Top 5 PHP Frameworks in 2020

Developing an application or website from scratch entails a lot of work. Frameworks come in handy for such tasks. Let’s start by understanding the term framework!

What is the framework?

A framework is a platform that aids in developing software applications. It’s a library of files containing all basic functions that help software developers in building programs. A framework contains all the basic functions, predefined classes, and the necessary functions in software development.

Therefore, these functions can be used to process input, interact with the system hardware, and even manage hardware devices. In short, a framework contains all the basics you will need as a software developer to build programs from the ground up right from coding when you are building a website or application from scratch.

A framework is like an application programming interface (API) though technically a framework includes an API. The two have similar properties but differ in that a framework lays the groundwork for software development while an API grants access to the elements that are supported by the framework.

A framework includes everything from code libraries, compilers, programs to be used in software
development, and all the tools that keep you from reinventing the wheel every time. In this article, we will focus on the PHP framework.

What is a PHP framework?

PHP stands for Personal Home Page.  It is one of the easiest programming languages to understand and use. With basic programming skills, any software developer can use this PHP effortlessly.

what is php framework

PHP operates under the model view controller fundamentals. So, what is MVC? MVC is an architectural pattern that divides between the domain logic and the user interface. Domain logic is responsible for handling all the data exchanges between your database and user interface. This architectural pattern separates the application to three distinct components; m-model, v-view/user, and c-control.

The model stands for the raw data, view or user refers to how the data is actually being seen while the
controller is the domain language. These three components, once understood, simplify the PHP framework.

Why choose a PHP framework?

PHP framework lays the platform for the development of web applications. Here are other benefits.

  • Saves time- reusing the same code throughout the process saves time.
  • It speeds up web development and software development processes.
  • The framework is very easy to maintain.
  • PHP framework makes the application developed more secure.

Top 5 PHP framework

top-5-php-framework

Now that we have all understood the PHP framework, which is the best PHP framework to use in web
development? Developing any software application from scratch involves a lot of work, therefore, making it very tedious and time-consuming. Using the best PHP framework spares you from recreating the same functions over and over again. We have sifted through the countless PHP framework available in the market to find you the absolute best. In this article, we are reviewing the top 5 PHP framework for beginners. Take a look!

  1. Laravel
  2. CakePHP
  3. CodeIgniter
  4. Symfony
  5. Zend framework

If you ate in a hurry, those are the best PHP frameworks for beginners. So, let’s take a deeper look at each, what it offers, and why you should try it.

   (1) Laravel

Laravel is the most popular PHP framework today. The software developed in 2011 has since assisted web developers and users in building complex web applications. It also utilizes MVC architecture to build complex web applications from scratch. The software is designed to ease simple tasks such as caching, authentication, session, and routing.

laravel-framework

Laravel comes with packages such as object-relational mapping (ORM), restful controllers, unit tests and blade template, and packaging system. Not enough for you? You can also expand the PHP framework through add-ons such as spatial, socialite, name it! Laravel comes with the functionality to build modern PHP applications and an abstract routing.

Key features of Laravel

  • Authentication

One of the many reasons Laravel is the first PHP framework that comes to mind when the topic arises is because it is designed with its own authentication system. Authentication is very crucial to developers. Before developing a web application, you need to spend endless hours coming up with an authentication code. Luckily, Laravel makes the process easier. All that is required of a developer is to configure models, views, and controllers, and the application is ready to run.

  • Artisan

The most exhausting task with developing websites and software is the need to rewrite the same codes countless times. Laravel is designed with an inbuilt command line called artisan. This command-line performs all the repetitive programming tasks, so the developer does not need to waste time and energy. The developer can even create their own codes and MVC files using the command line.

  • Effective object-relation mapping (ORM)

Laravel has inbuilt ORM with an active record implementation. What does this mean? The developer will have an easier time issuing queries to the database. The inbuilt ORM creates easy integration for database and developers. The developer can integrate the database tables without the need to write SQL codes.

