Top 8 PHP Frameworks for Developing Web Apps

Business owners and developers are always on a lookout for a modern, scalable and organized framework when it comes to building a website that has a high complexity level. PHP frameworks are a perfect option during such times as 82.7% of websites thrive on PHP coding according to a Web Technology Survey.

If you too, are considering web development for your website, you first need to know why you should opt for PHP. Once you know what makes PHP the best, you can start looking for the right type of PHP framework for your website.

Why Should You Opt for PHP framework?

PHP frameworks are known to save a lot of time and effort spent behind website development. Here’s why you should choose PHP over other frameworks:

  • Enables swift web development
  • Offers developers with a systematized, maintainable and reusable coding
  • Enhances the security of a website
  • Helps build scalable web applications to boost your sales
  • Follows the MVC (model-view-controller) which helps to separate logic and presentation
  • Comes with object oriented programming tools

Now that you’ve known the features that make PHP the best, you might be wondering which PHP framework to go for. To help you get over the confusions, we have listed the 8 most popularly used PHP frameworks along with their features and advantages.

1. Laravel

When it comes to finding a PHP framework that supports large scale web application development, Laravel stands in the forefront. It boasts support from a huge community and a lot of tutorials that provide you with all the information about building a website. The companies that offer Laravel development solutions make use of rich features in order to develop your website and bring it to life. It has its own template engine known as blade which enables the developers to write PHP in the templates bringing no performance overheads to the application.

2. Symfony

Symfony is the best choice if you need to craft a website for a large scale enterprise. It was released in the year 2005 by an interactive agency named Sensiolabs. The ecosystem of this PHP framework is packed with several reusable components and a very active community. You can get an idea about its feature rich components from the fact that even Laravel uses most of its components. Its template engine is known as “Twig” which is highly popular amongst the developers. There companies offering Symfony development services also make the most out of this template engine.

Symfony has driven some of the biggest open source projects like PHPBB, PIWIK, Dhrupal and OROCRM. It can be obtained under MIT license and also downloaded from the github repository. Symfony framework is available under MIT license and can be downloaded from its Github repository.

3. Phalcon

Phalcon, again, is one of the most modern frameworks which was crafted keeping the speed factor in mind. It is written in C language and is the fastest PHP framework available today. Despite of the fact that it is written in C, it is a full stack MVC framework that comes along with rich features like templates, controllers, routing, ORM, query language, caching etc.

It has stood strong in its competition with other frameworks and has defeated them with its swift performance. Released on 2012, Phalcon is extremely easy to learn and is loved by several PHP developers. However, there is some level of skepticism amongst few developers when it comes to developing Phalcon based solutions as it is written in C.

4. CakePHP

Despite of being the oldest PHP framework, CakePHP is still in high demand amongst the developers after the release of its latest version CakePHP 3.0. Laravel and Symfony being the latest frameworks haven’t been able to suppress its popularity. It was released in the year 2005 and can be obtained under MIT license and can be used in commercial as well as personal projects. Some of the well-known users of CakePHP frameworks are Hyundai, Zumba, BMW and Express.

The latest version used for CakePHP development offers decoupled components for better modularity, standalone libraries, session management and much more.

5. CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter was released in the year 2006 and is a decade old. It is very easy to install and has a simple configuration process making it easy for the developers to use. Whenever you need to get over the PHP version conflict, Codeigniter works the best as it is compatible with most of the hosting platforms.

Being a lean framework, it is only 2MB in size and can be downloaded easily. This means that third party plugins can be added if one needs to execute complicated functions. As most of the PHP developers go for Laravel and Phalcon, the demand of CodeIgniter development is declining.

6. Yii Framework

Yii Framework was released in the year 2008 and is one of the oldest PHP frameworks. After the advent of Symfony and Laravel, it had almost lost the race. But after the release of Yii 2.0, it is becoming a preferred choice for enterprise based Yii web application development.

Yii has a code generator tool named Gii and includes a lot of features that fulfill the requirements of modern web application development. This PHP framework boasts of a helpful and active community which is constantly making efforts to take it to the next level. If you use Yii, you will also realize that its documentation is better than any other PHP frameworks.

7. Zend Framework

Zend Framework has been around for over a decade and is used by several corporate giants like Cisco WebEx, BBC and BNP Paribas for their website projects. As Zend has a steep learning curve and is difficult to learn, it takes for senior and experienced developers to build a website using the framework.

The community development team of this framework consists of core PHP developers and they make sure that it remains complete, stable and robust. It is better to hire professionals for Zend development as its configuration is complicated. If you want to undertake small and medium scale projects, using Zend is not advisable. Some developers are also moving from Zend to Phalcon and Laravel as it is a complex framework. Google, IBM, Microsoft and Adobe are the partners of Zend framework.

8. Slim

Slim PHP framework offers the developers with everything they need and eliminates the extra and unnecessary features. The maker of this framework was inspired by a Ruby micro framework named Sinatra. It comes with a minimalistic design and works great for small apps which do not require a full-stack framework.

Slim is used by PHP developers when it comes to developing RESTful APIs and services. It provides with features like session and cookie encryption, client-side HTTP caching, URL routing etc. If you are into Slim development, you can read through its user guide.

Drawing Conclusions

Although PHP frameworks are built using different methods and concepts, there is a single underlying requirement which is — to have a smoothly running web application with a maintainable code. Although PHP is an old framework, its web development landscape has always remained dynamic. The above mentioned frameworks have been the most popular ones in the world of modern web applications.

If you have a website that has a complex infrastructure as well as huge CRM and CMS systems, PHP is the right choice. What is your experience with PHP frameworks? Which one of the above mentioned frameworks would you prefer to use? Please feel free to share with us.