Development

Discussing PHP Frameworks: What, When, Why and Which?

July 26th, 2009

What is a PHP Framework?

PHP is the world’s most popular scripting language for many different reasons – flexibility, ease-of-use, among others – but often times coding in PHP, or any language for that matter, can get rather monotonous and repetitive. That’s where a PHP framework can help.

PHP frameworks streamline the the development of web applications written in PHP by providing a basic structure for which to build the web applications. In other words, PHP frameworks help to promote rapid application development (RAD), which saves you time, helps build more stable applications, and reduces the amount of repetitive coding for developers. Frameworks can also help beginners to build more stable apps by ensuring proper database interaction and coding on the presentation layer. This allows you to spend more time creating the actual web application, instead of spending time writing repetitive code.

The general idea behind the workings of a PHP framework is referred to as Model View Controller (MVC). MVC is an architectural pattern in programming that isolates business logic from the UI, allowing one to be modified separately from the other (also known as separation of concerns). With MVC, Model refers to data, View refers to the presentation layer, and Controller to the application or business logic. Basically, MVC breaks up the development process of an application, so you can work on individual elements while others are unaffected. Essentially, this makes coding in PHP faster and less complicated.

Why Should we use a PHP Framework?

Developers should utilize PHP frameworks for various reasons, but the number one reason is for speeding up the development process. Reusing code across similar projects will save the developer a substantial amount of time and effort. A framework offers pre-built modules for performing tedious coding tasks, so the developer can spend their time on developing the actual application rather than re-building the foundation with each and every project.

Stability is another big reason developers are utilizing frameworks. While simplicity is one of PHP’s greatest assets, and the reason many people prefer to use this scripting language, it can also be one of its biggest downfalls. It’s fairly easy, especially for beginners, to write bad code and not even realize it. With PHP the application will often times still work, but unknowingly you may have opened up a large security hole in your coding that may be susceptible to attacks. It’s important to remember that PHP is a very forgiving language, so it’s even more important to make sure to tie up any loose ends in your coding – even if the application seems to be working properly.

Finally, the availability of PHP frameworks is extensive, and there are many different frameworks to choose from. You can even create your own, although many developers elect to choose from any of the most well-known frameworks due to their popularity, large support teams, and their forums/communities that allow you to interact with other developers who utilize the same framework. As a side note, you should always examine your project to first decide if you should even use a framework or not. Some questions you should ask yourself are: Will it save you, and anyone else who may use it, time and effort? Will the app perform better? Will it improve stability? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, a PHP framework may be the right answer for that particular project.

When to use a PHP Framework?

This is a common question amongst experienced and beginner developers alike, and there’s really no direct answer to the question. For many beginners, a framework will offer greater simplicity as well stability, so it may be a good idea to use PHP frameworks whenever possible. It will help reduce or eliminate bad coding and speed up the build process.

On the other hand, many experienced PHP programmers see frameworks as tools for “weak” programmers that don’t understand how to write good, clean code. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, but the fact of the matter is that PHP frameworks are a tool that can be used to save time and tighten up one’s coding.

When working on a project with tight deadlines, utilizing a PHP framework is a huge benefit that can greatly speed up the coding process. So if you’re in a time crunch, PHP frameworks can be very beneficial to you. Another instance when PHP frameworks should be a consideration is when you’re working on projects with substantial amounts of monotonous coding, because it will help make the job much less tedious.

What to Look for in a PHP Framework?

There’s plenty of options available to anyone who may be searching for PHP frameworks, and there’s even the option of creating your own, although that’s only recommended for PHP experts. When searching for the the PHP framework best suited for your needs, it’s important to keep in mind who will be using and/or modifying your applications from top to bottom. If there are many people who will be using the application, it may be best use a popular PHP framework that many developers are familiar with. On the other hand, if you wish to build web applications for your own personal use, you are better off choosing any PHP framework that you’re comfortable with – whether it’s popular amongst the developer community or not.

Various factors to search for in a PHP framework include: easy of use, rapid development/performance, popularity amongst other developers, strong features, and support/forums. It’s recommended to try out several PHP frameworks when you’re first starting out in order to find one that suits your needs the best. All frameworks are slightly different and have varying strengths and weaknesses, for instance Zend Framework has been around since V3 and is full of features plus has an extensive support system in place since it has been around for so long. On the contrary, CakePHP is another PHP framework which is younger than Zend Framework and has slightly less of a support system in place (although support for this framework is growing rapidly), but is much more user-friendly and easy to use.

As you can see, each type of PHP framework has its own advantages, so it’s best to use a bit of trial and error to figure out which one will work the best for your needs. Another excellent way of choosing a framework is to consult your colleagues in the development community to see which ones they prefer. Those who have actually used a specific framework will be able to inform you of the ease-of-use, features, support availability, scope of the community surrounding the framework, and possible shortfalls.

Most Common Mistakes When Using a PHP Framework

Mistakes are possible in any type of programming, but PHP frameworks help to limit these mistakes greatly by providing good quality code that is tried and true from the start of the development process. Repetitive coding seems to promote mistakes now and then, and frameworks all but eliminate that problem.

