PHP is the most popular programming language for back-end development. One of the reasons why PHP has retained its position as the main management language is its advanced frameworks. PHP frameworks are web-oriented, which means that they help all types of developers to create web applications more productively.
In other words, they provide a foundation that can easily be customized to suit any type of requirement or need.
In addition, PHP frameworks such as Laravel , CodeIgniter and Symfony are available to facilitate web development, improve scalability (adapting to the growth of your application), guarantee stability and security, and avoid code repetition.
What is a PHP Framework?
Before exploring the different PHP frameworks, it is important to define what a PHP framework is and how they benefit web development or other areas of programming.
Each programming language is limited to a certain number of functions or features. To carry out these actions, you have to write code, find errors, and check if it meets the desired results. But what is a framework? A framework is a shortcut , the code provided by someone else is used. Therefore, instead of having to write code manually, we take resources from the framework.
PHP frameworks are prescribed collections of code that you can use in your project. They are often the foundation for applications. The developers improve the features themselves, giving the project a unique look.
Since there are hundreds of PHP libraries to choose from, we have decided to show you a TOP 6 of the best PHP frameworks.
Without a doubt, Laravel is the most popular library of PHP frameworks. Laravel was ranked 10th most popular web framework in 2022 . Despite the fact that this framework was created in 2011, it quickly managed to achieve success.
Laravel is an open source PHP framework , capable of assisting in the production of both small and large PHP projects. It is praised above all for following the MVC Architecture (Model View Controller) , which allows the application to be separated into parts , in order to avoid confusion.
This way of organizing elements is similar to separating HTML from CSS , keeping your code from looking cluttered and harder to follow.
Most PHP frameworks have adopted the MVC architecture, this type of architecture divides the applications into parts called Model , View and Controller :
- Model . It is the data layer made up of all the ( worth the redundancy ) DATA that your application controls. Its function is to retrieve information from a database, put it into data objects, and transfer them to the destination. Basically, it secures all your data, processes it and transfers it.
- Controller . It is the place where the application communicates with its users. The normal thing is that the CONTROLLER accepts the requests of the interface and sends the data to the MODEL . The model processes the data and returns it to the controller. Then, transfer the results to VIEW .
- View . It is the part of the website that finally presents the data to the user after selecting and organizing the information.
Due to the convenient arrangement of the data, many programmers choose to create programs based on the MVC Architecture. Since creating these types of websites can be complex, PHP frameworks provide essential elements to get you started .
Advantages of using Laravel
Going back to the PHP Laravel framework, here is a list of features and benefits:
- Laravel offers templates that developers can use as the basis for their website. These templates can be customized according to the needs of each PHP programmer.
- An important feature of the PHP Laravel framework is that it helps to create secure websites . For example, avoid SQL Injection for users using Fluent Query Builder or Eloquent. SQL Injections are one of the oldest and most dangerous attacks on the web. This type of attack provides access to confidential information which can be stolen, changed , or even give hackers the opportunity to access operating systems through the database. Therefore, it is good that Laravel offers protection against SQL Injections.
- Eloquent improves the way developers manage logs on their servers . Automatically transforms the columns of the tables into properties of PHP classes. Therefore, it allows updating, deleting and adding new data to the database without using SQL.
- Artisan helps developers manage repetitive tasks . Facilitates database writing and takes care of migration . In this way, developers can manage their systems more efficiently.
- Typically, developers need to perform SQL queries to create structures. Instead, Laravel uses migration. It is similar to Git or other project management systems that allow you to go back to previous versions of it.
- Laravel gives you the opportunity to secure your website through an authentication system . This feature greatly speeds up the process as Laravel establishes single line authentication whereas pure PHP code would take more lines of code (and work).
Ultimately, it shouldn’t surprise you that Laravel is more popular and even considered one of the best PHP frameworks . It secures websites, facilitates information management , improves scalability , allows reverting to previous versions of the project, and makes Back-End development more pleasant.
CodeIgniter is a PHP framework with MVC architecture, very popular among programmers, due to its ability to guarantee better performance thanks to a lower volume of code.
