This article discusses the two most popular PHP frameworks: Symfony and Laravel. The author compares their capabilities and tries to help the reader choose the best tool. This article is intended for beginner developers who have not yet worked with PHP frameworks.
Why do I need a PHP framework?
PHP is one of the most popular programming languages. It is actively used by large projects, such as Facebook and VKontakte. Popular content management systems (CMS), including WordPress, are written in PHP. About one-third of all sites on the Internet and about 60% of sites on CMS use this engine.
PHP is evolving and version 7 has made this language stable. In this case, why are frameworks needed and why are they often used instead of the native language? Here are a few reasons:
- Frameworks speed up development. For example, the PHP framework eliminates the need to write database queries. The framework implements the basic CRUD functions that are necessary for working with databases.
- Applications written on the framework are easily scalable.
- It is easier to maintain a project in a framework than in native PHP. The framework code is concise, so it’s easy to work with.
- PHP frameworks use the MVC model. It simplifies development.
- Framework applications are better protected than pure PHP applications.
- The framework implements the principle of DRY. This allows developers to write less code.
- Native PHP allows you to make applications. But the advantages listed above are enough to pay attention to the frameworks.
How to choose a PHP framework?
The answers to the following questions will help you choose a framework:
- What functionality does the framework have, does it meet the needs of the project?
- How difficult is it to learn the chosen framework?
- Is it easy to scale a project created using this framework?
- How actively is the tool developing?
- Is there any guaranteed long-term support (LTS)?
- Is there an active community?
Symfony and Laravel
Before diving into the details, we briefly consider the main features of the most popular PHP frameworks. These are Symfony and Laravel.
Symfony is a collection of PHP components that are reusable. The framework allows you to make scalable and powerful applications. Symfony API integrates with third-party applications, as well as with front-end development tools such as Angular JS.
Symfony uses many popular projects, for example, Drupal and phpBB. Even the most popular Laravel PHP framework is built around Symfony.
Which PHP framework is better?
All of these frameworks are suitable for developing web applications. However, these tools have differences that the developer must consider.
Template engines speed up development and simplify front-end application development. For example, using template engines, the task of automatically escaping HTML is solved.
Symfony uses Twig by default. This is a template handler that allows you to write clean code and extends the capabilities of native PHP. For example, Twig makes it easy to create escape sequences.
This framework uses the Blade template engine. It allows you to use PHP code in view. The blade has virtually no effect on the speed of applications since the views are stored in separate files with the extension. The representation code is converted to native PHP.
Symfony has standard components that you can use to create applications. That is, Symfony is a great example of a modular framework.
Laravel is inferior to Symfony and Yii2 in the ability to use a modular approach for application development.
Intermediate conclusion: If you need a modular PHP framework, choose Symfony.
Each framework supports several installation options. For example, Symfony and Laravel can be installed using the Composer package manager. All the frameworks after installation allow you to work with a template application.
Intermediate conclusion: According to the criterion of ease of installation, there are no winners, each of both tools is easy to install.
Symfony is considered a reliable framework, behind which there is a large and active community. Laravel is developing rapidly and holds the first place in the list of the most popular frameworks.
If you need to create a web application as quickly as possible, and you have never worked with PHP frameworks, choose Laravel. It’s easiest to learn, and the most Laravel tutorials online.
Laravel performance is a debatable issue. However, there are many recommendations on the net for speeding up applications on Laravel.
By this criterion, Symfony becomes the undisputed leader. Laravel is behind. Specific information can be seen in the table.
|Microsoft BI||Apache jackrabbit|
Community and Resources
A large active community can be considered a guarantee of long-term support and development of the tool. Around the frameworks in question, large communities are formed. The Symfony community can be called the most mature.
An important point is that the future of the framework is better estimated not by the static size of the community, but by its dynamics and activity.
If you evaluate a resource such as documentation and training materials, Laravel will be the leader here.
The functionality of frameworks is enhanced with extensions or packages. By this criterion, Laravel remains the leader. You can find about 9000 packages for Laravel in the Packalyst directory.
Symfony boasts 2830 extensions respectively. If the ability to extend the standard functionality of the framework with additional packages is important to you, the choice is obvious.
Similarity of characteristics
Above, we looked at the difference between frameworks. It’s time to focus on similar features. Here they are:
- Both tools are related to full-stack frameworks. They provide a complete web application development cycle, including frontend and backend.
- These are open-source projects that can be found on GitHub.
- Symfony and Laravel have numerous active communities.
- Both frameworks support Object Relational Mapping (ORM). Therefore, these tools are convenient to use in the paradigm of object-oriented programming.
- The listed frameworks are reliable and safe tools for creating web applications.
Still can’t choose a framework? Here is the thesis information that will help determine.
- There is an LTS version of the framework;
- Wide functionality out of the box;
- This is the most stable framework;
- There are ready-made components, which allow you to use a modular approach when creating applications;
- The most popular PHP framework;
- There is a built-in package manager Composer;
- Unit-testing support out of the box;
- A large number of packages to expand the functionality;
Symfony and Laravel can be called excellent tools for developing web applications. The author of the article prefers Laravel. At the same time, he considers that Symfony is a no less powerful tool. A feature of Symfony can be called a developed community.