That being said, there are still things to be careful of when utilizing any PHP framework. For instance, unless you are an expert in PHP programming, you should always opt for using a popular framework with plenty of support and an active user base (see below for examples of popular PHP frameworks). There are many frameworks out there that have little or no support, and/or they were created by individuals with limited knowledge of PHP. These types of frameworks can cause your applications to not function properly, and worse case scenario, could cause catastrophic security issues with your website.

Another somewhat common mistake is not ensuring your database and web server is compatible with the particular framework. For example, Seagull PHP Framework recommends the following configuration:

  • PHP: PHP 4.3.0 is the minimum, later versions work fine, as do versions PHP 5.1.1 and above. Avoid anything in the 5.0.x series
  • MySQL: MySQL 4.0.x, 4.1.x and 5.0.x are all supported. You can also use 3.23.x.
  • Apache: Seagull works fine with 1.3.x and 2.x series of Apache

If you don’t meet these requirements, you won’t be observing the best performance possible from your chosen framework. Even if you are an expert in PHP, you should always go over the documentation of the framework to confirm compatibility before trying it out.

Similar to the previously mentioned common mistake, not following the recommended installation process of your PHP framework can also give you some headaches. Take Seagull as an example again – the Seagull wiki has a detailed rundown of the framework’s installation process that has several key steps that are sometimes easily overlooked by careless or unsuspecting developers. The key is to take your time setting up the framework and follow the installation instructions to the “T” – The time you’ll save actually developing applications later will more than make up for the few extra minutes spent installing the framework correctly the first time.

What are the Best PHP Frameworks Available?

Within the past few years as PHP has evolved as the scripting language of choice by most developers, there have been an explosion of PHP frameworks to hit the scene. There is a great debate about what the best PHP frameworks are, because the simple fact is that not every framework is built for everyone. Here’s a quick rundown of five of the best and most popular choices right now:

The Zend Framework

PHP Frameworks Post Image

The Zend Framework has a massive following amongst the development community and is focused on web 2.0 style applications. Because of their massive following, extensive support and active user base, Zend is referred to as “The PHP Company”. Zend is one of, if not, the most popular PHP frameworks available today. It has robust features that are built for corporate-level development, and it requires an extensive knowledge of PHP.

CakePHP

PHP Frameworks Post Image

CakePHP is a great choice for beginners to advanced PHP developers. It’s based on the same principles that Ruby on Rails is designed around, and it’s heavily focused on rapid development – making it a great framework to be used for rapid application development. Its rapidly growing support system, simplicity, and scalability make CakePHP one of the most popular PHP frameworks available today.

Symfony

PHP Frameworks Post Image

Symfony is aimed more at advanced developers who’s main objective is to create enterprise-level applications – most notably Askeet and Yahoo! Bookmarks. This open source PHP framework is full of features and can do it all, but it’s main downfall is that it is a bit slower than other frameworks.

Codelgniter

PHP Frameworks Post Image

Codelgniter is well-known for its ease-of-use, performance and speed. Unlike Symfony, this PHP framework is ideal for shared hosting accounts or for when you want a framework with a small footprint. It offers simple solutions, and has an extensive library of video tutorials, forums, a user guide and wiki available for support. Beginners should consider using Codelgniter.

Seagull

PHP Frameworks Post Image

Seagull is a well-established PHP framework used for building web, command line and GUI apps. It is an extremely easy to use framework that is ideal for beginners to advanced coders. For beginners, Seagull features a library of sample applications that can be customized to fit your needs, and for experts, Seagull offers a host of options – including best practices, standards, and modular codebase – for building web applications quickly and easily. Seagull has an active developer community and plenty of support documentation in place as well.

Summary

PHP frameworks are a great way for developers of all skill levels to reduce the need for repetitive coding, speed up the development process, and to ensure proper coding when creating web applications. This not only speeds up the development of rich applications, but it also tightens up PHP security by reducing the risk of security holes in your coding.

While some expert PHP coders do not feel the need to use frameworks to develop web apps, they can still be an advantage in situations where rapid development is necessary, such as under tight deadlines. And for beginner to intermediate developers, frameworks can enhance the PHP learning process while promoting good coding practices and reducing bad coding, which is common in PHP due to its “forgiving” nature.

There are many PHP frameworks available today, and thus developers are sure to find a framework that fits there needs in terms of features, support, speed, scalability and more. Some of the top PHP frameworks used by developers today include: The Zend Framework, CakePHP, Symfony, Codelgniter, and Seagull.

Author: Joel Reyes

Joel Reyes Has been designing and coding web sites for several years, this has lead him to be the creative mind behind Looney Designer a design resource and portfolio site that revolves around web and graphic design.

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Win
Guest
Win
7 years 2 months ago

I use KohanaPHP.

EllisGL
Guest
EllisGL
7 years 2 months ago

Same here!

Matt
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Me too. Version 3.0 is on the horizon – looks promising.

Alex R
Guest
Alex R
7 years 2 months ago

Me too.

Calle Kabo
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Check!