It offers fewer features than Laravel. For example, CodeIgniter does not offer built-in debugging or authentication tools . Therefore, developers have to write the code manually.
Sometimes offering fewer features makes it easier to use these libraries especially for beginners . Exploring more comprehensive PHP frameworks can take time, but you will have access to a wide variety of prescribed code for your projects. As a result, you won’t have to write as much code.
Why choose CodeIgniter?
However, we are not claiming that CodeIgniter is not a solid option. Here is a list of features and benefits:
- Helps build web applications that stand out for their performance . CodeIgniter reaches incredible speeds because it only needs small libraries to run its main system.
- The high performance of CodeIgniter is related to its structure. It does NOT require developers to use a templating engine ( a way to insert HTML code ). Since PHP has a built-in code insert feature, CodeIgniter considers the use of additional parsers unnecessary.
- This PHP framework follows the MVC Architecture , allowing you to separate the different parts of your website for better management.
- CodeIgniter offers detailed documentation , which allows all beginners to learn from official and reliable sources.
- CodeIgniter ensures that URLs are shorter and more SEO friendly . The term “Routing” refers to the way URLs are set to open a specific page. If a URL doesn’t have a path, it leads to a 404 (not found) error.
- If you find yourself wanting more, CodeIgniter can enhance its capabilities through additional plugins .
- CodeIgniter has a filter called ” Cross-Site Scripting ” that helps prevent cross-site request forgery (CSRF). These types of attacks occur when hackers exploit information on websites that users have already authenticated.
The PHP Symfony framework provides prescribed code for every PHP programmer. It is very useful for large-scale projects . However, Symfony is primarily intended for people with more programming experience.
- Symfony might NOT be the best option for beginners.
- This is one of the best PHP framework for large-scale projects .
- Symfony offers an easy way to localize websites and translate interfaces . Therefore, your web application is very responsive as you will be able to offer, say, English and French versions of your website.
- Symfony offers an SEO friendly Routing system .
- Symfony is compatible with the so-called ” Feature of Bundles ” (similar to plugins), these contain reusable code in multiple projects. For example, if you are developing an e-commerce website, you will avoid writing the same code for the next e-commerce project.
- Symfony is based on the MVC Architecture and allows developers to divide their web applications into sections for better management.
An important tip is to make sure your application uses PHP 7 . This conversion can increase the speed of your application by 50%. You should follow this advice for all the frameworks mentioned, as PHP 7 introduced many significant improvements, including speed improvement.
Zend is an open source PHP framework based on the MVC Architecture . It will help you create a basic structure for your web application.
The framework is a bit more difficult to learn compared to Laravel. Therefore, Zend is not that popular as developers have to put more effort to use it properly. Due to its complexity, Zend may not always offer the best performance, yet developers rate it as one of the fastest PHP frameworks.
Zend has been responsible for creating a wide variety of PHP applications ranging from e-commerce platforms to healthcare systems and entertainment portals. These are the main features of Zend:
- Fully object-oriented . Therefore, follow the basics of object-oriented programming, such as ” inheritance ” and ” interfacing .” This feature increases code reuse and makes web development faster.
- New code snippets should be checked with specific unit tests (using PHPUnit ).
- Zend offers a wide variety of components , from classes to objects, that are used to implement specific features in your web application.
- It allows code reuse , since you can make a module inherit properties from other modules and pass the same methods and attributes.
In 2022, it was announced that Zend will become an open source project of the Linux Foundation . The project will be renamed Laminas .
FuelPHP is an open source library introduced in 2011. The creators want it to be community driven , which means that basically anyone can become a contributor . Anyone can report bugs or even fix them.
This PHP framework follows the HMVC model , similar to the MVC model.
The model prevents the view from directly accessing the data through an additional authorization step . Additionally, HMVC provides an easier way to display the same content on multiple pages. This feature results in less memory usage . One of the most significant benefits of using HMVC is content widgetization .
The modularity is one of the biggest advantages of FuelPHP. The framework allows any PHP programmer to divide larger projects into smaller parts called modules. Even if you develop these modules individually, combining them will not be difficult. It’s easy to reuse your modules too.