Since its inception 20 years ago, PHP has grown to become the world’s most popular server side scripting language. According to one metrics site, PHP is used by 82.1% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know. The LAMP architecture is the conventional way of describing the 4 most popular open source tools for building and deploying web applications and includes Linux, Apache, MySQL, with the P often representing PHP (though also Python or Perl). The ubiquitous nature of PHP means the language is easily accessible and there are plenty of tutorials and other resources for learning it.
Building applications can be a complex and time-consuming process and frameworks can provide a great resource to facilitate the process. Fortunately, there are also no lack of great PHP frameworks out there. 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 enhance scalability and long-term maintenance so you can dedicate more time to building high-quality code. So let’s take a look at a handful of PHP frameworks, which you’ll undoubtedly keep hearing about as among the most preferred platforms of choice.
Symfony: Symfony is a PHP web application framework that follows the model-view-controller (MVC) approach to development. Since its inception in 2006 Symfony has become a very well-regarded and free (released under the MIT license) framework of choice, especially in the enterprise world.
Laravel: Laravel is probably one of the more popular PHP frameworks on the market right now, and is 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: This 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. EllisLab, the creator of CodeIgniter, announced last summer that it’s seeking a new sponsor for this tried and true framework to take to the next level.
CakePHP: 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: 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.