AbotherFlava
Guest
AbotherFlava
7 years 2 months ago

Kohana code changes wayyyyyyyyyy to much it would be a great framework if the people there would get things organized…

Pablo
Guest
Pablo
7 years 2 months ago

+1 for Kohana. Originally a fork of CodeIgniter so it’s lean, mean and incredibly fast unlike the other bloated frameworks. It’s also based on PHP v5. Real PHP programmers love it, newbies find it very difficult though and will probably end up with CakePHP instead.

abhi..
Guest
abhi..
7 years 1 month ago

I am using “KOHANAPHP” too after “CODEIGNITER” for its php 5.X support.

David
Guest
David
7 years 1 month ago

I disagree that it’s ‘very difficult’. The framework itself just ‘makes sense’. Documentation can be a little sparse in places (I’m looking at you, ORM!) however with a little bit of patience, the pay-off is well worth it.

.. and I’m writing up some ORM tutorials to ease the path for others!

ReaderX
Guest
ReaderX
6 years 5 months ago

If the documentation is sparse, someone should be filling in the gaps since it’s an open source project. I’m looking at you, Complaining David!

Danilo
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

+1

Ummmmm
Guest
Ummmmm
5 years 11 months ago

David clearly said he was writing tutorials. One merely need reread his post to see that.

Kemo
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Another Kohana fan :)

morrisen
Guest
morrisen
3 years 7 months ago

I better use CodeIgniter because simple and fast .. not difficulty like zend framwork

Rob Searles
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I’m a Kohana PHP user too, surprised it wasn’t mentioned in this post

Kiall
Guest
Kiall
7 years 1 month ago

another KohanaPHP user!

saranraj
Guest
6 years 2 months ago

I also kohanaphp.. I am using kohanaphp from last two years….. its very simple and sample than other php frameworks….

alex
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Make that another happy Kohana user!

Pablo
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I’m learning Kohana right now. It’s a great framework and 100% compliance with PHP5.

David
Guest
David
7 years 1 month ago

Another vote for Kohana – quite simply the easiest-to-learn framework I’ve yet discovered. It just ‘makes sense’, and takes the pain out of almost every aspect of site creation.

thiswayup
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

Me Nth as well. Code igniter without all the barriers.

superdit
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I move from CakePHP to CodeIgniter, cause cake a bit bloated,
now i found doo framework http://doophp.com and it’s say faster than codeigniter even from yii, what a confusing choice …

Angelfire
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Excellent post for begginers, I need it.

Another excellent post, could be with examples of each framework :P

Thanks so much.

Yoosuf
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Why you need samples, you can find better samples at the Official website of the respective Owners (devs)

Maarten Tibau
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Really nice read! I myself use Zend Framework, it’s not a really easy framework to start with, but once you get the hang of it, it’s just great!

Kumar Rashee
Guest
Kumar Rashee
7 years 2 months ago

I recently bump into DooPHP. And I am starting to using it as a MVC base while using Zend Framework long list of components with it since they both use the same new BSD license. Great couples!

Johnson
Guest
Johnson
7 years 2 months ago

I think it’s great using it with ZF collection of useful classes. I never like to use ZF as an app core for MVC, it’s too verbose and slow for me.

Brian Reich
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I’ve been using Zend Framework since it’s very early betas a few years back. It’s a great framework but it’s never-ending development process is both a blessing and a curse. We’re almost to version 2.0 and things are still constantly changing with core parts of the framework such as MVC.

Kumar Rashee
Guest
Kumar Rashee
7 years 1 month ago

That is why I don’t use Zend Framework MVC. I tried others like DooPHP or CI for the core and use Zend as addon features.

Page Gardens
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Useful read!

Alex Kachayev
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I usually use ZendFW in my project. But sometimes I use some classes and systems from Kohana (it has rather useful ORM).

Mark
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

IMO, the ORM in Kohana is incomplete and not the best…

chan
Guest
chan
6 years 10 months ago

It is the best

Logan
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I would recommend CodeIgniter to anyone, advanced and beginners alike.

Also avoid ORM (ActiveRecords) whenever possible, it doesn’t really help, it will just slow things down (up to 30% performance hit in some cases) and add unnecessary complexity (SQL queries are more flexible and powerful).

quyancong
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I’m using condeigniter.Can I make a friend with you ,i’m from china.

My MSN account number is ‘quyancong@hotmail.com’.

Jamie
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

I don’t think you fully understand why ORMs are useful and excellent to use with frameworks.

enache tudorel
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

i use Codeigniter too.
good tip with Activerecords. I won’t use it any more.

Tim Copeland
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

If you’re doing any form of content management within your app, the Sapphire Framework (http://www.silverstripe.org/sapphire/) is worth looking at. It sits behind the SilverStripe CMS and plays nicely with The Zend Framework.

Ummmmm
Guest
Ummmmm
5 years 11 months ago

How do we know this is true? You’re the co-founder and business dev director of the company right now. Not exactly non-partial. The comment rules do say not to spam or link drop or advertise. Why would I trust your CMS is so wonderful now?

