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PHP Frameworks, which to choose in 2014? A comparison

As a PHP developer, we often get bored with one PHP framework and looks for some advanced feature rich framework which can make life easier. To explain briefly about framework;  a framework provides a set of functions and classes to help developers write code faster and more structured.

Most of them implement certain design patters, of which MVC is by far the most popular. The main aim of MVC is to separate the database related code (Model) from application-specific code (Controller) from its html (View). It also features a URL-mapping system to create search engine friendly “clean url” and to separate the code-files from the actual urls. But there is a much discussion all around because some prefer performance, some prefer better documentation, some prefer amount of built-in functions etc. Today here in this article, I am going to discuss some featured PHP frameworks which surely help you to choose best for your next project.


Zend Framework


We all familiar with Zend framework which is a first choice of most of developers. It has a loosely coupled architecture which allows developers to use components individually. Actually the component structure of Zend Framework is somewhat unique and each component is designed with few dependencies on other components.

Zend Framework is still a choice of most of developers which offers a robust, high performance MVC implementation, a database abstraction that is simple to use, and a forms component that implements HTML form rendering, validation, and filtering so that developers can consolidate all of these operations using one easy-to-use, object oriented interface. Few other components, such as Zend_Auth and Zend_Acl, provide user authentication and authorization against all common credential stores. It also provides many useful component which you can use according to your application need to reduce development time.


codeignitor php framework

Codeigniter is also a lightweight PHP framework with mvc pattern. It’s a choice of most of php developer. It’s relatively easy to learn. Feature wise, Codeigniter is powerful frameworks such as Zend and Cake. Its major goal is to enable you to develop projects much faster than you could, by providing a rich set of libraries for commonly needed tasks, as well as a simple interface and logical structure to access these libraries.


Symfony is a recognized PHP Framework with some awesome feature. Symfony is aimed at building robust applications in an enterprise context, and aims to give developers full control over the configuration: from the directory structure to the foreign libraries, almost everything can be customized. To match enterprise development guidelines, Symfony is bundled with additional tools to help developers test, debug and document projects.

Many developers say that Symfony is slower for small websites because of the weight of the framework. A lot of code must be executed for each request. But I think it still be a best choice for large projects. It’s a stable open-source just like Zend, so you can go with it without any hesitation.

Yii Framework

Yii is a popular high-performance PHP framework best for developing Web 2.0 applications. Yii comes with rich features like MVC, DAO/ActiveRecord, I18N/L10N, caching, authentication and role-based access control, scaffolding, testing, etc. It can reduce your development time significantly.

Yii only loads the features that you need. It has powerful caching support. It is explicitly designed to work efficiently with AJAX. Security comes as standard with Yii. It includes input validation, output filtering, SQL injection and Cross-site scripting prevention. All features are encouraging, so yii also be a good choice.


An elegant HMVC PHP5 framework that provides a rich set of components for building web applications. It’s a fork of Codeigniter. With Kohna, each website needs a different Kohana “installation”. However it is just a server setup check. Not difficult or special. Kohana works with the MVC-concept incl. mapping.Configuration is mainly in application/bootstrap.php and modules/…/database.php. It is lightweight and fast. It all seems nice and clean, so you can go with it.


Laravel is a new name in web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax. It’s also worth checking as it aims to make the development process a pleasing one for the developer without sacrificing application functionality. It provides powerful tools needed for large, robust applications. It also give superb inversion of control container, expressive migration system, and tightly integrated unit testing support give you the tools you need to build any application with which you are tasked.


CakePHP is a popular framework for web application development. It’s a feature rich light weight PHP framework comes with a lot of features like code generation, translations, database access, caching, validation, authentication etc.

Final Thoughts

There is a long list of PHP framework, but I have analysed some of them. As you have seen that Zend and Symfony are full of functionality but not suitable for small projects. Codeigniter and Lavarel attract more because they are lightwieght and suitable for all kind of projects. So you can give Codeignitor and Lavarel a serious try. Also you can check out for Kohana. If you are looking for well establish PHP framework for large project then Zend and Symfony would be best choice. So enjoy this and don’t forget to give your input via comments, Thanks!

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By Laeeq

Laeeq is a web developer with an eye for design from India. He founded Web Revisions in 2012 and it still is his favorite side project. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or even by subscribing to our RSS Feed.

  • http://MegaStoon.Com Wajid

    Nce analysis!

  • Vazgen Manukyna

    Really amazing article!

  • http://21coder.com Tapan Kumer Das

    Nice article. I am a fan of CodeIgniter. Now a days think to try Laravel. Heard of it a lot.

  • William

    Thanks for the analysis

  • Vic

    Good analysis…keep it up!

  • http://anilkajadoo.blogspot.in/ Anil Kumar Buddha

    Thanks for the analysis. I also love to develop the applications in CI.
    Anyone tried on Laravel?

  • Lumbendil

    The logo & website of symfony are the old ones (symfony-project, symfony1). It should be Symfony2, http://symfony.com :)

    Good work on the analysis.

    • http://elcuchitril.es Aitor Suso

      I have the same comment

      good work

  • http://www.maomuffy.com Mfawa Alfred Onen

    Thanks for the post. This however, is more of an introduction to the various frameworks than it is a comparison because you only scratched the highly overview of what they do.

  • http://www.thinkdigit.com Zameer

    Nice article….keep it up bro

  • critq

    php in 2014? Go learn ruby/rails or python/django :)

  • http://www.nightrain.naetech.com Roosevelt P

    You may want to update your post and go over the testing features as well. I have used Zend and CakePHP in the past and their testing support for Unit Testing and Functional Tests are great. It will be cool to see what other frameworks can do in terms of testing.

  • http://code2script.com Code2script

    Thank you for post this article…..
    Really Good article

  • http://www.designerledger.com/ Waheed Akhtar

    Really great analysis about PHP framework for 2014, thanks!

  • http://phpflow.com/ Parvej

    Yes …I’m been working with Yii2 and its simply amazing with all the changes Looking forward to a final release in 2014.

  • http://www.techarise.com Jaeem

    I love coding with Laravel, it empowers my projects!

  • Jhon

    Worth looking at latest Cygnite PHP Framework. Composer powered, Code generation, Schema builder, Restful Routing etc. Gonna try.



    • Richard

      Hi Jhon,
      I just used Cygnite CLI. It is amusing. Single command did the magic to generate crud application.

      Though it is new but It seems Cygnite Framework will catch developers eye sooner. It has various good features in it.

      I started using, cool. Thanks for directing me to Cygnite.

  • http://zettut.blogspot.com Fabien Zet

    I like Symfony, because I work with it :D & it’s base of Drupal 8 :)

  • http://www.banshee-php.org/ Hugo Leisink

    For a framework / CMS that takes security very seriously, there is only one choice: Banshee PHP framework http://www.banshee-php.org/