Despite the popularity of Java and Python, PHP (Hypertext Processor) remains one of the most widely used programming languages on the web. It’s easy to learn, allowing developers to build websites, applications, and APIs (Application Programming Interface) with considerable ease. That said, coding websites from scratch can take a considerable amount of time to create and even longer to master.
Enter PHP frameworks. These are frameworks that have a library of PHP codes used in common web functions. Using these makes PHP web development easier to accomplish in less time, since there’s no need to create original code at every step.
There are dozens of PHP frameworks for web development out there, each one with its own set of pros and cons. Which PHP framework is best for you?
Laravel is a free, open-source PHP framework that’s a favorite of many developers (it’s multilingual, so this is true across the globe) because it can handle complex back-end requirements. It offers some of the best security features found on any PHP framework, making it capable of withstanding the most common cybersecurity risks. It also has a range of features like email service integration, data migration, and user authentication, on top of other packages that you can install.
Amateur developers love Laravel for its ease of use; its simplicity makes the learning curve easy to get over. Meanwhile, professional developers prefer it for its top-of-the-line environment, templating engine, and routing system.
Laravel has been available since 2011, so it also has a large community of dedicated users that developers can get support from.
Laravel also has a micro-framework called Lumen that developers can use to create single-page applications and microservices.
Launched in 2005, Symfony is popular among experienced developers. It has built-in testing facilities, a database engine, and a well-designed codebase. It’s more mature than its predecessors, so it can take more time to learn all the little details when compared to other PHP frameworks. The pay-off, however, is worth it especially when you understand the components that make this PHP framework customizable and flexible.
Symfony is the best PHP framework to use with large-scale enterprises. It can easily be integrated with several Content Management Systems (CMS). Plus, it allows for integration with other vendor libraries. Examples of sites that use Symfony include Spotify, Trivago, and Dailymotion.
Similar to Laravel, Symfony has a large developer community that provides learning materials, blog posts, and forum discussions to support each other.
CodeIgniter is a beginner-friendly PHP framework that’s known for its speed, light footprint (it’s only 1.2MB), easy installation, and configuration. It’s ideal for lightweight applications on modest servers, as well as scalable apps. It has top-notch error handling, built-in security tools, and excellent documentation.
While most PHP frameworks employ the model-view-controller (MVC) architecture, CodeIgniter doesn’t require it, so you can code on non-MVC applications, as well. This makes it more flexible, though it has an added risk of instability. Sites that use CodeIgniter include Remitly and Sprout Social.
One of the best features of CakePHP is its ability to test critical points of your application through core and custom-made tests.
Yii 2 is one of the fastest PHP frameworks since it supports four types of caching (data caching, fragment caching, page caching, and HTTP caching). You can get it running within minutes because of its easy installation process, though it’s more tailored to experienced developers than novice ones.
Yii 2 is highly customizable, allowing developers to avoid complex SQL (structured query language) statements and customize almost every piece of the code. It also has strong security features, making it suitable for secure sites like e-commerce platforms. Deloitte, Lenovo, and Utrip are examples of sites that use Yii 2 as their PHP framework.
Slim is a stripped-down PHP micro-framework. This means that it has fewer features than its full-stack counterparts, but it is very fast; it’s suitable for small but powerful web apps and APIs. You can develop sites with just a single line of code and it is capable of handling multiple requests per second.
Slim includes features like routing, cookie encryption, middleware, advanced request handling, and client-side HTTP caching. Other tools can easily be installed since Slim integrates with both first- and third-party components.
The PHP framework acts as a foundation for sites, apps, and APIs so it’s important to choose one that you (or your developer) can comfortably work with and build on in the long run. Before deciding on which one to choose, you must also be knowledgeable on the basics of PHP, as well as the functionalities of the PHP framework that you plan to employ.