicts can be easily avoided. According to builtwith.com, business websites are the largest user of Codeignitor followed by technology, shopping and entertainment industry. The use of controller classes is a must as the framework is not completely based on MVC development. Views and models are optional and therefore developers will be able to use their own naming and coding conventions. The Codeignitor framework is quite famous among developers because of the level of freedom that it provides to them. The size of the framework is also very less and third party plugins can be easily added if complicated functionalities are required. The features of this framework include no restrictive coding rules, zero configurations, template language not needed and many more.
Released in 2008, it is one of the oldest PHP frameworks. The latest version of the framework is fast gaining popularity among enterprise grade web application developers. The framework uses the lazy loading technique to boost the website’s performance. Yii frame work is purely object oriented and provides a clean and logical code base without any repetition. Builtwith.com shows that USA has the highest number of businesses using Yii framework at 12, 321 followed by United Kingdom at 369. Integrated with jQuery, Yii comes with AJAX enabled features which make the implementation of easy-to-use teaming and skinning mechanism quite easy. Yii, a powerful class code generator is also present which facilitates rapid prototyping and object-oriented programming and also provides a web-based interface that allows the developer to generate any code they need.
An open source and sophisticated micro framework, Slim provides developers with everything that they need. RESTful APIs and services can be easily developed using slim. The biggest advantage for developers using Slim is that they don’t have to spend time learning it as the code base is very small. The framework also comes with best in class middleware architecture and URL routing. Flash messages, encrypted cookies, client-side HTTP catching, cookie encryption and page templates are also supported by slim framework.The framework is usually present at the core of the application around which the developer writes the code as required or fully functional web applications can be created by plugging existing components from different frameworks.
Even though CakePHP was released in 2005, it ranks among the most popular PHP frameworks that are in use today as it has evolved with the times and has stayed relevant even today. Features such as modularity by decoupling several components, improved session management and the capacity to create additional standalone libraries are the key features of CakePHP 3.0 version. Tools such as composer, PSR-0 and PSR-1 have drastically improved interoperability. Websites of global brands such as Hyundai, BMW and Express to name a few have been powered by CakePHP. For web applications that require high-level of security, CakePHP is the best tool to use as various built-in security features are available such as SQL injection prevention, input validation, cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection, cross-site scripting (XSS) prevention and many more.
PHP frameworks have been around for a very long time but the every changing landscape of web development means that the frameworks must also change along with them. For creating complex web applications such as enterprise CRM and CMS systems and large scale open source projects, the default choice for developers has always been PHP frameworks. There are different kinds of frameworks which business enterprises can use to build their websites but selecting the right one can be a difficult task.