PHP has been used to develop dynamic website for many years. In fact today it is one of the most widely used server-side scripting languages to be used for web development. The programming language which was initially used only for coding server-side web development, the focus today is more on providing the building blocks and the overall design structure that helps in web development. These building blocks, known as frameworks, have eased out the long-drawn development process, working as a guiding tool for developers to build various kinds of website.
Each PHP framework can be used for developing specific kinds of websites. It is thus important to zero in on the right PHP framework using which developers can neatly arrange codes. There are different kinds of PHP framework available in the market, each having their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Checking out the pros and cons will help in selecting the right framework.
Advantages of PHP Framework
- A framework works like a library where all the tools, the codes and other necessary items are documented. Access to this library helps in websites quickly.
- Prototypes can be quickly developed.
- Sites are more stable as the underlying codes are rarely changed.
- Since the code structure remains same, jumping from one project to another isn’t difficult.
Disadvantages of PHP Framework
- Understanding and learning how to use a framework can be tiresome and sometimes difficult.
- Not many PHP developers will have a thorough knowledge of all the frameworks available.
- The core of the framework cannot be changed or even modified thus limiting the changes of experimentation.
- Since the frameworks are out in the open for anyone to use, hackers can easily crack a website’s code.
How to Choose the Correct PHP Framework
Based on Your Need
It is very important to know who you need a PHP framework. To build an ecommerce platform, you will need to use a framework that has some work done payment gateways. On the other hand, to build a lightweight platform for messaging, the framework will need to be scalable enough.
Hosting and Database Environment
Different frameworks work on different environments. A lightweight framework may not be able to take the load of processing continuous information whereas some other framework which might require additional PHP modules may not be able to work on shared servers. These are just some of the hosting and database storage issues that need to be considered before selecting any PHP framework. To further illustrate the point, let’s look at this example: the PHP framework CodeIgniter works only on MySQL, Oracle, and SQLite database whereas Kohana doesn’t support either Oracle or SQLite.
Regularly Updated Documentation
Many times a framework may be launched with much fanfare but over time it might fail to live up to the expectations. Thus developers need to be weary of such frameworks. If the framework doesn’t have any documentation or user guide, developers should start looking for another framework. It is also important to see that the framework is regularly updated and all changes can be easily understood.
The MVC Architecture
The most basic requirement that should be carefully noted and checked is the MVC architecture. The MVC architecture is the base of the framework and should be working without any glitches. It should also be noted that a good framework will have additional offers such as plugins, libraries, extensions, helpers etc.
Some Popular PHP Frameworks
CodeIgniter: CodeIgniter framework is lightweight and can be used to develop simple sites and web applications. CodeIgniter has a large community which is actively involved in improving the framework. It also has good documentation.
CakePHP: Taking inspiration from Ruby on Rails, the CakePHP is simple to understand but very effective to use. The framework is PHP4 compatible and works great to develop and maintain applications. The Cake Bakery is one of the key highlights of the framework which allows third-party developers to add their codes and share it with the vast CakePHP community.
Zend Framework: A framework for the experienced developers, Zend Framework is modular, with the ability to use the libraries as standalones. Zend is robust but it isn’t easy for all. The heavy documentation makes it difficult to get started easily.