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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

Right PHP Framework For Your Project - Laravel vs Symfony

Right PHP Framework For Your Project - Laravel vs Symfony

While starting a new PHP project, go for a PHP framework, which offers well-organized, maintainable and reusable code. The PHP framework makes it effortless to grow your app over time. In the marketplace, there is a range of PHP framework options, including Laravel, Symfony, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, Silex, Yii, Aura, and Flight.

Choosing a suitable framework is the most confusing part in the early stages of application development. Generally, enterprises choose a PHP framework based on their comfort levels, experience, framework popularity, etc.

In the past, the discussions about the best PHP framework always boiled down to Symfony. However, in the last couple of years, we can find a rapid increase in the popularity of PHP Laravel. So, which PHP framework is right for your project? Before analyzing this, let us have a look at the basics of these two frameworks.

What is Laravel? - A Quick Walk-through 

PHP Laravel

Launch year

2011

Current version

5.8

LTS (long term support)

yes

License (Free for commercial use)

MIT License

PHP Laravel is an open source web framework and is built for MVC (Model-View-Controller) web applications. It offers tools for HTML templates, routing, MVC applications, database interaction, testing and much more. Laravel framework takes the pain areas out of certain sections of the web development process by simplifying common tasks used in most of the projects like routing, authentication queuing, sessions and caching.

What is Symfony PHP? – A Quick walk-through

PHP Symfony

Launch year

2011

Current version

4.2

LTS (long term support)

yes

License (Free for commercial use)

MIT License

PHP Symfony is an enterprise-level web application framework that employs the latest web technologies. It comes with a set of reusable, decoupled PHP libraries/components on which some of the key PHP apps are developed, including PHPBB, Drupal, eZ Publish, etc. This framework is heavily influenced by Spring Framework which utilizes existing Open-source PHP projects including Twig as a template engine, Doctrine as layers for object-relational mapping, PHPUnit as a Testing framework, etc.

Similarities between Symfony and Laravel Framework 

Common Features

Scaffolding

Multi Lingual Content

Full Text Search

Similar System requirements

Operating System

Cross Platform

Multi-user System

Yes

AutoFocus

Yes

Pingback

Yes

Extension/Plug-in

Yes

Image Processing engine

Yes

WYSIWYG - Editor

No

Machine Code Generation

Yes

ORM

Yes

Revision Control

Yes

Multiple Projects

Yes

External Pages

Yes

Both frameworks work in PHP programming language and both are cross-platform in regards to operating systems. PHP Laravel and PHP Symfony are multi-language and multi-user content. Both have built-in MVC and support for text search & scaffolding.

Difference between Laravel and Symfony

Laravel Vs Symfony - Usage Statistics and Market ShareDifference between PHP Framework Laravel & Symfony

PHP Laravel is a modern technology that enables a number of advantages without compromising the functionality of apps. Most of the developers rely on the Laravel framework due to its object-relational mapping (ORM), routing, caching, authentication and eye-catching template design. There are at least more than 1 million websites designed with this PHP framework. As per the research of Similartech, the PHP Laravel Framework is used by 114, 048 websites, which covers shopping, Arts & Entertainment, Business industries, and many other categories.

Though Symfony is one of the most popular backend PHP frameworks, when it comes to a number of websites built on the framework, it still lags behind the PHP Laravel. Similartech states that Symfony is used by 15, 524 websites. Most of the websites built with Symfony belong to the health category. The graph below depicts the usage of these frameworks in various categories:Usage of PHP Framework

When comparing the market share of these frameworks, PHP Laravel clings to the top place as it is leading in the Top 10k, 100k, 1M sites and even the entire web. Here is the comparison chart:Market Share Of PHP Framework

Laravel Vs Symfony - Forms & Validators

PHP Symfony and PHP Laravel differ greatly in the segment of Form validation. Symfony uses a validator component that validates objects against a certain set of rules. Laravel validates some inputs against a limited rule.  However, with PHP Laravel Framework, you can use either ‘form validation’ or ‘manual validation’. As such, in the Symfony Framework, it is hard to validate the same object in various ways. For using customized validation or multi-field validation, PHP Laravel supports with After Validation Hook whereas Symfony requires you to build a completely new validator, which involves two extra files.

Laravel Vs Symfony - Database Support and Migration

Both Symfony and Laravel Frameworks offer ORM (Object Relational Mapping) for data access. In PHP Laravel Framework, Eloquent handles ORM while Symfony PHP uses Doctrine for ORM handling. ORM enables simpler data manipulation for either of these frameworks. PHP Symfony offers automatic database migrations, which requires simple definitions for each field in the database model. PHP Laravel migration is manual, but it doesn’t expect you to define the fields in the model. 

