What is a PHP Framework?
PHP is the one of 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 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 Framework?
The framework facilitates Web programming and makes it better organized in many ways.
- First of all, frameworks increase programming productivity because writing a piece of code that usually takes hours and takes up hundreds of lines of code can be done in minutes with the help of framework built-in functions.
- Secondly, a widely used framework has a major security advantage since its users become long-term testers. If a user finds a security problem, he can notify about it on the framework developers website so that the developer team would be able to fix it.
- Thirdly, often most popular frameworks are free and since they help the developer to write code faster the final cost will be smaller.
- Fourthly, a framework usually comes along with a support team, documentation or large support forums where users can quickly get answers.
- 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
When to Use a 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.
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 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 the 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 ease 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, Laravel is one of the best & highly used because of the performance, features, scalability it offers. On the other hand, Symfony is another PHP framework which has a collection of universal, reusable programs that accomplish particular tasks to facilitate the development of software applications
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.
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 has been an explosion of PHP frameworks to hit the scene. Framework selection is an important step because the speed and quality of the work depend on it. You can find many articles on how to choose an appropriate framework for your task. Main aspects to take into consideration are usage context, license, software pattern, hosting requirements, ease of installation, core library, learning curve, DB abstraction, and ORM, included JS libraries etc. Here’s a quick rundown of 3 of the best and most popular choices right now:
Laravel is currently one of the most popular PHP frameworks used by core businesses for developing rich web apps. This is one of the top web development frameworks that comes with restful routing and some brilliant and innovative features for development. The framework also includes native PHP or lightweight tempting. It provides a solid base and foundation for web application development. Some of its business benefits are :
- Seamless data migration
- Top-notch security
- Robust tool integration
- Low server overhead
- Vast developer community
Symfony is currently the most scalable and one of the best PHP framework. This is also one of the web development frameworks that help in the faster creation of a web application, along with its simple maintenance of a website. It provides the advantage for other components like Templating, Translation, Validator, Form Config and more which makes it one of the top PHP frameworks. While comparing Symfony and Laravel, it’s difficult to say which one is better as they have many common and unique features and both are popular web development frameworks. The major business benefits of Symfony are :
- Faster development
- Long-term support
- Easier maintainability
- Better security
- High flexibility
- Proven reliability
The CodeIgniter Powerful PHP Framework has also been on the market for roughly 10 years and is known for being the easiest to use of all other frameworks. It is very powerful and was designed for developers that needed an elegant yet simple toolkit in mind when developing full-featured web applications. With this particular PHP framework, typical version conflicts are avoided. It also handles errors very easily along with various choices in models and views. It also offers security which is a highly valuable feature that is present today and likely will be in the years to come. A highlight of additional features consist of the following:
- Includes a small footprint designed for developers in need of simplistic yet elegant toolkit
- It has a strong security system that includes built-in protection against attacks such as XSS and CSRF
- It has clear, easy to read the documentation, user guides, tutorials, and references. it has exceptional performance capabilities and regularly outperforms the majority of its competitor
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 their needs in terms of features, support, speed, scalability and more. Some of the top PHP frameworks used by developers today include Laravel, Symfony, Codeigniter, CakePHP, Zend, Yii, Phalcon.