Top 5 PHP Frameworks for Web Development
PHP has been one of the most popular programming languages for years. Hypertext Preprocessor aka PHP has been in the spectrum since 1994 and is still in demand. Although it currently does not take a leading position but it still remains one of the most widely used programming languages for web application development.
PHP is used by 77.4% of all the websites including Facebook, Pinterest, Yahoo and Wikipedia.
Whether your web development project is too complex or you simply need a faster and more reliable web application, PHP can help you achieve all that. However, the coding complexity has significantly increased nowadays and it becomes more difficult for the developers to start the development process from scratch since coding is a time-consuming process. This is where PHP frameworks come into play.
What Is a PHP Framework?
A PHP framework is a platform for creating web applications. Generally, PHP frameworks contain libraries with pre-packaged functions and classes that help to eliminate the amount of code developers need to write from scratch. The use of PHP frameworks became a common practice as it allows to avoid routine and repetitive tasks (validation, data sanitization, and CRUD operations), speeds up time for the development, reduces the number of errors, enhances security and the overall quality of code.
Why Use a PHP Framework?
Below are a few main reasons on why to use PHP frameworks for your web development project.
Accelerated Development Time
As PHP frameworks have built-in libraries and tools, it significantly reduces the time for the development. There is no need to reinvent the wheel as the library functions and classes follow standard web development practices and are well-tested.
There are a huge number of web application vulnerabilities nowadays. Web applications are among the most popular targets of hacker attacks since they allow easy access to a larger audience. The use of a PHP framework with high quality well-tested libraries decreases the chance of hacker attacks. Good frameworks have built-in data sanitization and protect against the common vulnerabilities.
PHP Frameworks support code refactoring and foster DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) development. As a result the codebase needs less maintenance. Apart from that, PHP frameworks make the code easy to read and to understand for fellow team players so that any developer can carry on the project and proceed with the development.
What Are the Best PHP Frameworks in 2022?
There is a wide variety of PHP frameworks nowadays and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Thus it is complicated to choose those that will really suit this or that project. In this article we mention a few important aspects you need to consider before choosing a PHP framework.
Simplicity of learning and usage is one of the important aspects for a framework. While some PHP frameworks are intuitive and beginner-friendly, others have a steep learning curve.
Popularity of a framework plays an important role as well. The more the supportive community of a framework, the easier it will be to find an answer on a bottleneck. A PHP framework with a large community is more well tested and documented.
Suitability for a particular project is the right set of features a PHP framework offers. A well-featured framework can be too much for a small scope project and vice versa a poor-featured framework may be lacking the necessary aspects for a large-scale project. It all depends on the technical requirements of a specific project. However, it is important that the selected framework supports the chosen database and can be used with the web server that you will deploy to.
Let’s have a look at the popularity of some frameworks and figure out which frameworks will fit your project better.
Laravel is a relatively new yet very popular PHP framework. It was released in 2011 and quickly climbed the ladder to success, being ranked as the most popular web framework in 2022. The huge popularity of Laravel can be attributed to its ability to handle complex web apps with complete security and speed in contrast to other frameworks. It also simplifies the development process by easing common tasks like sessions, routing, queuing, and authentication.
PHP developers often favor Laravel because it has great features like object-oriented libraries and some pre-installed ones. These libraries are very easy to implement and have many advanced features like encryption, password resetting, active user check, hashing, and many more.
Laravel’s integrated project environment helps developers manage things with ease. It streamlines complex web development by offering a structured coding approach. It has a built-in tool called Artisan designed to simplify complex tasks which many developers avoid performing manually. What is more, it is easy to learn and begin with, due to the availability of extensive documentation and the abundance of online tutorials.
Symfony is the only PHP framework that precisely follows PHP and web standards. It is a mature and reliable open-source PHP framework with MVC architecture designed to build high-performing complex web applications. Due to its modular-based architecture, Symfony is a great option for building highly-scalable applications.
Like other PHP frameworks, Symfony supports model-view-controller (MVC) architecture which allows for simplifying and accelerating the development of large web applications by keeping the business logic and layers of presentation separate. Its MVC architecture also enables developers to add new functionality without putting extra effort and time.
In addition to being open-source, Symfony is easy to use. It can be installed and configured on multiple platforms with ease. Additionally, due to its flexible nature, Symfony can be tailored to specific needs. At the same time, due to its database engine-independent nature, developers can choose from the commonly used databases according to the size and requirements of the project.
You can also read our unbiased comparison of Symfony vs. Laravel to decide which framework might suit you better for your project.
Yii — which stands for Yes, it is! — is a universal object-oriented, component-based framework for developing all kinds of web applications. It is easy to set up and offers a robust set of security features, which allows creating highly secure e-commerce applications, content management systems, forums, portals, and many others.
Yii is so popular because of its ability to deliver speed and performance as well as for enabling developers to obviate the need for writing repetitive SQL statements, as they can model the database data in terms of objects. In addition to that, it is extremely extensible, allowing developers to customize or replace almost every piece of the core’s code. Last but not least, Yii has a large community of developers. With strong community support, developers can post issues on forums and get help.
We have also compared Laravel and Yii for you to better understand which one to opt for.
CakePHP has had both ups and downs but after the release of version 3.7, the framework managed to strengthen its positions.
CakePHP simplifies the development of complex large-scale applications and helps to build websites with visually-impressive features. It allows creating code parts that can be reused for many other projects and provides many plugin helpers and components, thus saving developers’ effort of writing everything on their own. Moreover, since it is based on the concept of CRUD (create, read, update, and delete), CakePHP is easy to learn. This is extremely helpful as you can see a preliminary view of your application with a single line of code.
Being based on the MVC, CakePHP allows saving any query to the database. If any changes are needed in the database, developers can insert, delete, and modify the models according to project requirements. The models collaborate the data with the logic and save it in the database. With this pattern, it is very easy to separate the logic from the presentation, which is very useful for large applications and sites.
CodeIgnitor has been a prominent PHP framework for over 14 years and has still not lost its importance. This open-source PHP framework provides a rich set of functionalities to its developers and users. It comes with excellent data classification and thus provides for better web project management implementation since the data falls under distinct file organization patterns. Another great benefit of using CodeIgniter is that it allows for faster web development. It doesn’t require developers to use 3rd party libraries at all times.
CodeIgniter contains many in-built security tools to give developers the choice of how they want to protect their apps. What is more, the framework enables developers to quickly and smoothly handle errors. All they need to do is to type a code line to get the mistakes displayed.
CodeIgniter is reliable, lightweight, and simple in use. Also, it is easier to understand as compared with other frameworks. Developers can easily change its features and modify the database in different ways, for example, by adding and removing columns from tables through the database.
Summing up: Which PHP Framework Is Right for You?
PHP frameworks can considerably simplify the development process and reduce the workload. However, all frameworks are unique and offer different, yet amazing features. As such, the decision on the framework to choose should depend on various factors such as simplicity, security, scalability, ease of use, and many more. So, our suggestion is to start by outlining the requirements of your project and then choose the most suitable PHP framework.
If you need help with analyzing the business requirements of your project and selecting an appropriate tech stack, you can turn to our expert team. Our experienced architects and developers will examine your business case and provide you with the best fitting solution.