  • Unique unit testing

Laravel allows users to perform unit testing on any changes they make to the website. This unique unite testing by Laravel ensure that any changes made to the website application do not break anything on the site. A developer can also create their own test case using Laravel.

  • Database Migration System

Laravel Database migration system allows expanding the database structure of an application without re-creating it every time while there are any changes in coding. Using this feature, the risk of losing data is very minimum. It allows you to change the database structure as well as you can use the PHP code instead of SQL.  Schema Builder helps to create database tables and inserts indices or columns easily.

Why should you use Laravel?

  • Testing automation

Laravel allows the developer to write tests for applications to ensure that all codes are  working seamlessly. It supports PHP units, which make the test-driven applications for PHP easier.

       • Simple routing

Laravel allows for simple and straightforward routing as a single web PHP file is designed to handle all routing.

  • Separation of business logic and presentation code

Laravel framework follows the Model View Controller (MVC) architecture that separates the business logic from the website.

  • Object-Oriented Libraries

Laravel comes with object-oriented libraries, which is one factor that makes it the best PHP
framework. It comes with an authentication library, notification meals, among others.

  • Easy Notification Emails

Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine any application without notifications but with this framework it’s very easy. Apart from SMTP, laravel provides support for several notification email services such as Mailgun, Mandrill, SparkPost, Amazon SES, SendMail etc.

     (2) CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is another beginner-friendly PHP framework for developers looking for a smooth toolkit to build web applications. It’s also an open-source framework that makes use of a model view controller. It uses different components to handle specific tasks, which helps in the development of highly scalable, dynamic websites.

codeIgniter php framework

It’s very easy to use, making it highly recommended for developers who are new to the PHP framework. With a library full of simple solutions such as video tutorials, user guides, and forums, beginners and experts alike should be able to get around the software just fine.

Key features of CodeIgniter

  • MVC Based Architecture

CodeIgniter follows a model view controller architecture, which clearly separates the logic and presentation of a website. All the database action is conducted through the model and output displayed through the views thanks to the controller of the architecture.

  • Extensive Built-in Library

It comes with a very rich built-in library. The library holds all the required tasks like database, routing, sending emails, manipulating images.

  • Error Handling

CodeIgniter is designed with a simple interface that helps the developer detect and handle appropriately all the errors that may occur during web application building. The interface will show all the PHP errors in the application you are building. It provides instructions to error logging class that allows debugging messages to be saved as text files.

  • SEO Friendly

The PHP software generates SEO friendly URLs that are optimized for search engines. CodeIgniter uses a segment-based approach rather than a standard-based approach, like most PHP frameworks.

  • Lightweight Software

CodeIgniter is built with functionality in mind; hence it’s impressively lightweight. The core system requires a very small library to run though you can add other libraries as per your development needs.

Why should you use CodeIgniter?

  • Best Documentation

CodeIgniter has one of the best documentations known in the world of PHP.  There is high-quality documentation for CodeIgniter to help developers using the framework.

  • MVC Architecture

The software makes use of the MVC architecture, which separates performance from
logic in web building. It also helps in building highly scalable and lightweight applications. Developers using CodeIgniter can simply manage separate codes without rewriting the same codes during web application development.

  • Database Abstraction

This is a feature common to all PHP software. The feature helps developers to create, update, or remove a statement from the website without creating raw SQL. The feature makes the whole process simpler and faster.

  • Highly Customizable

CodeIgniter is faster development as developers are required to use shorter codes in building web applications. The vast inbuilt library contains all the tools that a developer may need in the process. Whether its email, zip encoding, calendar, unite testing, validation, etc. You will find everything in the library. Other libraries can also be added to meet the needs of the developer.

  • Inbuilt Tool Packages

It has an extensive set of built-in libraries, including zip encoding, calendar, unit testing modules, validation, session, email, and zip encoding, etc.