Diego Toala
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I use Yii framework, easy to use, flexible and extensible.
http://www.yiiframework.com/

dude
Guest
dude
7 years 2 months ago

Another important thing to think about when evaluating frameworks is how tightly-coupled the individual pieces of a framework are. The more tightly-coupled the pieces are, the harder it will be to migrate away when something better comes along and/or community/support disappears. Steer clear of frameworks that force you to use a specific application structure, templating library, or ORM. Loosely-coupled, liberal frameworks such as ZF are really just collections of useful classes, but you’re not forced to use any of them.

webmasterdubai
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

i using codeigniter for the development of my project past 9 months and having no problem and issue with any of my projects, best thing in codeigniter is the community forums which help alot the starter of CI to find solutions to their problems, im also an active member of the forum.

Nobody
Guest
Nobody
7 years 2 months ago

PHP framework does not neccessarily mean MVC. That’s just the most popular model.

Oren
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I agree with the guys that talked about ORM.

Anyway, nice post, I missed some more technical comparison between the various FMs however.

A tip of advice: stay away from frameworks that does not support full OOP though they might be considered coder-friendly.
With PHP5 around, writing non-OO is a sine.

Jake
Guest
Jake
7 years 1 month ago
Why? Writing OO for the sake of writing OO is an even worse sin! Fact is you can write functional code with an object oriented approach just fine – it’s all in how you abstract and understand your application. Problem with that particular piece of advice you gave there is that people who follow it without question end up writing horrible OO code, when in fact they could have done a lot better writing functional code. The purpose must rule. All principles are ruled by the purpose. Not ever the other way around. That means only write OO if you… Read more »
Romain Ruetschi
Guest
7 years 14 days ago

Can you tell me how you can have an object-oriented approach when there is no classes and objects involved in the code ?

*Object*-oriented means what it means.

But you’re right that some people (especially the beginners) might write better functional code than OO one.

Greg
Guest
Greg
7 years 2 months ago

I use LimeVC (http://lime.louisstowasser.com). It’s an MVC framework, has support for plugins, template engine, caching and an SQL framework for dynamic queries.

Piotr Nalepa
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Hi,
thanks for the pieces of infos. I’ll try to learn CakePHP Framework. Your article made me to try it.

Matt
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I’m very surprised that you missed off KohanaPHP. I spent almost two months analysing and researching stable PHP frameworks that were available at the time. In all the tests that i found, KohanaPHP came out top in terms of performance. They have a great community and because it’s based on CodeIgnitor (in fact it was originally a fork of CI), it comes with most of the benefits of CI.

Ian
Guest
Ian
7 years 2 months ago

Vote to KohanaPHP as well from a 5 years experienced PHP programmer.

mihai
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I’m surprised you did not mention Joomla. It was the first MVC framework I worked with, and it was delightful to use.

It has a big community of developers and follows a good set of standards.

superdit
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

are you sure joomla is a framework??

ASIF MEHMOOD
Guest
ASIF MEHMOOD
6 years 8 months ago

jhoomla is not a framework its Content management system(CMS).

Rajesh
Guest
Rajesh
7 years 2 months ago

@Mihai

FYI, Joomla is a Content Management System, not PHP framework..

Iongion
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Yes,joomla is a cms,but it also is a framework,check the homepage of joomla

JustAKid
Guest
JustAKid
7 years 1 month ago

Joomla is primarily a CMS but it definitely has a fully fledged PHP framework underlying it which you can use to extend the CMS or build other non-CMS related apps. Personally, if I’m building something highly customised from scratch, I prefer Zend Framework but almost anything is also possible with Joomla.

Vincent
Guest
Vincent
7 years 2 months ago

This article might be useful because it contains links to some popular PHP frameworks, but there is much inaccuracy in the article itself.

For example, Zend Framework has not been around since V3 (it’s focused on pure PHP 5 support – which is also something to take into account, because CodeIgniter e.g. also tried to support PHP 4 meaning it doesn’t take as much advantage of new features), and CakePHP is older than ZF. I stopped reading about there but spotted some more inaccuracies in scanning, so I would recommend people to not attach too much value to this article.

Shahriat Hossain
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I prefer to use CodeIgniter as a beginning level and the Zend Framework for the advanced level . Actually I use both of them because CodeIgniter helps me to start with a short-time project and Zend helps with a long-time project as their no. of features needs. So you the guys can also try it out with your project types.

Kris Hardy
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

We do a similar thing with our projects. CodeIgniter gets the job done quickly for smaller projects, but we’ve developed an internal framework based off Zend Framework for our big projects.

Tison
Guest
7 years 16 days ago

Very helpful, i believe after this article, for our short term projects – we’re looking at either cake or codeigniter. I’ll keep zend in mind for long term development. Thanks @shariat

Rob Hofmeyr
Guest
Rob Hofmeyr
7 years 2 months ago
Is it just me or is this a terribly inaccurate article? Didn’t get past the third paragraph so can’t comment on the rest of it but your understanding of frameworks and MVC is seriously flawed.! The general idea behind the workings of a PHP framework is referred to as Model View Controller (MVC). This sentence makes no sense. The frameworks you’ve listed employ the MVC design pattern – it is by no means the “workings” of a framework. No one ever said a framework had to follow MVC principles. With MVC, Model refers to data, View refers to the presentation… Read more »
Sean
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Not sure which framework you’re using, but they’re not all quite like that… this article was fine.

