What is a PHP Framework ?
Basically, PHP is server side scripting language. Using PHP we can create dynamic web page. PHP is the world’s most popular scripting language for many different reasons – flexibility, ease-of-use, among others – but often times coding in PHP, or any language for that matter, can get rather monotonous and repetitive. That’s where a PHP framework can help - which saves you time, helps build more stable applications, and reduces the amount of repetitive coding for developers. Frameworks can also help beginners to build more stable apps by ensuring proper database interaction and coding on the presentation layer. This allows you to spend more time creating the actual web application, instead of spending time writing repetitive code.
The general idea behind the workings of a PHP framework is referred to as Model View Controller (MVC). MVC is an architectural pattern in programming that isolates business logic from the UI, allowing one to be modified separately from the other (also known as separation of concerns). With MVC, Model refers to data, View refers to the presentation layer, and Controller to the application or business logic. Basically, MVC breaks up the development process of an application, so you can work on individual elements while others are unaffected. Essentially, this makes coding in PHP faster and less complicated.
Why Should we use a PHP Framework?
Developers should utilize PHP frameworks for various reasons, but the number one reason is for speeding up the development process. Reusing code across similar projects will save the developer a substantial amount of time and effort. A framework offers pre-built modules for performing tedious coding tasks, so the developer can spend their time on developing the actual application rather than re-building the foundation with each and every project.
Stability is another big reason developers are utilizing frameworks. While simplicity is one of PHP’s greatest assets, and the reason many people prefer to use this scripting language, it can also be one of its biggest downfalls. It’s fairly easy, especially for beginners, to write bad code and not even realize it. With PHP the application will often times still work, but unknowingly you may have opened up a large security hole in your coding that may be susceptible to attacks. It’s important to remember that PHP is a very forgiving language, so it’s even more important to make sure to tie up any loose ends in your coding – even if the application seems to be working properly.
Finally, the availability of PHP frameworks is extensive, and there are many different frameworks to choose from. You can even create your own, although many developers elect to choose from any of the most well-known frameworks due to their popularity, large support teams, and their forums/communities that allow you to interact with other developers who utilize the same framework. As a side note, you should always examine your project to first decide if you should even use a framework or not. Some questions you should ask yourself are: Will it save you, and anyone else who may use it, time and effort? Will the app perform better? Will it improve stability? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, a PHP framework may be the right answer for that particular project.
When to use a PHP Framework?
This is a common question amongst experienced and beginner developers alike, and there’s really no direct answer to the question. For many beginners, a framework will offer greater simplicity as well stability, so it may be a good idea to use PHP frameworks whenever possible. It will help reduce or eliminate bad coding and speed up the build process.
On the other hand, many experienced PHP programmers see frameworks as tools for “weak” programmers that don’t understand how to write good, clean code. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, but the fact of the matter is that PHP frameworks are a tool that can be used to save time and tighten up one’s coding.
When working on a project with tight deadlines, utilizing a PHP framework is a huge benefit that can greatly speed up the coding process. So if you’re in a time crunch, PHP frameworks can be very beneficial to you. Another instance when PHP frameworks should be a consideration is when you’re working on projects with substantial amounts of monotonous coding, because it will help make the job much less tedious.
What to Look for in a PHP Framework?
There’s plenty of options available to anyone who may be searching for PHP frameworks, and there’s even the option of creating your own, although that’s only recommended for PHP experts. When searching for the the PHP framework best suited for your needs, it’s important to keep in mind who will be using and/or modifying your applications from top to bottom. If there are many people who will be using the application, it may be best use a popular PHP framework that many developers are familiar with. On the other hand, if you wish to build web applications for your own personal use, you are better off choosing any PHP framework that you’re comfortable with – whether it’s popular amongst the developer community or not.
Various factors to search for in a PHP framework include: easy of use, rapid development/performance, popularity amongst other developers, strong features, and support/forums. It’s recommended to try out several PHP frameworks when you’re first starting out in order to find one that suits your needs the best. All frameworks are slightly different and have varying strengths and weaknesses, for instance Zend Framework has been around since V3 and is full of features plus has an extensive support system in place since it has been around for so long. On the contrary, CakePHP is another PHP framework which is younger than Zend Framework and has slightly less of a support system in place (although support for this framework is growing rapidly), but is much more user-friendly and easy to use.
As you can see, each type of PHP framework has its own advantages, so it’s best to use a bit of trial and error to figure out which one will work the best for your needs. Another excellent way of choosing a framework is to consult your colleagues in the development community to see which ones they prefer. Those who have actually used a specific framework will be able to inform you of the ease-of-use, features, support availability, scope of the community surrounding the framework, and possible shortfalls.
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