The following table lists the various database-related differences between the PHP Laravel and Symfony:

Laravel Vs Symfony - Database Support and Migration

You can observe PHP Symfony holds more database features compared to PHP Laravel.

Laravel Vs Symfony – Middleware

Both PHP frameworks support middleware, but each employs a diverse pattern. PHP Laravel Framework uses decorator pattern and PHP Symfony relies on the observer pattern. The decorator pattern is meant to create a function to call the next middleware level. Symfony’s Observer involves adding listeners to pre & post events. Each of these solutions includes its own pros and cons.

Laravel Vs Symfony – Speed

PHP Symfony maintains and handles the speed of application very smartly with multiple approaches. For example, developers can handle the speed of an individual feature or an entire application by avoiding external features, which are unnecessary for core functionality or adjusting the programming quality. PHP Laravel Framework doesn’t have any special features to maintain the speed. It mainly guarantees an appropriate version control feature, which aids application migration in the future.

Laravel Vs Symfony - Performance

You can measure the performance of these frameworks by tracking the loading speed of the site built with those frameworks. Laravel websites take around 60 milliseconds as the average loading speed and the Symfony websites take around 250 milliseconds, according to Mobileappdaily. This is because PHP Symfony sites cache the views and source code while PHP Laravel caches only views.

Laravel Vs Symfony - Modularity and Scaling

Both PHP Laravel and Symfony PHP are developed on MVC architecture, but in terms of component reusability and code modularity, Symfony wins over Laravel. It organizes the program in an organized fashion and becomes the perfect fit for larger and complex projects.

Laravel Vs Symfony – Template

Another factor to consider when discussing PHP Laravel Vs Symfony is the template engine. Laravel uses Blade and Symfony uses Twig. Due to code reusability feature, Blade outgrows Twig. Blade enables faster development by allowing PHP Laravel developers to employ the same code multiple times, but Twig requires you to redefine the functions multiple times.

Solving Laravel Vs Symfony PHP framework Dilemma

The functionalities of both PHP Laravel and PHP Symfony make them capable of developing innovative and powerful applications. However, some features of each framework make it more appropriate for certain projects. Hence, when you get confused about, which PHP framework is suitable for your project? – Then ask yourself, what is the primary aim of your project?

PHP Laravel Framework is suitable for Rapid Application Development

From the above discussion on Laravel Vs Symphony, you can observe that PHP Laravel includes its own concept and logic of how your PHP application should be developed. In addition, it is empowered with less code. If you were expecting faster delivery with fewer workforces, then PHP Laravel would be the best choice for your project. It allows the Laravel developers to do more with less code, thereby save effort and time. As they are freed from doing routine, repetitive tasks, they can focus more on core project solutions.

This is because, installing the PHP Laravel framework enables you to access a number of pre-built functionalities like the Object Relational Mapper, Eloquent and Blade. Moreover, the Laravel package is readily available; your Laravel developers don’t need to work on setting them up, since, PHP Laravel includes powerful tools, which helps to automate common processes like queueing, authentication, routing, caching and sessions.

PHP Symfony Framework is a Perfect Match for Business Level Applications

Compared to Laravel, Symfony framework takes more time as well as the resources at the early stages, as it includes much work to configure its elements. Still, it can be a considerable choice for complex projects. Sure, you will get returns for your invested resources, as there will be more scope for custom functionality and changes to meet new requirements of the business.

When you install the Symfony framework, you will get only the skeleton framework without any built-in dependencies like a default library or template engines, which probably you won’t want. Moreover, Symfony includes a modular structure with independent elements. As such, if there is a requirement to introduce deep core modifications to your project, you can re-configure just a certain unit in its architecture instead of the entire project.

In addition, PHP Symfony doesn’t include preset logic to configure elements; hence, it won’t impose its logic on the Symfony developers on how to combine components and bundles into a functioning solution. Developers can use the suitable configuration solution based on their choice.

To conclude, both PHP Laravel and PHP Symfony provide robust functionalities as well as features, which supports ease-up the PHP development process. When you are in the initial phase of a project like a startup product or have small projects, PHP Laravel could be the right choice for you. In addition, several programmers are experts in PHP Laravel; hence, it is easier to scale the project with more Laravel developers. However, if you have a long term complex project, PHP Symfony can be the better choice, as it is fast, expandable, stable, flexible and sustainable.

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