Jake
Guest
Jake
7 years 1 month ago

I agree with you Rob. A PHP framework doesn’t have to implement the MVC pattern in order to be a framework, as the author claims. Fact is, not all PHP frameworks implement the MVC pattern. The paragraph on MVC was the weakest part of the entire post, which gave a good picture, but lacked serious research.

Burak
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

if anyone looking for easy to use and NOT an MVC framework, check flourish -the PHP unframework- (flourishlib.com)

Michel Zanini
Guest
Michel Zanini
7 years 2 months ago

I think Symfony is more than the author said. For example, it has the better documantation of all frameworks above.

Akky
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Agreed. Symfony is not slow as mentioned above. Comparing fastness by hello world is not fair to the framework for people building serious high traffic applications.

Ian
Guest
Ian
7 years 1 month ago

I Agree with this. Symfony is an amazing framework.

Duane Gran
Guest
Duane Gran
7 years 1 month ago

Good point. When I was evaluating frameworks well over a year ago the documentation advantage of symfony sealed the deal for me. While I work with other frameworks I’ve continued to be impressed by the quality of the examples in symfony.

The speed issue is something that is being addressed in Symfony 2.0, but even so most of the execution time remains in the model logic rather than the framework.

TheWorkingMan
Guest
TheWorkingMan
7 years 1 month ago

I think symfony is a very good framework next to Zend probably. I just the hope the speed issues gets resolved immediately. I am using it and loving it!

nivas
Guest
nivas
6 years 9 months ago

i agree.

Dan
Guest
6 years 2 months ago

Another thumbs up for Symfony here!

Brian
Guest
Brian
7 years 2 months ago

I use Madeam (www.madeam.com). It’s wicked lightweight, gets the job done.

hariharan
Guest
hariharan
7 years 2 months ago

I tried cakephp and it sucks in terms of developing web 2.0 applications especially when establishing through associations like Ruby on rails. Also the way it produces query pattern sucks like anything. Requesting your view of PHP on Trax. Is it alternative for RoR developers???

Pau
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

What about Akelos?

Johnson
Guest
Johnson
7 years 2 months ago

Akelos is horribly slow…

Patrick
Guest
7 years 2 months ago
Very nice review of some of the options available, this is the first time I’ve even heard about seagull. I will offer my opinion: In most cases a php framework is flat out over kill. While you have written that things like cakephp are “easy” to use and “fast” to develop with, I have an opposite opinion: I think they are heavy weight and add another level of complexity that in most cases just isn’t needed. Every client is always unique, and an experienced programmer will always end up with a leaner meaner solution when its built from the ground… Read more »
Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 2 months ago

It’s logic like this that will always keep php in the world of commodity web development.

Patrick
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I believe you have that backwards. If the majority of developers all used a small selection of frameworks you’d have a commodity. Lightweight custom code is the very opposite. All clients are unique. To approach it otherwise is to create a commodity web. While I respect your opinion, I have to disagree entirely.

NetChaos
Guest
NetChaos
7 years 2 months ago

Guys you should try Kohana, its a really interesting project.
http://kohanaphp.com

Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 2 months ago

You guys should check out Python. Django, Turbogears, Pylons, Werkzeug, Paste and CherryPy. They are all pretty solid. It’s orms like SqlAlchemy and template languages like Mako that get the big players using python.

Johannes
Guest
Johannes
7 years 2 months ago

Yii is, by far, the best PHP framework I’ve ever worked with. Check it out at http://www.yiiframework.com/ . Seriously. Do it. It’s awesome.

Rifqi
Guest
Rifqi
6 years 8 months ago

im using Yii Framework

Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 2 months ago
For those who don’t know, Kohana is a spin-off of CodeIgniter and is maintained by the open-source community (unlike CodeIgniter, which is controlled by the company that developed it–which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if like the idea of having a support team to contact). I took a good look at both frameworks and Kohana looks a little better, but I’m biased toward pure PHP5 applications (it’s time to kiss PHP4 goodbye! It’s tremendously limited compared to PHP5) For my latest project I’m using the Zend Framework, and for the most part I love it. Some things may… Read more »
Rick
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I have used both Cake and CodeIgniter, they are very similar (in my opinion) but more importantly they are very popular. This allows me outstanding documentation and I don’t have to worry about another programmer taking over, because they really should be familiar with these two.
just my two cents
Great article (as usual)

Mike Britton
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I’ve used PureMVC for PHP with success. http://trac.puremvc.org/PureMVC_PHP It’s easy to install, configure and port to other platforms. There’s a JavaScript port so you can have the same paradigm on both client and server!

Bruno Lemos
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

I need PureMVC examples.. the one given in the official website I guess is too strange/simple/dunno…

Gafitescu Daniel
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

CodeIgniter is framework of choise for me.

Tekno
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

nice article, but I’ve used this framework does not exist. I’m using Drupal framework.

