Symfony vs. Laravel: Easing The Selection of The Right PHP Framework

Here is a comparative study of the two most prominent PHP frameworks – Symphony and Laravel!

How to define a technology stack?

A web application consists of the client-side (User frontend) and server-side (not visible to the user). Client-side coding generally consists of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript while server-side coding consists of popular programming languages like Java, Python, Ruby on Rails, PHP, .Net, etc. The database that backs both client and server-side of the application is normally developed in MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, SQL server, etc.

The server handles the client-side requests via Nginx or Apache servers (there can be more options). Therefore a web application requires – front-end, backend, database, framework, and the server.  This constitutes the technology stack of the application.

Side Note: The project to be built and the concerned use-cases must be the major deciding factor for deciding the framework to be used. Will it be an efficient option? Will it save time and effort? Will the app perform better? Will it improve stability? If your framework can give answers to all these questions, then it can be the right option to choose.

If you think oblique, hands-on knowledge of various development frameworks can be one straightway to succeed as a software developer. Making use of a PHP framework is no more aspirational for PHP development companies. There is no harm to be uncommon through going straight, you’ll never get to do it by being crooked. A right PHP framework can help write a clean, error-free code that is comparatively faster and highly performant.

Writing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be the first thing to start with a web/mobile application. Understanding the technology stack is equally important for a project’s success.

Normally any PHP framework is based upon some sort of Model View Controller (MVC). It is, in turn, an architectural pattern in programming that isolates business logic from the User interface, thus enabling one to be distinct. With MVC, the model refers to data, View refers to the presentation layer and Controller refers to the application of business logic. It breaks up the development process of an application so that individual elements can work in isolation (still by remaining unaffected). This speeds up PHP coding.

What is the need to use a PHP Framework?

There are many applications and advantages of using a PHP Framework like:

  • To speed up the development process – code reuse across similar projects saves time, cost and effort.
  • A framework often offers pre-built modules for performing complex coding tasks. This assists developers in utilizing their time and efforts efficiently rather than re-building the foundation with every project.
  • Frameworks define a structure of the application thus providing required stability.
  • Both naïve, as well as experienced programmers, can write PHP code by making use of the frameworks.
  • PHP allows type casting, type juggling, and conversion – thus all the loose ends will be tied up in the coding even if the application seems to be working properly.
  • Lastly, with the availability of many different frameworks, developers can select a PHP framework of choice according to available skillsets, popularity, application areas to be covered, community support, popularity and demand in the market and other statistics.

When to use a PHP framework?

For beginners, a PHP framework offers simplicity and outline to write their code. It becomes easy to help reduce or eliminate bad coding and speed up the PHP build process.

For experienced developers, PHP frameworks are used for quick coding, saving them time and tightening the coding process.

Using a PHP framework works wonders while dealing with a project that is on a strict schedule. It benefits greatly by speeding up the coding process.

What to look into a PHP Framework?

A PHP framework must be easy to use, must provide for rapid development/performance, must be popular amongst developers, and must have strong features and support/forums. Every Framework has varying features, strengths, and weaknesses, user-friendliness and ease of use and scope. These points must be checked while choosing a PHP Framework for your next web project:

  • Determining the main goal of your application
  • Is good documentation available for the concerned technology?
  • Check if the framework has an active user base and development support.
  • Look for the technical properties and features
  • Analyze the timing – the knowledge, performance, and skills of people on the job including the type structure of the chosen framework
  • Also, check the community involvement – how famous is the framework, how many people are involved, and how many people keep using it?
  • How frequently does the developer answer to the issue reports?
  • What is the frequency of pull requests?
  • Are there any consequences of the choice?
  • What is your main purpose behind building the website?
  • Will it be a directory, a social communicating website, an e-commerce platform or just a messaging frame?
    • If it’s about e-commerce, then you would need a framework that provides you with payment gateways and plenty extensions,
    • Alternately, if it’s a messaging frame, it will be a platform that uses databases and multiple servers for faster connectivity and load balancing.
  • Which environment will you be using – what will be the primary goal of the application?
  • A heavy framework requires extra software and PHP modular designs which you may not find with the shared hosting environment, and you would need to additional download it.
  • While a lightweight framework will require fast servers, higher data manipulation rates, and large data processing. MySQL is the best option for such frameworks and provides all additional extensions and libraries needed for the lightweight framework.
  • A framework can even assist a beginner to build a website with a professional look and feel.
  • Is it possible to expand and compress the framework to the limit that is required?
  • Does the framework allow for combining different modules?
  • Does the PHP Framework development company provide regular updates and revisions?
  • Does the PHP Development Service Provider have an updated forum to help its users with the complexities in using the framework?
  • Do the PHP framework web services provide short or long term supports?

