At some point in the past 6 years, there’s been an explosion of web development frameworks. It has also been 6 years since, I wrote PHP Frameworks : First glimpse for beginners. About time, to update and add, to the list.
While the widely popular web frameworks today, are RoR, Sinatra, DJango, Flask and the likes. Don’t write off PHP and PHP based frameworks yet.1
Like it or not, PHP is still, one of the fastest server-side scripting (interpreted) languages, around1. With the exception of Node.js and Perl. It’s very easy for beginners to pick up. Runs on almost any web server. Most hosting companies have PHP support and offer PHP with Nginx or Apache on shared and virtual host based servers, unlike Ruby, etc.
Note: Most of the frameworks, below are full-stack. However, some may not be so. Please refer to the links provided, with each framework, to know more.
PHP Frameworks for Beginners and Professionals.
1 - Phalcon: Starting off this list with Phalcon PHP framework. It’s by far the best framework I’ve used. I use it in production, to run over 100+ sites, on a single code-base. It’s fast as hell , easy to learn and use. Nothing is imposed on you. All components are very loosely coupled. What makes it fast is that you use this framework as a PHP module. You get Low level ORM based access to Databases, which is just awesome, for what I create and maintain. After Yaf (see below), correct me if I am wrong but… I think the fastest of all frameworks around is Phalcon .
2 - Yaf: The fastest PHP framework to boot! Doesn’t require much resources. Better and more matured than Phalcon (see above). Well tested. Written in C and built as a PHP extension (just like phalcon, but it came before Phalcon did). Developed by @Laruence, a PHP core contributor . Definitely something to go pro with. I think, it’s used by weibo.com - China’s twitter . Was my choice, but lacked documentation. Phalcon has better documentation.
3 - CodeIgniter: PHP framework of choice, before Yaf & Phalcon (see above). It’s been around the block for ages now. It’s very easy to learn and use, to create production ready web software.
4 - Laravel: Before Phalcon was used in production, Laravel was a strong contender. Very elegant, clear and something that brings PHP up to the Rails level. Setup, sometimes takes time. Great for teams. It’s components are built off Symfony 2 (see below).
5 - Symfony: First, Symfony is a set of PHP components. These are used by Drupal, phpBB, Laravel, and so on. Then Symfony, itself is a web framework in PHP, that is built using the Symfony components. Like CodeIgniter, it’s been around. Has a large community, so good for beginners. Easy to understand and use.
6 - CakePHP: Again, CakePHP has been around for a long time now. So tons of community support, great tutorials. Is used by Scratch by MIT .
7 - Zend Framework: The PHP framework for the enterprising professionals. Zend is for PHP, what sharks are to the ocean, in terms of evolution and timescale. At the time of writing this post, ZF3 is just around the corner, with the release date around Q3 2015. Enterprises like BBC, BNP Paribas, etc. use Zend Framework.
8 - DooPHP Framework: Again, been around since 2009, that I know of. Haven’t tried the new version. Looks good, though. Good for beginners.
9 - Yii Framework: Another great PHP web framework. Really, really easy to get your prototypes done. Great for beginners. Been around since 2008.
10 - Kohana Framework: Very well structured, one of the fast ones. Great community. Good for beginners and professionals. Kohana Framework is used by CouchSurfing, WePay, National Geographic, and so on.
11 - Mouf PHP: At the heart of it, Mouf PHP is a dependency injection container and lib. It does come packaged with MVC and ORM, so you can use it as a framework too. It implements container-interop , which lets you integrate parts of Mouf with Parts of other frameworks and CMSs like Zend, Symfony 2 and Drupal. Offers web based interface to configure your applications.
12 - ATK Framework: A small, light PHP web framework. For building business web applications, with minimum amount of code. It’s not a component based framework, like Zend, Mouf and Symfony (see above).
13 - Bullet PHP: A micro-framework in PHP. It’s built around REST URI Methods, and as such is not a component based framework. Easy to learn. Good documentation.
14 - Sonata: Sonata is a PHP MVC framework. Inspired by Cocoa/UIKit framework by Apple Inc. A well structured framework.
16 - MicroMVC PHP Framework: Astoundingly small and fast. Remember, Big gifts come in small packages. David Pennington , is the man behind MicroMVC PHP framework. It’s again, fast as hell! Great for beginners and professionals, alike.
17 - Agile Toolkit: Not just a PHP web framework. It offers a sandboxing environment, that you can download and use the framework to build web apps; A server environment, where you can deploy and host your PHP web app, just like what Heroku is for rails. Simple and great for beginners. PRO TIP: If you are a beginner, I highly recommend using Agile Toolkit.