Sean McCleary
Guest
7 years 2 months ago
At my job I have been using CakePHP for the past year. Having a Rails background before getting to know Cake, made it very obvious to me that Cake was trying hard to be a Rails clone. Cake and Rails have gone their separate ways, but there are still many times that it reminds me of Rails 1.1. Cake is absolutely horrible by comparison to Rails. I do not like CakePHP and I will never recommend it to anyone. Aside from being a lackluster framework, please google some benchmarks. Cake has abysmal performance. I have used Symfony and I liked… Read more »
Mariano Iglesias
Guest
7 years 2 months ago
Your post makes me realize you have no clue how to develop with CakePHP. CakePHP was *inspired* by Rails several years ago, but since then has developed its own style, focused in rapid PHP development. If you expect to see the same stuff you saw on Rails, stay with Rails. CakePHP has great performance, amongst the top of all PHP frameworks. Further yet, new versions increase the performance even further, putting it at the top of its kind. Now, if you have NO CLUE how to develop a CakePHP application, if you DONT FOLLOW best practices, you’ll probably end up… Read more »
Jon
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Nice article, however CakePHP and Codelgniter are horrible to develop with from a modular perspective. From an agency perspective Drupal has been our preferred framework and far superior IMO.

John Anderson
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

From our “agency perspective”, we’ve used CakePHP since 0.9.2, in global apps with high load, with no complaints.

Drupal isn’t even an application framework, so I’m not sure how it could be more flexible than any of the other solutions mentioned the article.

Jake
Guest
Jake
7 years 1 month ago

That’s not exactly true. Drupal is a framework more than anything else. It comes with basic CMS capabilities but Drupal itself isn’t a CMS – it is a framework people often use to build CMSes! Drupal is one of the most powerful platforms for web development, you can essentially build any web application on it and that’s why we Drupal developers love it so much. Give it a try!

Here’s a video Q&A, “what” and “why” on Drupal, featuring some of the world’s leading Drupal developers:
http://vimeo.com/5490973

Ahmed
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

im using Zend Framework

Josh Davey
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Check out http://madeam.com. Faster than any of the frameworks listed.

Jesus A. Domingo
Guest
Jesus A. Domingo
7 years 2 months ago

Another good framework that’s currently being developed is Recess. Keeping a good watch on this one and looks really interesting.

AbotherFlava
Guest
AbotherFlava
7 years 2 months ago

YUP! Recess is going shake thinks up…

Michal Vitasek
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

And what about http://nettephp.com/en/ :-)

Junni
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I’m a big fan of the Symfony Framework and have little experience in CakePHP.

Q-efx
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Man, no one take a look on yii ( http://www.yiiframework.com ) Version 1.1 will kick ass :)

Asher
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

Another one to check out is NOLOH (http://www.noloh.com). Unlike other frameworks, it allows you to develop sophisticated web sites and web applications easily and intuitively in a single language, PHP.

Steve
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I have used and love PHPonTrax great framework. Better than any the others I’ve used and I’ve tried em all.

Michael Newton
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

I believe Zend call themselves “the PHP Company” because they wrote the parser for PHP 3 and 4.

Emanuele
Guest
Emanuele
7 years 1 month ago

I use Yii Framework :) http://www.yiiframework.com

Gusep
Guest
Gusep
7 years 1 month ago

I’d like to put to your attention also Sapphire framework. Coming also with the CMS (Silverstripe). The documentation is quite good and there is also a helpful community of people around.

Werner
Guest
Werner
7 years 1 month ago

No, they didn’t wrote only the parser for PHP but contributed with several other modules to the development of PHP:

http://www.php.net/credits.php (see: Andi Gutmans, Zeev Suraski)

Arafat Rahman
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I like code igniter.

quantro
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

hm…
nice article,
i use this :
1. Codeigniter,
2. KohanaPHP,
3. Zend Framework.

I use all them (not for one application of course). it’s good if we can mix these framework.

trs21219
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

You can mix CI and Zend. Search for it on the CI forums. We do it here at work all of the time and it works beautifully. Take advantage of the Zend Libraries while using the speed of CI.

Pieter Claerhout
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I’ve done a lot of apps with the Yii framework, and I must admit that it’s one of the better frameworks. I’ve also used Zend Framework and Code Igniter, but they are definetely not in the same league as the Yii framework.

More information can be found on http://www.yiiframework.com.

Josh Highland
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I support CodeIgniter. It’s lean, its fast and doesnt require command line access like cake. CI – FTW!

TR
Guest
TR
7 years 1 month ago

Cake doesn’t require command line, its just an added feature. I’ve been using cake for a while and never touched the command line other than curiosity one time. CI is pretty sweet too, can’t go wrong either way!

Stoosh
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Very well written article, I personally use CakePHP however I think too many people use theses frameworks for the wrong reasons. As a shortcut to learning PHP.

I can gurantee you a large portion of users that are implementing these frameworks couldn’t even write a basic database class.

Also Josh Highland, you’re wrong about Cakes CLI, you most certainly do not have to use it.

Sean
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I use Yii – my first framework. It’s easy to learn, has great support, and has speed comparable to CodeIgniter with more features and PHP 5.

micah
Guest
micah
7 years 1 month ago

Frameworks are good for learning and for fast development and iterations, but your readers should be aware that using any framework (even codeigniter) gives you a noticeable performance hit compared to straight php. The basics of mvc are not difficult to implement yourself with a little knowledge of mod_rewrite and judicious use of includes.

