PHP is one of the most widely used programming languages used for developing websites and web apps. For years, this open-source scripting language has been acclaimed for being stable and secure. However, it has evolved over a period of time. To begin with, PHP developers wrote custom codes for every single functionality, which was a tedious task. Over the time, they realized that they needed a solution for this and came up with the concept of PHP frameworks.
A PHP framework refers to a universal platform of reusable software that can be used for building websites and web apps of diverse sizes and complexities. It can be explained as a library of code base along with a standardized way to enable developers to create web solutions of their choice. These have rendered ease and simplicity for the developers who need not rewrite same code repeatedly for every page. Here are the reasons why developers rely on existing, proven PHP frameworks:
- The application of reusable, maintainable code facilitates the speed of web development
- At the same time, framework-based web apps offer the benefit of scalability
- It also guarantees high level of security for the PHP site
- They follow the Model-View-Controller paradigm, which ensures separation of presentation and logic
- Developers can adopt modern web development practices like OOP with the use of these frameworks
After understanding the significance of PHP frameworks, it becomes important to choose the right one. There are several options of popular, well-maintained frameworks that are considered ideal for web development projects. Let’s have a look at the best ones:
One of the newer frameworks, Laravel has well surpassed its rivals in popularity. It comes packed with features that expedite the web development process. It offers a huge ecosystem that comes with instant hosting and deployment platform. Blade, the lightweight templating engine of Laravel, enables repeat tasks such as authentication, sessions, caching, queueing, and RESTful routing. Laravel is also empowered with Homestead, the packaged Vagrant box that enables hassle-free development.
When it comes to developing large-scale enterprise projects, Symfony makes a perfect choice amongst the PHP frameworks. Its ecosystem is a huge one, with a big set of reusable components and an active community of developers. The components serve the purpose of completing diverse tasks such as for creation, the configuration of objects, authentication, routing, templating, and much more. These components are being used to power up projects such as Drupal, Laravel, PHPBB, PIWIk, and OROCRM.
(3) Yii 2
Yii which happens to be one of the oldest PHP frameworks has come up with its latest version Yii 2 to get a much-needed popularity boost. A purely object-oriented framework, Yii 2 employs the lazy loading technique which makes it faster than the others. It excels for large-scale website development because it can be integrated with AJAX and Jquery features. Additionally, it offers Gii, the powerful code generator tool.
Featuring next on this list is Zend, which packs a range of features such as a user-friendly drag and drop editor, cryptographic coding tools, a connected Database Wizard, and instant online debugging tools. The scalable framework is ideal for complex websites as it offers a myriad of configuration options. However, it is one of the most difficult to learn.
CodeIgniter, a lightweight framework, is popular because it provides a hassle-free installation with minimal configuration requirements. Its ability to work smoothly on all shared as well as dedicated hosting platforms, adds to its popularity. Not entirely based on MVC pattern, CodeIgniter offers flexibility to developers. They have the compulsion to use Controller classes but there is an option for using Models and Views. Other features include easy error handling, simple security and encryption steps, and no PHP adoption struggle.
Phalcon excels in performance because it is based on C and C++. An easy to use and well-documented framework, Phalcon is loaded with exceptional features such as asset management, universal auto loader, translation, caching, and security.
Another widely appreciated member of this list is CakePHP, which brings speed, security, and reliability. It has been around for a decade now but still holds high in terms of popularity. The credit goes to unbeatable features such as SQL injection prevention, cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection, and cross-site scripting (XSS) prevention.
Slim is a light-weight micro framework that is relevant for small to medium websites, RESTful APIs, and services. Despite being minimalistic in design, Slim comes packed with rich features such as Client-side HTTP Caching, session and cookie routing, URL routing, and support for flash messages across HTTP request.
Next on this list is FuelPHP, a modular, extendable, and flexible PHP framework. The full stack framework supports the MVC pattern as well as its evolved version Hierarchical Model-View-Controller (HMVC). It is suitable for delivering end-to-end web solutions of diverse sizes and complexities.
Aura comprises of a collection of library packages, each of which is usable independently in any code base. This framework is relevant for developers who prefer to write codes without relying on a full stack opinionated framework.
The choice of the framework really depends upon the type of website to be developed. However, scalability, speed, and security are some basics that every developer looks for while exploring these frameworks for a smooth web application development journey.