PHP’s development history dates back to 1994, when Rasmus Lerdorf was still working on his scripting language which was meant for effortless web development. That was almost three decades ago and PHP stood for Personal Home Page before converting into its recursive initialism of Hypertext Preprocessor. After 28 years, PHP stands as one of the oldest scripting languages, has grown in its size, functionalities and has an enlarged community base.
According to the reports of W3CTech, PHP powers 77.6% of websites which use server-side programming language. PHP’s popularity among developers is because of its rich, open-source libraries, versatility, adaptability and improvised codebase. Over the years, pro developers have crafted several robust PHP-based frameworks which have facilitated development of rapid and feature-rich web apps and have catered to the diversified needs of the virtual world.
However, with the rising fame of PHP frameworks, the rivalry has grown too. Currently, there is an ongoing war among the PHP frameworks to make it to the top, and though each framework marvels with its own unique set of features, there are a few names which are outshining their counterparts. Let’s have a look at the best PHP frameworks which currently enjoy the superlative positions in the competition.
List of Best PHP Frameworks for web development
Topping the chart is Laravel which proudly calls itself as ‘the framework for web artisans’. Its steady growth suggests that it indeed is getting popular among developers. A report published on Jet Brains stated that in 2020, Laravel’s popularity showed a 17% growth. It shot from 50 to 67. With more than 64K stars on Github, Laravel is getting all the attention.
It is an open-source framework and offers an extensive ecosystem of first party packages along with massive documentation.
Other notable features offered by Laravel are:
- Laravel is very popular all over the world
- Database seeding and automatic pagination
- Many ways to build REST API
- Eloquent ORM and Blade Templating Engine
- Unit Testing and form request
- Secured session-based authentication
- Built-in debug console with call stack function
- There are lots of of docs on any topic
- DataBase Migration for simplified deployment of applications
- Caching and Scaffolding
Laravel’s reputation can be estimated by the list of elite websites that are making the most out of it. Some of the big names are New York Times, Barchart, Warner Brothers, Alison and Alpha Coders.
While Laravel is known for its simplicity, Symfony is known for its reusability. This PHP web framework comes with its own set of stand-alone reusable PHP which are used for building web applications and APIs. It offers rich documentation, extensive support for multiple database systems and efficient third-party packages which make it appealing to the developers. Other enticing features of Symfony are:
- Highly configurable and customizable features
- Facility for full-stack customization for development of complex web apps
- A unit testing framework called PHPUnit
- A templating engine called Twig
- Large community of developers
- A dependency injector
- Detailed and clear documentation
- Native support of Codeception allows writing functional and acceptance tests
- An email library called Swift Mailer
Some popular names that harness the powerful features of Symfony are Spotify, Practo, Vogue and BlaBlaCar.
Lightweight, exceptionally fast, easy configuration and of course, open-sourced – CodeIgniter is an absolute favourite of developers for developing rapid web applications. Its official site proudly states that CodeIgniter is ‘the small framework with powerful features’. It is merely 1.2 MB in size with an additional 6 MB needed for the user guide. It offers neat documentation, simple yet powerful toolkit and strong community support.
- Some of its exclusive features are mentioned below:
- Support for encryption and pagination
- Availability of file uploading class
- Easy debugging and error handling
- In-built class for sending emails
- Clear and extensive documentation to understand things without difficulty
- Iterator and Timer to benchmark PHP app
- Cross-Site Scripting filter to prevent Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
- The noted sites which use CodeIgniter are Grindr, Accenture, Ola, Amplify and Buffer.
Laminas Project, earlier known as Zend Framework, is another robust, open-source and object-oriented PHP-based framework with enterprise-ready features. Because it is object-oriented, it enlists features like Inheritance and interfacing which facilitate code reusability. Moreover, its diligence enables developers to use it for a wide variety of applications ranging from the simplest blogging platforms to complex portals.
Its notable features include:
- Session management, form validation and caching
- Flexible MVC structure for development of scalable applications
- Support for multiple database systems including Oracle, IBMDB2, MS SQL and MariaDB
- PSR 3 compliance and support for filter and format
- Laminas-math for generation of cryptographic numbers
- Mezzio to help developers build PHP middleware
- Some prominent websites that are powered by the tools of Laminas are AutoTrack, BNP Paribas, BBC, Offers.com and Villery & Boch.
CakePHP is the PHP framework that’s been built with incorporation of the most popular software engineering conventions which include association data mapping, convention over configuration and front controller. It has also some pretty useful ready-to-go-features which include database APIs, authentication, caching and internationalization.
It requires minimal configuration and enables quicker development of prototypes because of scaffolding features. Its latest version comes with a new fixture system, a TestSuite and JSON log formatting. Listed below are some more classic features of It:
- Routing, reverse routing and automatic pagination
- Query Builder, Form Builder and Validator
- It can Bake for automatic generation of boilerplate code and app skeletons
- Eloquent ORM with classes for factor tables loading construction behaviour objects
- View Cells which offer mini-controllers for invoking render templates
- Built-in security tools for protection against CSRF, Form tampering and for prevention of SQL injection
Some big brands that have incorporated this framework for web development are Billabong, BMW, MIT, Hyundai and Calzedonia.
Andres Gutierrez and collaborators are the founders of Phalcon PHP Framework. It is an open-source Framework. Phalcon is implemented as a web server extension written in C and PHP. Helps in boosting execution speed, handle more HTTP requests per second compared to other frameworks.
- the fastest framework for PHP.
- Used full stack open source framework.
- Know for creating independent framework.
- It requires less amount of code for specific task implementation.
- It provides ORM (Object Relational Mapping), templating engine, routing, caching etc.
- Itis a loosely coupled framework, user can build a project with a directory structure as per the application requirement.
- Doesn’t require many file operations
- Doesn’t consume many resources
- All processes are fast, as the framework has direct access to the PHP internal structures
The five names described here are already among the favourite PHP frameworks in the list of developers. Some other PHP-based frameworks that are gaining fame are Yii, PHPixie, Phalcon, and Ubiquity. So if PHP is your preferred language for web development, Whereas, you have plenty of options to choose from. But how do you pick the best one for your project?
In this case, one needs to understand the basic requirements of the development and proceed accordingly. For example, if you’re looking for an elaborated CMS-based blog, then you can go ahead with Laravel and hire a PHP Laravel developer for the same. But if you want a fast, light, simple and secure web app, then CodeIgniter is a better option.
You can also look at the websites that employ the PHP framework Which You’re opting for, compare their interfaces, functionalities and then take the final decision.