Em
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Great read! My favorite from the list would have to be CodeIgniter mainly for its excellent performance.

Jaspal Singh
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Yes, well said, even I prefer to do custom php code instead of using php framework.

Richard
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Good article. I am starting at PHP and it was really hard to understand why I would need to use the framework, but now it is getting easy to me. Thanks to this kind of articles.

Mike
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I dont use any framework. I am new to PHP. is DooPHP good and seems quite new on the shop.

Johnson
Guest
Johnson
7 years 1 month ago

Mike, I just playing around with DooPHP and I find it very easy to get started along. Coding with it for a few days, I find that I can get a “clearer view” of my entire application. Nice stuff and I really like its KISS implementation. Much more easier and clearer than CI (in my experience.) If you use template engine, you can control what to be allowed in doophp view templates. Well it’s alternative, people on the forum had integrate a few others like Smarty with it real easy. http://doophp.com/forum

mbi
Guest
mbi
7 years 1 month ago

I use Yii Framework!

Davinder Mahal
Guest
7 years 1 month ago
I’ve looked at several frameworks and a few years ago choose symfony. It is a brilliant framework and it’s amazing how fast you can build and deploy an enterprise level site. I don’t mean to offend anyone when I say this, but those who question any framework’s speed and performance, especially when comparing between Hello World! applications between frameworks themselves, or by writing a single script are in a nuts or in a different league. php frameworks are for those building real web applications – fully featured applications that run online – and are not to be used primarily by… Read more »
Johnson
Guest
Johnson
7 years 1 month ago

Symfony crash my VPS easily… hmm not a good option for me but might be good for people who use powerful servers

Sven
Guest
Sven
7 years 1 month ago

I’m also using Yii. In my opinion it’s much easier to learn than Zend and Symfony. It’s fast, it has really good extensions, great docs and easy to extend by yourself. The community is still small, but I hope it will grow in the next month.

Johnson
Guest
Johnson
7 years 1 month ago

Yii is nice but I don’t like how they work with widgets which generate HTML/JS stuff?? I think we should leave the job to frontend designers. IMHO yii is not as easy as CI or Doophp

Rad
Guest
Rad
7 years 1 month ago

SkinnyMVC rules! A simple MVC framework without all the libraries for non-programmers.

Amar Jadhav
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Thanks for sharing information about PHP frameworks.

Zac
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Interestingly enough, I just started using CodeIgniter today! And I love it. Very easy to learn…

Brian Temecula
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

You have chosen wisely

WorkerOnLog
Guest
WorkerOnLog
7 years 1 month ago

Whenever I’m not making medium-sized sites from scratch, I tend to just go for a full CMS when I need a boost. WordPress, Joomla and of course Drupal are my favs. I’ve been using Drupal a lot in the past 2 years.

ashish thakre
Guest
ashish thakre
7 years 1 month ago

??is Kohana PHP framework and Zend frame is compatialbe with jquery
is any issue in both the frame work for jquery

Jordan
Guest
Jordan
7 years 1 month ago

jquery is a javascript library why would it care about what PHP framework you are using?

Josh Davey
Guest
Josh Davey
7 years 1 month ago

Check out Madeam PHP Framework: http://madeam.com

vickie
Guest
vickie
7 years 1 month ago

There is a new php framework – DooPHP. They claimed to be the fastest MVC framework compared to CodeIgniter and Kohana framework and it designed for KISS lovers who dislike complexity.
probably you could have a look on that?

D factor
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Awesome! I am a novice to PHP, I enjoyed the comments far more than the post!

just from the comments i form an opinion : Kohana !

Iulisloi Zacarias
Guest
Iulisloi Zacarias
7 years 1 month ago

And… what about Prado Framework?

http://www.pradodoft.com.br

Bruno Cassol
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

“With MVC, Model refers to data, View refers to the presentation layer, and Controller to the application or business logic.”

Please learn about MVC before writing about it. PHP doesn’t deserve all the blaming, some script-kiddies that use it do.

Boubacar
Guest
Boubacar
7 years 1 month ago

For me Yii is the best. Strict OOP with an excellent AR implementation and a well designed architecture.

Emmanuel DEMEY
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

good article. Thanks

pidudiduu
Guest
pidudiduu
7 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the useful information!

Jordan
Guest
Jordan
7 years 1 month ago

Cake, Zend and Symphony are overly monolithic, imo. The MVC part of Zend seems ‘tact on.’ The database API is probably the worst I have come across. Symphony and Cake seem to be similar with similar goals.

CI is fine. There development cycles are years so the framework basically doesn’t improve.

Kohana is top shelf by far.

adwin
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

don’t forget to add yii framework. it is new but it looks promising in the future.

Horia Dragomir
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I definitely love Kohana, but after reading most of the comments here, I think I’ll try out Zend.

And Drupal is utterly harmful to large-scale apps, just so you know.

