In the 21 years since its inception, PHP has become the world’s most popular server side scripting language. Known as a powerful, easy to learn language, PHP, according to one metrics site, is used by 82% of all the websites whose server-side programming language is known. In more cases than not, if you encounter a desktop application that has a user-interface, such as an e-commerce applications or social media sites, the likelihood exists that it’s coded in PHP.
Building applications can be a complex and time-consuming process and frameworks can provide a great resource to facilitate the process. If you’re a startup or new business then you especially need a versatile and agile platform for coding applications; PHP frameworks can help immensely.
So exactly why do you need to use a framework, you might ask? Frameworks are super useful tools because they provide a structure and unified environment that will help you to build your projects faster and more efficiently. Using frameworks is also just good-overall web development practice that enhances scalability and long-term maintenance so you can dedicate more time to building high-quality code.
Fortunately, there are also no lack of solid PHP frameworks out there. So let’s take a look at a handful of frameworks, which frequently top the “favorites” list of most preferred PHP platforms. No matter whether you’re a seasoned PHP programmer or a newbie just starting out, you’ll have a good reason to review these 6 frameworks for your startup or small business.
Symfony is usually on the top lists of PHP frameworks, and for good reason. Since the initial release in 2005, the framework has proven its value as a solid platform for building robust applications in an enterprise context. Focused on the model-view-controller (MVC) approach, Symfony allows almost everything in the development process to be customized, which is a big draw for developers. Symfony has become a very well-regarded and free platform (released under the MIT license) especially in the enterprise world.
Probably one of the more popular PHP frameworks on the market right now is Laravel, also known for its elegance and simplicity. Laravel meets a diverse range of programming needs and projects, from beginner to advanced, and is well suited for projects of all types and sizes – from basic scripting to huge enterprise applications. It’s built on top of several Symfony components that ensures a solid framework for producing well-tested and reliable code.
CodeIgniter has become known as a powerful PHP framework with a small footprint, providing a simple and elegant sets to tools to develop fully-featured web applications. CodeIgniter uses the popular MVC controller approach and is known to be fast compared to other frameworks. CodeIgniter was created by EllisLab, and is now a project of the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
CakePHP is another open source PHP web development framework that is widely used and time-tested, tracing its origins back to 2005. CakePHP provides a clean and easy way to spin up projects without any hassle, using the MVC convention. The framework offers a flexible architecture for the development, maintenance, and rapid deployment of applications. The Cake Software Foundation operates an annual Conference focusing on CakePHP called CakeFest, which is held every summer at different venues around the world.
Phalcon is an open source web PHP framework written in the C language. There is no need to learn the C language however, since the framework functionality is exposed as PHP classes that are ready to use. The advantage of using C is that the framework offers higher performance and platform independence, meaning it’s extensible to Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and Mac OS X. Phalcon is open-sourced software licensed under the New BSD License. While less than two years hold, Phalcon offers documentation, community, and development resources that rival many of the more mature frameworks available.
Zend Framework 2 is a free, open source framework for developing web applications and services using PHP 5.3+ and is part of the Zend Technologies initiative, co-founded by PHP founders Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski. Zend Framework relies on the MVC approach to web development. It’s also part of a larger ecosystem of Zend PHP tools and technologies, including Zend Server and Zend Studio (a paid IDE that includes features that can integrate with Zend Framework). In January Zend Framework announced the release of Framework 3 later in 2015, which will provide next generation PHP development (fully optimized for PHP 7) that focuses on “simplicity, reusability, and performance.”