     (3) CakePHP

CakePHP framework screams simplicity and elegance. It was the first PHP framework to land in the market in the 2000s. To date, it’s still one of the best PHP software you can use, and the popularity speaks volumes. The software is one of the easiest PHP frameworks to learn for beginners because it uses the CRUD functionality, that is, the create, read, update, and delete functionality. It can be used to create feature-rich, visually-impressive, and excellent websites.

CakePHP-framwork

Another impressive thing about CakePHP is that it always comes with new and more impressive features with every version they release. The goal is to maintain a strong user base by using excellent features. CakePHP is designed with efficient features such as SQL injection prevention, forgery protection, and cross- set scripting protection. Developers are focusing on commercial websites.

Key features of CakePHP

  • Robust Performance

CakePHP makes coding so simple. One of the features that make this software shine it the fact that it
approaches coding conventionally. What do we mean? Once you have mastered a set of convections, you can spend the rest of your time fully focused on website development. It makes complex coding child’s play with its advanced tools. It also has a flexible data validation process.

  • Testing Methods

CakePHP allows the developer to perform unit-testing every step of the development process to ensure that no elements added will break down the website. It also offers useful tools that increase the functionality in web building. It also provides multi-talented resources with extensive knowledge in building website applications.

  • Built-in Validation

CakePHP is designed with inbuilt validation, and throughout the development process, you will notice the validation rules are adhered to. The software also comes with amazing features such as good entities flow. The validation techniques are very practical in marking the point of validation to make development easier and enjoyable.

  • Testing Methods

The PHP software also provides a variety of easy testing methods that detect errors in web development. You can detect errors fast hand and fix them before proceeding in web development.

  • User-friendly

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced web developer, CakePHP is the PHP framework for you. It’s very easy to use, letting a developer create designs using the template editor. You can also customize your website effortlessly as per the requirements and needs.

Why should you use CakePHP?

  • Easy configuration

CakePHP is one of the easiest PHP frameworks thanks to its easy configuration. All you need to do is manage the database settings. There are no codes for which you need to state the location
of the library.

  • Security

Security and session handling are some of the components to look out for in a database.
CakePHP comes with advanced data validation that allows developers to utilize the flexible security
facilities throughout the application.

  • A wide array of extensions

CakePHP- can extend your project to more components, plug-ins, and behaviors. You can also use the CakePHP framework to create reusable code for multiple projects, so you don’t need to rewrite the same code again.

  • MVC architecture

CakePHP is designed on model view controller architecture, meaning your application will be divided into three distinct parts; model, view, and controller. The model supports all the data related logic, while the view is used for rendering data on the screen. The controller, on the other hand, can alter data before it can interact with the model. The purpose of this is to process and react to actions. Al the three parts are designed to separate logic from presentation in a website.

  • ORM

ORM is a programming technique to facilitate data conversion between incompatible type systems in databases and object-oriented programming languages.

   (4) Symfony

Symfony would share the title right om the top three if there was a competition of popularity. Wonder why? Symfony is already a cool name, and when coupled with features, you will see why that is the case.

symfony-framework

Symfony comes with excellent documentation and training courses to help its users understand the software. It also recommended due to its advanced features that make it stand out. The framework uses a robust MVC architecture to help the developer separate logic from presentation and make it easier to use for beginners. Symfony is a PHP framework that comes with very advanced features but is surprisingly easy to use.

It’s also very flexible with the outstanding bundle and component features that allow the developer pic between different functionalities. The framework also comes with reusable components such as PHP libraries, routing, authentication, and templating that assist in developing a website application.

Key features of Symphony

  • Symfony Profiler

It is a difficult job for the developers to maintain the application’s health. Symfony profiler keeps track of all the actions and backend activities on the application to keep it secure.

  • Customization

Symfony allows the developer to customize the web application according to the requirements. A developer can use the built-in features and library to come up with a website that is user friendly. The software also utilizes OOPS service architecture to take customization of the website to a whole new level.

