PHP, a recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is a server-side scripting language especially suited for web development. Contrary to most common beliefs, PHP is not a dead language. In fact, PHP is one of the top server-side programming languages in December 2018. For web developers or for anyone planning to start a PHP project, one important thing to consider is choosing the best PHP MVC framework.
But why do you need a framework?
A framework is generally a basic conceptual structure. It can be related to ideas or a structural frame. In web development, a framework is a basic platform where web applications, web services, and websites are developed. Web development frameworks are very useful. They save loads of time for developers since these reduce the production of repetitive codes.
Over the years, the latest technologies in PHP were conceived from the minds of skilled developers and its innovation doesn’t seem to stop any time soon. For 2019, we created a list of the top PHP frameworks for the innovative modern web developers in no particular order.
Top PHP Framework List for 2019
A popular framework introduced in 2011 falls in our PHP MVC framework list, Laravel. The framework’s main goal is to take the drag from development to make it more fun and enjoyable for developers. Laravel’s philosophy suits very well mostly among millennial web developers gaining a wide community. Laravel achieved this output by easing common tasks like authentication, routing, sessions, and caching. It is pleasing even without sacrificing functionality, making it very suitable for beginners of PHP.
- Rapid application development (RAD)
- Simple and elegant syntax
- Appealing templates without increasing loading time
- Vast community and comprehensive tutorials for beginners
CodeIgniter is considered one of the oldest PHP framework, a brainchild of Rick Ellis in 2006. Being a classic doesn’t imply that this framework is outdated; it only means that CodeIgniter has gone through a lot of trials, errors, and updates that made it more mature and reliable as a PHP MVC framework. Codeigniter is well documented and supported by a vast community which makes a great advantage for web developers for technical support. The framework’s main strength lies on its speed that competes with the other recent frameworks.
- Fast even with database tasks
- Built-in features and components
Launched in 2005, Symfony can also be considered as a sophisticated web development platform. Similar to CodeIgniter, its years in the industry garnered a wide range of community for as well as a lot of updates and upgrades to better help web developers. Since Symfony has had a head start from the other frameworks, it has established quite a reputation among web developers with mature, solid features and a large active following. However, its advanced features would make a difficult learning curve for novice developers.
- Perfectly suitable for long-scale enterprise projects
- Easy to install and configure
- Reusable PHP components and codes
Implemented using 100% object-oriented concept with features like inheritance and interfaces. Its wide range of features includes drag-and-drop editor, cryptographic coding tools, and instant online debugging tools among the many others. The only detrimental side of Zend Framework is its complex components making it one of the most difficult PHP framework in the list.
- Preferred framework for large IT department and banks
CakePHP was said to be one of the easiest frameworks to learn. The creators of this easy and reliable framework managed to develop the CRUD concept which means create, read, update, and delete. Already a decade old but is still one of the most popular PHP frameworks, CakePHP helps developers create visually impressive feature-loaded websites.
- Best used for commercial applications
- Built-in fast and flexible templating feature
Modular, extendable, and flexible, FuelPHP is a full-stack PHP framework launched in 2011. This framework does only support MVC but as well as its update, HMVC (Hierarchical model-view-controller).
Unlike other frameworks, FuelPHP gives great importance in security. They created a secure and stable framework that can keep VSS and CSRF attacks away. Its command line is also commendable. The framework’s team has developed a utility called OIL that can help speed up development, increase efficiency, and assist in testing and debugging. Even though FuelPHP was created to be a powerful tool for web developers, it is also designed to be lightweight. Paired with its own authentication framework and good documentation, it’s no wonder that FuelPHP is making its way up with the other PHP frameworks.
- Focused on security
- Incredibly lightweight
- Helps deliver end-to-end web solutions
Another exceptional framework has graced the PHP framework list in the form of Yii. Pronounced as “yee,” this term means simple and evolutionary in Chinese. True to its Chinese semantic meaning, Yii is created to be simple, fast, and reliable. It is based in the DRY (Don’t repeat yourself) concept to help agile development for web developers.
- Works well with large-scale website development because it can be integrated with AJAX and JQuery features
- Perfect for all kinds of web apps
- Robust security feature making it suitable for e-commerce projects, portals, CMS, forums, and many more
Popular micro-framework that helps developers quickly create simple but powerful web applications and APIs.
- Easy to learn
- URL solution, session, and cookie encryption, client-side HTTP caching
- Active maintenance and friendly documentation
Another unique PHP framework that is part of our top 10 list for 2019 is none other than Phalcon. Unlike the other frameworks, Phalcon is based on C and C++ coding style. Since it was launched as a C-extension, there won’t a need for web developers to learn about C language. Looking for a fast website? Phalcon may be perfect for you. Though it is full of good features, Phalcon is mostly flawed on patching bugs.
- Increased execution, speed, asset management, universal autoloader, translation, caching, security, and much more.
- Optimize performance through its efficient memory utilization
Introduced in 2012 and, similar to FuelPHP, PHPixie implements HMVC design platform. One of the latest frameworks in PHP, this relatively new framework is still gaining popularity and community support. Even then, it is still said to be reliable for web developers.
- Well-suited for social networking websites, customized web applications, and web application development services
- Standard ORM, input validation, authorization capabilities, authentication, and caching
How to choose the best framework?
There a few things to consider in choosing a PHP MVC framework. Primarily, make sure that the database server supports database type, the framework should have community support. It doesn’t matter that the community is not popular or very large, a small community would suffice as long as support is available. Don’t choose a framework with no documentation and user guide; rather than being an asset, it will only give you more burden. Most importantly, the framework should use the MVC model or Model-View-Controller architecture.
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