PHP is a wide-spread script language actively used for web development. It is one of the leaders among the languages designed to create dynamic websites. PHP is the choice of more than 80% of existing web server software, because it is open source, flexible, cost-efficient and provides maximum control over the website.
Creation of complex software applications or websites from square one is a time-consuming and laborious task. That’s why highly functional PHP frameworks were designed to facilitate this process. By using reliable PHP framework one can easily organize the code and speed up the performance of the site, at the same time ensuring website’s evolvement and growth.
Let’s see what are the most popular and actively maintained frameworks which are worth drawing attention to in 2016.
Created in 2011, Laravel is considered to be the most popular PHP framework in the world. With its huge ecosystem, Laravel will provide your web application with a foundation of easy to understand, clean and well-built code.
While possessing some of Symfony components, Laravel is armed with a set of features that enable rapid application development and make its management a lot easier. In particular, Laravel includes “Blade” – its own web templating engine, which makes possible writing PHP in the templates. Another powerful feature is named “Homestead” – a local development environment, which is a packaged Vagrant box. You will be impressed with Laravel’s intelligent syntax that makes much easier the tasks you do regularly, like queueing, authentication, caching and sessions. One of the best and not the last features is “Composer” – a wonderful tool that installs dependencies and facilitates managing the third-party components of your web application.
There won’t be much trouble with getting the hang of Laravel, even if you are a newcomer, because the Internet is abundant with free tutorials and learning materials on this subject.
Laravel is well thought out providing extraordinary flexibility to web developers to create anything from small and simple websites to large scale complex applications.
Symfony is just the framework you need if you are planning to start a complex enterprise project. At the same time it is quite easy to install and understand, which makes Symfony one of the most suitable frameworks for starters. Its code is simple, with phpDocumentor comments.
Its ecosystem contains an array of reusable and decoupled components that can be installed with the PHP Composer. With the help of Symfony’s components you can complete tasks like routing, templating, form creation, authentication and a lot others. Many of these components are now used by Laravel. Moreover, they back up such large open source projects as phpBB, Piwik, Drupal and eZ publish. The facts speak for themselves.
What is important about Symfony for enterprise applications is that it is actually stable for longterm projects. Being backed by enormous community of fans, Symfony keeps evolving and gaining popularity.
Released in 2005, CakePHP hasn’t run out of steam yet. It doesn’t wish to take the back seat and stated it quite clearly with its latest version CakePHP 3.0, featured with decoupled components, increased ability to create standalone libraries, advanced session management, high modularity and ORM improvements. Moreover, it can be easily extended with helpers and plugins.
In the first years after being released, CakePHP held the position of leading PHP framework and caught attention of such huge brands as Hyundai, BMW and Express.
Containing reliable built-in security features such as XSS prevention, CSRF protection, SQL injection prevention and others, CakePHP is perfect for creating web applications that need robust security, which especially concerns commercial applications.
One of the main reasons for CodeIgniter’s popularity is its lightweightness (only about 2MB) in comparison to later PHP frameworks. It is easy to learn and use, with no extensive and massive libraries, which makes Codelgniter suitable for starter PHP developers. Its installation process requires minimum configuration. What is more, Codelgniter is compatible with standard hosting and has no limitative coding rules, which means that own codding is available.
By giving considerable freedom to developers, Codelgniter enable them to create visually spectacular web apps. If you need to include more functionality to your web application, Codelgniter allows adding third-party plugins.
As well as CakePHP and CodeIgniter, Zend is a relatively old tool, but it still ranks among the most popular and successful PHP frameworks. It is powerful and stable, but actually difficult to learn. In addition, it has complex configuration options, which makes Zend a framework for experts and definitely not for newcomers. Zend is not appropriate for small sized projects, that’s why many web developers prefer Laravel and other simpler frameworks. But still it is an excellent tool for development of more complex and large-scale projects. Its latest version Zend 3 is optimized for PHP 7 and supports older versions till PHP 5.5.
The key to success for every web developer is developing with high-quality, well-organized and maintainable code. This can be achieved by using proven PHP frameworks which will enable rapid application development, ensure its scalability and provide your web application with good security. Build general components with PHP frameworks and dedicate more time to the specific functionality of your app.