Over the past few years, PHP frameworks like Symfony, Laravel, Phalcon, and Drupal have improved and have turned into indispensable tools for developers wanting to create web applications optimizing time, costs, and features. We’re going to look at what solutions are the best out there on the market and what components we have to consider when it’s time to choose one.
What’s a framework?
A framework is a web development tool that is usually an application or a set of models that allow for agile application development using a series of already-created libraries or functions.
Frameworks make sure that the developer is not continuously reinventing the wheel and instead focuses on the problems he or she is looking to resolve rather than implementing functions that are generally ubiquitous and that others have already addressed.
Should we bet on using frameworks?
The answer is an empathic yes for the following reasons:
1. The code is organized right from the start
The order and control over the code and the files are much better thanks to using frameworks. When you install a framework for PHP or any other programming language, they already include a defined structure.
It’s a way of maintaining a degree of organization for finding the files you need quickly and is very useful when the software starts to age and has gone through many different developers. By following the same rules, the information is more organized, and it's easier to locate files.
2. You don’t reinvent the wheel
As we previously stated, frameworks provide solutions to most of the common problems that come up in web app development.
All existing frameworks have a set of functions
- MVC (Model View Controller) Architecture.
- User authentication, control levels for access, sessions, cookies…
- Directory Structures and Module Files.
- Request and Answer Management, (POST, GET, WebServices).
- Form and data validation management.
- Location and multilingual management.
3. MVC (Model - View - Controller) Architecture
Although it may seem like it, we're not talking in gibberish. The Model-View-Controller pattern gets used in PHP applications for many reasons:
- Model: this is in charge of presenting the structure of your data, it usually gets done using interfaces with the same databases.
- View: it also makes a representation of the content of the templates that make up a webpage as well as the output data.
- Controller: controls the request that a user makes, communicating with the Model (database) and shows us the View (HTML).
4. You don’t have to worry about security; the framework helps you out
There are a lot of functions that you can apply to PHP to ensure that you control the input and output data and protect your website from potential attacks. Manually carrying out these types of actions is possible but it a bit complicated.
We use frameworks for that since these functions can automatically get carried out. All the actions derived from HTML, for example, since they can be from forms or links can filter input and output data automatically.
5. Community protection and support
All PHP frameworks are based around large communities; in other words, these are large groups of developers that you can go to consult, get their help through forums, email lists, or specialized platforms including GitHub, StackOverflow, and more.
6. Employment Opportunity
If your online business has a technical department specialized in frameworks, it will have access to a higher number of workers experience in this tool. Besides that, a developer with expertise in a framework will be more productive and the necessary adaptation time will be minimal.
7. Frameworks are perfect for fostering teamwork
Using frameworks is not only advantageous from a technical standpoint, but it is also a boon for teamwork too. On one end, frontend developers work in Views, database specialists in Models, and the backend programmer in building plugins and so on.
Although the benefits we gain from working with a framework are superior to their disadvantages, we need to mention and be aware of their existence:
- Every framework has a learning curve. Taking control of a framework takes time.
- Knowing how to use a framework does not imply understanding how it works nor being familiar with the technologies it supports.
- A framework's relevance is subject to trends; it's natural that it can go from being the most frequently-used to a bastion of the past in just a year.
- The fact that frameworks are considered functional in a variety of distinct environments can be unnecessary in some cases and implies that our code will have added weight and slowness.
- We are not always going to use all of a framework's functions, but we will generally load them all.
The best web development frameworks: 4 exciting options
Once you have convinced yourself, the next question is inevitable: Which one do I use? We’re going to give you a list of the best web development frameworks that have positioned themselves as the ones that digital companies covet most:
1. Symfony 4
This is one of the frameworks that digital firms use most and recommend, as well as being the preferred one for many web developers. Symfony consists of an ample number of components that can get reused as well as having an active community that always shows new codes to develop improvements in updates.
Here are the benefits of using Symfony:
- LMIT License: Symfony uses this type of license that lets you develop web applications for free and with free software.
- Information control: You can control all access to information as well as control, by default, over CSRF or XSS attacks using Symfony.
- Internationalization at your reach: Symfony also lets you create apps in different languages.
- Community: one of Symfony’s most relevant factors is its community. Its community characterizes itself on a very stable, trustworthy, and easy-to-update model.
- The quality is in the code: It counts on an open-source code of excellent quality, easy-to-use architecture, and logical and easy-to-use designs for the web developer.
- Programming best practices: Symfony also stands out for its peculiarities when it comes to programming since it facilities previously-tried design patterns, grouped databases, and configuration files, among others.
It is one of the youngest frameworks. It uses some Symfony components and characterizes itself through its prepared functions for designing modern easy-to-use apps.
Advantages of using Laravel:
- It’s a framework that lets you aggregate useful information using its Packalyst directory. It’s a way of immediately locating what you’re missing.
- It also allows for the development of microservices and apps.
- It's made up of a convenient routing system that will enable you to relate elements from one application with the routes that the user introduces into the browser.
This is an old-school framework that refuses to kneel before the ones that come onto the scene regardless of how strong they come on. Developed in 2005, today it has an MIT license and has caught the attention of large corporations like Hyundai or BMW for their web projects.
This veteran has let its version 3.6 see the light with which it wants to return to the top of the frameworks. Among its updates, there is a better session management function, independent files, and modular components to reduce the weight and improve project personalization, among so many other resources for today.
This framework came about in 2006 and for a long time was considered to be one of the referential frameworks in the PHP world but lately has lost a lot of ground to its competitors. Despite that, CodeIgniter is not hard to learn, so it continues to be a good option when it comes to picking a PHP framework.
What conclusions do we gather?
Using a framework in developing an application implies a specific initial learning cost although in the long-term it is probable that it facilitates both development and maintenance.
There are a plethora of frameworks geared towards other programming languages, functions, and more. Although choosing one of them can be a complex task, it’s likely that the best-defined (or most-used, which are not the same as the best-defined) will remain in the long-term. And if none of them adapts to your development needs, it’s always better to define your own than to wholesale develop one.
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