18 - PHPDevShell: Modular and Scalable PHP framework and UI. It’s based on MVC, but does not provide a full-fletched MVC support. Has been around for ages. Great for beginners and professionals. Good community and support.
19 - Silex: PHP micro-framework. Based on Symfony 2 components and Pimple (see below). Silex, comes from the creator of Symfony framework and Igor Wiedler.
20 - Pimple: Is not a framework, but a PHP dependency injection container. It can be used to make a PHP/MVC framework, using a component based PHP framework like Symfony, etc. (see above).
21 - TYPO3 Flow: A full-fletched PHP framework. The TYPO3 CMS is built with Flow, I think.
22 - CLANCATS: A HMVC PHP Framework. Component based modular design. Use only what you need. Has it’s own CLI.
23 - Atomic Framework: A PHP micro-framework. Great for small to medium websites. Great for beginners.
24 - Simple MVC framework: As the name suggests, a very simple MVC framework. Great for beginners and pros. Fresh. Awesome, fanatical support.
26 - QCubed: PHP5 MVC framework. Uses jQuery. Based on Qcodo (see above).
27 - Banshee: A PHP framework for building websites. The framework focuses more security. Includes a security auditing script, that’s a first. Built on top of basic PHP. Great for beginners.
28 - Agavi: A powerful, scalable and beautiful written PHP5 web framework. MVC based. Keep an eye out for this one. Looks very promising.
29 - Recess!: Restful PHP framework. Loosely coupled MVC architecture. Gets out of your way. Caching oriented.
30 - Limonade: A PHP micro-framework. Great for RAD and prototyping. Inspired by Sinatra / Camping / Orbit. Lightweight, and really simple to get started with. Great for beginners.
31 - Solar: PHP5 web framework. Mainly for enterprise level apps.
32 - Phpixie: Lightweight MVC based PHP framework. Easy to learn. Nascent. Last commit, at the time of writing this post, was on Feb 9, 2013.
33 - Flight: PHP based Lightweight, micro-framework. Think Sinatra. Very easy to get started with. Great for beginners.
34 - li3: PHP5 Framework. Lightweight, flexible and great for RAD. A.k.a Lithium. You can use relational and non-relational databases, right out of the box. Prides itself, in giving you a solid set of classes, with great default project organization.
35 - Jelix: Jelix has been around since 2006. Open-source PHP framework for enterprise level web applications. Great community.
36 - Aura: Aura, is somewhat different than the rest here. It’s a PHP framework. With the difference being that when you download the framework, you have a choice to download it as CLI based framework, for backend processes. And/or as Web framework for creating web applications in PHP. It’s also different in the way, you can download and use individual components to use with your PHP project, if you want to. All libraries are decoupled, standards compliant and well-tested. They can be used with any codebase.
37 - Mini: Superbly simple, naked, PHP micro-framework. Great for prototyping and small projects. Limited documentation.
39 - FuelPHP: PHP5 MVC based web framework. Supports HMVC. Secure. Has a CLI. Started in 2010. Community driver. Simple and scalable. Stresses on configuration over convention. You can use the template parser of your choice with FuelPHP. Lightweight.
39 - PRADO: Component based PHP5 framework. Event driven. Has been around from 2004.
40 - Fat-Free Framework: PHP micro-framework. Lightweight code base, just ~5kb. For that size, it includes a helluva-lot. Very promising. Great for prototyping. A.K.A F3.
41 - Slim: PHP micro-framework. Again, think Sinatra. Looks very promising. Great for RAD and prototyping. Great for beginners.
42 - Medoo: Lightweight PHP framework. Codebase is around ~15kb. Not MVC based, exactly. It’s kinda more of a layer between PHP and your database. Great for beginners. Very Nascent, released in 2015.
What are PHP Frameworks?
- PHPFrameworks.com: Comparing all kinds of PHP frameworks, since 2007.
- PHP Frameworks on Wikipedia.
- PHP Framework MVC Benchmark.
- Sitepoint: Best PHP frameworks, 2014.
- PHP Framework Interop Group.
Did I miss any?
If you have used and know of any other, please feel free to leave a comment and letting me know.
**Don’t take my word for it:- **
— PHP is much better than what you think.
— The following two links are old, but still hold true. Part 1 C++ Vs. Python vs. Perl vs PHP Performance Benchmark and Part 2 C++ Vs. Python vs. Perl vs PHP Performance Benchmark.
— RoR vs. PHP.
— The most comprehensive benchmark of languages and frameworks.
— Interpreted languages can be faster than assembly. ↩ ↩2