  • Long-term Support

Symfony is a highly stable and tested framework. It offers regular updates. Recent Symfony versions stay long-term supported and compatible with the newer releases up to 3 years.

  • Pre-Established Directory Structure

Symfony creates its own support folders based on user input. This results in the creation of the model of the project that could be later improved using views and controllers.

  • Independent Components

Symfony PHP software comes with over 30 independent components. These components can be reused to gether with the decoupled PHP libraries, which provide the foundation for a PHP development project. As a developer, you can take advantage of the validator tools, routing, console, asset, finder, and debugging.

Why should you use Symfony?

  • Large Community

What is better than feeling like part of something bigger? A community makes frameworks survivable. In the Symfony community, people cooperate and help each other out with emerging issues. You will never be left with an unanswered question when you are part of a community.

  • Highly Flexible

Symfony is feature reach compared to other PHP framework. The most outstanding features this framework include bundles and components which make the software stand out. It can also be integrated with projects such as Drupal.

  • Proven Reliability

Symfony boasts of database engine independence and reusable PHP components. It has
proven its reliability as the perfect framework for building large organization enterprise projects where other frameworks have failed. Its components are even used by platforms such as PHPBB, Drupal, and magneto.

  • A company behind the Technology

Symfony is one of the few PHP framework software backed by a real technological company. It shows the level of seriousness of the intentions of the software. On the website, you will come across the company’s seminars and conferences all around the world.

  • Long-term Support

Symfony is always being updated with better versions and more features. The support on the software is also made better, especially if you compare the earlier versions with the current. The recently updated versions stay supported to up to 3 years.

     (5) Zend

Zend PHP framework is often referred to as the component library as it’s a hub of loosely packed components. It is an object-oriented framework that is also beginner-friendly as well as this frameworks includes professional PHP based packages. All the components in the framework can be used indecently in web development.

zend-framework

Zend also earned the name glue framework because of its component-based. It’s designed with features such as inheritance and interfaces, which make the framework extendable. Zend allows the developer to focus solely on components and functions. A developer can also reuse code instead of rewriting it every time it’s required.

Key features of Zend

  • Strong Backend Support

Zend has remarkable supporters including companies like Google and Microsoft that have contributed remarkable features to the framework.

  • MOVE Support

Zend is backed by remarkable companies, including Google, StrikeIron, and Microsoft, contributing to the development of features. Move also supports MVC as well as MOVE (models, operations, views, and events) architecture. MOVE is an update of MVC, which makes the framework more reliable and secure.

  • Extended Classes

As you know the Zend framework is an object-oriented framework and it uses various theories related to OOP along with interface. It is a customized framework in a way that it can develop a pleasing functionality for the development venture.

  • Secure

Zend is very safe and secure. It’s designed and updated with the BSD license that protects the software against breach from third-party and malware.

  • Scalability

Zend can be used in recreating highly scalable applications. It can be paired with any open source
applications which yield rich platforms. It’s also very basic in operations minimizing trouble for the
developer.

Why should you use Zend?

  • Customizable

Zend allows for customization to meet development needs. You can utilize a wide range of
add-ons and extensions without a worry. It’s very easy to add extensions from the Zend library or create a library of your own.

  • Offers extended classes

Zend offers classes such as OOP language and concepts such as inheritance and interfaces to tier developers.

  • Certification

Zend is a platform that offers both Zend certification and PHP certification. A developer and
learner that completes both will be inspired by the skills they acquire from the certification. It’s also a way of building a portfolio, especially for beginners.

  • Documentation

Zend offers a collection of over 60 professional PHP packages that can be used for development. It also offers easy to use documentation which encourages learning the framework.

  • Versatility

Zend framework has a lot of components. All those are for different purposes. As its open-source framework, developers can customize the components as per the requirements.

Conclusion

We have covered the top 5 PHP frameworks that you can use to develop a website or app. All the
frameworks we have covered are very beginner-friendly. The PHP framework you choose depends on the needs of your business.

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