Tom
Guest
7 years 1 month ago
Good note about not all php frameworks are mvc. I was going to say the same thing… More importantly, I think there’s MANY “enterprise” type sites/apps using other frameworks than symfony. Definitely need to be careful about associating one framework with terms like “enterprise” or professional. For example CakePHP powers the Mozilla Add-ons site… It also powers many other sites run for big corporations. Zend also must (I’m not familiar with Zend community) since it’s been around so long. I’d imagine CodeIgniter is starting to run more larger things…But again I’m not in that community to know. The framework these… Read more »
agavista
Guest
7 years 30 days ago
This list misses out the (most probably!) best PHP framework out there: Agavi. It’s fast, stable, extensible and gives you complete freedom of choice other than trying to decide things you should really better decide for yourself (and depending on your requirements, that is). Use whatever ORM or template engine you want. Do ‘real’ MVC (not those action->viewtemplate thingys most of the other frameworks have). And the best: It’s not a pure web-only framework, but supports fully-fledged console or XML-RPC or SOAP or $whatever applications you want to write. Try it and believe me, that Agavi will please every professional… Read more »
Said Bakr
Guest
7 years 22 days ago

I’d like to add another reason or advantage to a framework, Its options to be integrated with code editor such as Eclipse to get auto code completion.

DemoGeek
Guest
7 years 22 days ago

How about the Akelos framework? It looks to me that is the closest ever framework to Rails. Any takers?

christian reyes
Guest
7 years 4 days ago

i’m using kohanaPHP as well. tried code igniter too – i’d say both of them are almost the same. frameworks really cut the production time by half.

tonier
Guest
tonier
6 years 11 months ago

I have used any framework, try and see if it can make sense for my requirements. But I choose to make my own framework based on my experiences and mix any code from my previous projects and take the other framework code as the example (especially CI). It work well for me.

thome
Guest
thome
6 years 11 months ago

If you are looking for a PHP framework, maybe you could first consider looking for a more professional language. I’d recommend Python, but there are many others well designed ones.

Zorancho
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

I personally have tried Cake, Kohana and CodeIgniter… Cake is way too complicated and full of stuff, but it is good if you want to build big robust application, Kohana is good if you want to use nice Object Oriented code, but the support sucks so much.
So i stick up with CI which helped me learn PHP as well along the way.
Still, using and choosing a framework is more of a personal taste cause developers have different approaches to programming, so you cannot say which one is the best, it depends which one will suit you personally.

Rakhi Chowdhary
Guest
6 years 11 months ago

Of all mentioned above I have find Ruby on Rails MVC really cool and easy going. Thanks for sharing valuable information.

murkein
Guest
murkein
6 years 11 months ago

I like symfony, this is very good

saravanan
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

PHP Framework is best..But we are using Drupal CMS..This is better than best

rountehewothe
Guest
rountehewothe
6 years 10 months ago

By the way

abhijeet
Guest
abhijeet
6 years 10 months ago
Hi All, working on php things from last 6 months(earlier working on java)………….. started with CMS like Joomla1.5,Wordpress,Magento,expressEngine,Drupal………. these are good but u should know wats ur requiremnt??? everyone has got its drawback like magento(size prblm) good big sites with ecommerce option that to if company has got clients in many countries… 4 small sites wordpress,joomla is good …… About Frameworks…. i remember when i started one of our clients want gallery so i went 4 option CakePhp+coppermine after it was running to slow as it retrives data from db everytime… i developed text based template system for that template… Read more »
Thallis
Guest
Thallis
6 years 10 months ago

Code Igniter RULES

Miguel
Guest
Miguel
6 years 9 months ago

I’ve used CakePHP, sort of complicated at the beginning but once you’ve studied and visit some tutorials it’s simple. What I’ve found kind of difficult it’s the data base structure, has to be very accurate with normalization and indexes.

victor
Guest
6 years 8 months ago

I consider that one of the strongest points of cakePHP—that it recommends (almost enforces) a clean database structure. Once you’ve done setting up your models in a right way, you can almost code with your eyes closed.

ASIF MEHMOOD
Guest
ASIF MEHMOOD
6 years 8 months ago

Hi every body.
PHP is easy and power full so try it for better results.

victor
Guest
6 years 8 months ago

At our company we use cakePHP. This article doesn’t consider wordpress, drupal and joomla to be frameworks—although they are! Drupal looks to be the most popular PHP framework yet.

jek123
Guest
6 years 8 months ago

Hi all!
Help me please to solve the problem on php
I have a php form. It is necessary to insert in her captcha. How?

keogh
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

I use CakePHP, CodeIgniter and Joomla 1.5 (very painful), I’ll try kohona I see a lot of you use it. Also I’m learning wordpress :D.

See you :D

Dominic Xavio
Guest
Dominic Xavio
6 years 7 months ago

Those looking for a minimalist framework with a fast template engine and SQL handler inspired by Ruby’s Sinatra might want to take a peek at the PHP Fat-Free Framework. In my opinion, most of the frameworks mentioned here are bloated with more features than you’ll ever need.

dimis
Guest
dimis
6 years 7 months ago

I tried codeigniter,cakephp,yii for commercial projects and I give a try to kohana and symfony (trying to learn them)
So my first choice is Yii and the second the cakephp-both have simiralities but I liked more some Yii functions I used .
Symfony is more complicated and you must learn more.
Codeigniter and kohana (that is for php 5 and has some simiralities with CI) I do not like them .

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