Almost 21 years have passed since the inception of PHP. It has proved its mettle and remains the number one server-side scripting language in the world. Easy to learn and also powerful, PHP is used by almost 82% of all websites whose server-side programming language is known.

But before jumping into the PHP pool and getting your feet wet in web app development, ask yourself this: which framework is the best for your project? Picking the right framework will save you from entering murky waters in the middle of your project and will also save you from resenting your chosen framework if it doesn’t meet the end requirements of the job.

There are a number of great PHP frameworks out there. We’ve picked four of the best frameworks for you nerdy programmers. Whether you’re a seasoned PHP pro or the new kid in the town, this list is for you.

web app development

Laravel

Laravel is the framework used by the greatest number of PHP developers. It’s also the most popular PHP framework in the GitHub arena. Laravel offers users a promising foundation, as several of its top features were taken from the Symfony framework. It consists of well tested, reliable code and was written in PHP 5.

History

Laravel was created by Taylor Otwell to provide developers with an advanced alternative to the CodeIgniter framework. Its first beta version was launched on June 9, 2011. To date, seven versions of Laravel have been released.

Specifications

Required skills: PHP and OOP

Latest Stable Version: 5.1.19 (October 1, 2015)

Release Date: June 11, 2011 (Laravel 1)

Licensed Under: MIT License

Features

  1. Laravel comes with Eloquent ORM (object-relational mapping), which offers simple implementation of active record patterns for databases.
  2. Its lightweight Blade templating engine is found in the view section of Laravel’s robust model view controller (MVC) architecture.
  3. Reverse routing makes the management of client and server routes easy. It also smoothly connects resources. Laravel’s reverse routing feature builds a relationship between links and routes. This makes it possible to make changes to routes later, so they can be automatically propagated into relevant links. When the names of existing routes are used to create the links, Laravel automatically generates appropriate uniform resource identifiers (URIs).
  4. RESTful controllers provide an optional way to separate the logic behind serving HTTP GET and POST requests.
  5. Laravel’s database version control, called migration, makes it easy to incorporate changes in an application’s codebase. Along with that, Laravel also associates required changes in the database layout. This simplifies the deployment and updating of applications.
  6. It is pre-packed with built-in unit testing and a readable syntax.
  7. Its composer lets developers easily manage an application’s third party packages.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a micro open-source web application framework. It is mostly used in building dynamic websites and comes with comprehensive, flexible documentation. CodeIgniter is based on the MVC development pattern. This framework is different from all the other PHP frameworks. It is the best framework for PHP beginners as it is easier to learn, as well as faster and lighter than others.

History

The first version of CodeIgniter was released by EllisLab on February 28, 2006. In 2014, EllisLab announced that development of this framework would come under the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Specifications

Required skills: PHP and OOP

Latest Stable Version: 3.0.1 (August 7, 2015)

Release Date: February 28, 2006

Licensed Under: OSL License

Features

  1. CodeIgniter is based on the model-view-controller (MVC) system approach.
  2. It has broad compatibility with standard hosting, resulting in exceptionally high performance.
  3. It offers more control than other frameworks.
  4. It requires zero configuration, which makes it easy for developers to handle.
  5. It comes with active record patterns support and is well maintained.
  6. It comes with large-scale monolithic libraries like its Image Manipulation Library, which helps in cropping, resizing, and rotating images.

PHP web app development

Phalcon

Phalcon is a full-stack web framework for PHP 5. It is a platform for creating and maintaining highly configurable web applications for enterprises. It is written and implemented as a C extension to optimize performance.

History

Phalcon was created by Andres Gutierrez and his associates, who were looking for an approach-based framework for PHP. That’s why, unlike other frameworks, Phalcon is written in C. This boosts Phalcon’s execution speed and reduces its use of resources.

Specifications

Required skills: PHP 5 and OOP

Latest Stable Version: 2.0.8 (September 25, 2015)

Release Date: November 14, 2012

Licensed Under: BSD License

Features

  1. Phalcon can handle more requests per second than comparable PHP frameworks.
  2. Phalcon’s learning curve is gentle and its ORM is easy to use.
  3. It also consists of native namespaces, which makes it easy to both differentiate between similar class names and controllers and create bundles and modules.
  4. It is loosely coupled to produce very little overhead.
  5. It comes with Direct Injection, which facilitates easy-to-create software that tests end-to-end applications.

Symfony

Symfony is like a parent to the Laravel framework. It aims to speed up the creation and maintenance of web applications. Used by big enterprises, Symfony is quite popular. In fact, Drupal, the most popular open-source CMS (content management) framework, uses Symfony components in its latest version, Drupal 8.

History

Symfony was created by Fabien Potencier in 2005 and is now sponsored by SensioLabs.

Specifications

Required skills: PHP 5, OOP, ORM, Console

Latest Stable Version: 2.7.5 (September 25, 2015)

Release Date: October 22, 2005

Licensed Under: MIT License

Features

  1. Symfony is the most stable, sustainable and flexible PHP framework and it quickly adapts to developers’ needs.
  2. It has a low performance overhead, which can be used with bytecode caches.
  3. It is easy to configure, as configuration is done entirely with its Dependency Injector and Event Dispatcher.
  4. It eliminates the repetition of code.
  5. It can be presented as bundles, which add extra functionalities to the framework and are highly extendable.
  6. It increases the strength of code development as it allows for the validation of roles, which improves productivity.

Other PHP frameworks worth mentioning are CakePHP, Yii and Zend.

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