I will let you decide after reading the post below:
A lot of PHP frameworks out there and theres too much of a confusion isn’t it?
It is difficult to have an objective opinion as I’ve used the most, I know that there are a lot of other PHP frameworks and the list is huge and it is impossible to compare all of them! That’s why I believe that if we compared just the frameworks that I have experience with, it will also help you decide which framework fits better for your needs!
Theres no straightforward answer on the question asked. I will give you examples… if the questions were a bit more specific then maybe I could reply with the more specific answer.
Which is the best for performance? Easy answer as well Phalcon!
Which is the most famous PHP framework? The answer is Laravel!
Which is the most fast to learn? The answer is CodeIgniter!
Which is the most extendable? The answer is Symfony framework!
The most difficult to explain to other developers is different frameworks solves different problems.
I will go through the frameworks alphabetically so I will not have to choose which one is the number one.
Everything that I’m about to say is my personal experience at my firm Cre8ive Labs so if you disagree with something that’s fine!
Already heard of it before? It is one of the simplest PHP frameworks because the documentation is huge and you can find many questions answered on Stack Overflow and by just googling it!
Beginners should really start with CodeIgnitor to simply use power of the libraries. It is powerful but beware that you don’t end up writing too many lines of code for something that could be handled differently. It has really fast rendering and performance as it has smaller footprint when the libraries are called in comparison with other frameworks! So start using Codeigniter as you will end up learn the framework very fast.
Trust me you will either love either hate the framework! People love it because the code is clean and it follows good practices. Also it is the most famous framework out there and hence you can find plenty libraries that you can use and it is also a preferable framework from companies. On the other hand people hate it because it is more difficult to learn and because they believe it is slow! The slow part is kind of true to be honest but have in mind that if you use PHP 7 and start using good practices in Laravel such as caching with OP cache and caching the slow responses, you will see big improvements on the performance of Laravel. Also if you would like a lighter version of Laravel I would also definitely suggest the mini framework of Laravel with named Lumen! I don’t want to extend my opinion for Laravel, as you can find plenty of articles talking about it. As a summary in my opinion use Laravel if your business can afford the learning curve of Laravel! If you would like clean code and you care about what is on the background that’s running! If you would like to see how it is to use the latest technologies and best practices on programming. If you are a big team and the project is getting bigger and bigger. Have in mind that Laravel will also help bigger teams as there are plenty of very good tutorials to learn it. And lastly use Laravel if you know that you can configure the server with the best possible way in order to use latest PHP versions and caching. If you are using a simple cheap hosting I wouldn’t suggest it as you will probably struggle with the performance of Laravel.
Next is Phalcon or else one of the fastest framework out there! The framework is built with C and that’s the main reason that it’s super super fast! People that will see some benchmarks can’t skip the fact that it’s really a fast framework! On the other hand I personally find it really difficult to use it as the documentation is not as easy in comparison with other frameworks. I’m not sure if it is the documentation that is not good or the syntax to use it but I couldn’t get used to it to write to Phalcon. The main problem that you may experience is that if you are creating a product for lot of customers – for example let’s say that you are a Web Agency – you will need to make sure that your customer’s server is configurable to install PHP extensions like Phalcon. And lastly I couldn’t find too many extensions of Phalcon! I guess it doesn’t fit very well for a PHP developer to write extension in C? Who knows? Now don’t get me wrong! Phalcon is a fantastic framework and it does the work very very well and very fast! And it is a very stable framework as well. From the people that use it for a while it seems that they never had big issues with the framework. It is just that in my personal taste I never liked it so much and I was struggling to configure it. If the performance of your server is the number one priority for you then I think Phalcon is the best solution that you can get as an MVC PHP framework!
Now let’s go to Slim! If you are an experienced Web Developer in PHP you will probably heard about Slim framework, although it is very possible that you’ve never probably worked in a company asking you to know Slim or using them extensively! To be honest Slim is not so famous as a framework as in my personal opinion is a too abstract framework! On the other hand is a very good framework to use if you want to start fast and you have plans that you will have a unique architecture of your project! So I would suggest Slim mainly to be used by more experienced developers as it is giving you the complete freedom to use it with your way! That simply means that if you don’t know what you are doing you will probably end up with too much lines of code. Slim is a very good and light framework but I wouldn’t suggest it for Junior developers! I would suggest Slim for experienced PHP developers that will like a more simple and a light framework at the same time… or to create a very fast demo project at the beginning!
Next one in our list is Symfony framework! I have to be honest here that’s the only framework that I don’t have a full opinion as I’ve never used it as a primary framework. On the other hand I am always using their awesome composer libraries! I’m using Symfony libraries for a while now and the main feedback that I have for Symfony is that they are doing a really great work when they are creating libraries! Really the best libraries and with very good documentation! However to use Symfony as your primary framework is not that simple as it is a huge framework in my opinion.
If you would like a simple framework to start is their mini framework with name Silex. Some friends of mine are using Silex and they are very impressed about the power of the mini framework.
Next one in our list is Zend Framework! Always when I’m referring to Zend Framework as one of my favourite frameworks people go like…. whaaaat? Seriously man this is the most complicated framework I’ve ever used! I prefer to write my code in Java! So many lines of code for one simple thing …. and so on… well people are… right! It is complicated, there is no good documentation and Zend framework is a huge monster! However the libraries are unique and fully extendable and that’s why I’m using it! In fact Grocery CRUD Enterprise using it primarily for the database connections and so far it’s been a great choice! The only flaw really is the documentation that I think is really really poor! I was using Zend Framework V1 extensively and I am using Zend Framework 2 and I’m very impressed about the stability that their libraries have! I would suggest Zend Framework only to very experienced developers… and just because you asked it YES it is very close like writing Java! And finally we have the way to not use any PHP framework and just use composer packages! For this I have to say only one thing! You have to be really careful as your project may become huge.
As a summary use whatever framework fits to YOU and don’t listen the trends if you are happy with the framework that you are using. For me the important rule to follow is that don’t stay to… “it works” but also have the extendability of the project in mind. Usually most of the projects are starting small and they are getting bigger and bigger so you have to be careful that you know what you are doing when you are choosing a framework.