Three Types of PHP Framework

PHP frameworks can be of three types: (1) Glue frameworks (Flexible + no tight modules), (2) full-stack frameworks (focused on configuration) and (3) mixed frameworks (a mix of glue and full-stack – either option applicable depending upon the requirement).

When it comes to deciding one framework for your web development project certain major trends cannot be missed. We chose Laravel and Symphony as part of this discussion:

In This Context: Laravel vs. Symphony

Laravel

Laravel has been favored since its inception, more so in the last few years. It simplifies the authorization logic and control access to resources. It supports object-oriented libraries that come with many pre-installed features. Laravel comes with tools like artisan that help simplify programming tasks which have to be otherwise manually performed.

Features:

  • Laravel just supports PHP – no registration required; it does not support XML or YAML.
  • Tools like Artisan are included and help perform tedious programming tasks which are otherwise manually performed by most of the programmers; it also generates new tools with the help of a LOC container
  • It also has support for MVC architecture like Symphony that ensures clarity in logic and presentation.
  • This enables the files to be converted into raw PHP code while processing.
  • Laravel supports many databases such as SQLite, PostgreSQL, Microsoft BI, MySQL, Redis, and MongoDB, etc.
  • Laravel provides for 9000+ packages.
  • It has a structured format that enables its expansion by installing packages or with the usage of extensions to provide better functionalities.
  • Laravel is a full-stack framework that provides functionalities to develop a website and enables back-end database management to frontier programming.
  • Laravel comes with extensive compilers for package distribution and management.
  • Laravel comes with unit test points.
  • It authorizes and implements resources systematically.
  • It automatically detects and scans dependencies and doesn’t require the creation of dependency configurations.
  • It is possible to configure multiple cache configurations with a default file cache driver.
  • It allows applications to send emails through local or cloud-based services and includes drivers for SMTP, Sparkpost, Mandrill, Mailgun, etc., being one step ahead from normal web services and mailer API.
  • It features inbuilt testing functionality, has exceptional error handling and is secure against cross-site scripting, any kind of cross-site forgery and SQL injection, applications built in Laravel frameworks are robust and easily deployable.
  • Laravel has unified API across a variety of different queue backends that defer the processing of a time-consuming task and speed up web requests to the application. It also follows restful routing.
  • Laravel has an auto-loading facility and does not need manual maintenance and inclusion paths.
  • It has various constraints enforced between multiple database objects with the help of an advanced query builder mechanism. It also has Object Relational Mapping (ORM) support with an active record implementation.
  • This framework provides an easy version control system that further simplifies the management of migrations.
  • Laravel is fast and easy to set up and customize.
  • Laravel framework includes Event, Queues & Command Bus which is used to run the command bus. This helps it execute different commands and dispatch different events more efficiently.

Symfony

Symphony is open source, flexible, easy to learn, reliable, has long-term community support, large community, and elaborate documentation.

Features:

  • Symphony supports YAML, PHP, and XML – all require prior registration.
  • Symphony gets regular version upgrades that help in better stimulation.
  • Symphony has got the features of modular as well as full-stack framework, therefore it is the combination of both lower as well as higher-level programming.
  • Symphony as reusable modules that enables developers to scale the modules to higher complexity.
  • It provides ample scope for research and development with the presence of 30+ components.
  • Symphony’s template system is called Twig and has many advantages.
  • Symphony changes the raw PHP code to a simpler language.
  • It supports MongoDB, NoSQL, CouchDB, graph DB, MemCacheDB, MySQL, Microsoft BI, PostgreSQL, GemFire, MemBase, Oracle, DynamoDB, and Apache Jackrabbit. Symphony allows integration of third-party tools, therefore to some extent Laravel is derived from the symphony.
  • Symphony provides long-term support post-release.
  • Offers Autowire dependency injection which is turned off by default and requires some configuration to turn it back on
  • It is the most stable framework after Laravel.
  • It can be used for complex and rapid project development.
  • It is a full-stack framework
  • It has many modules, plenty of additional features and extensions.
  • Has decent community support

Crux: Best PHP Framework 2020

A decent PHP framework is scalable, flexible, modular, easy to program, highly efficient, must support every database management system, and must have error detection and correction features and big community support. All these functions suit Laravel followed by Symphony.

Laravel has been the most liked framework of 2019 and will continue trending in 2020 and onwards, being used by top web development companies India. Choose your PHP framework wisely after scanning all the details and the one that meets almost every requirement.

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