List of PHP Frameworks (33 by the moment)

[Updated: 25th April, 2016] During the past, I was working with several PHP frameworks as Symfony, Yii, Zend, CakePHP, even several “adopted”frameworks. Even I have been woking in Java Frameworks as Spring, JBoss, and others, but I am pretty sure what I want to write in this article: A list of PHP Frameworks. (33 by the moment).

(Spanish note) Nota: En breve estará en español.

The question is: What is the best PHP framework to work in a project? There is no easy answer, it always depends on the kind of project.

So, I have been looking for new frameworks, some of them are completely new to me, but other frameworks are “old friends”. I have written some notes, which could be good for you :) Anyway, if you think that I should write more articles as this one, please press “like” or “share” this post (thank you in advance!). Also, of course, if you know another interesting PHP framework, please add a comment!

Well, in alphabetical order they are: AgileToolkit, Apigility, Aura PHP, Banshee PHP, CakePHP, ClanCats Framework, CodeIgniter, Doctrine, Fat-Free Framework, Flight, FuelPHP, Kohana, KumbiaPHP, Laravel, Lithium Framework 3, Mako Framework, Medoo, MkFramework, Mouf, Openbiz Cubi, Phalcon, PHPixie, PPI, Propel ORM, Silex, Slim, Solar PHP, Symfony, Tyler, Tonic, Yii Framework, Zend Framework, and Zikula.

Enjoy it!

1. AgileToolkit [http://www.agiletoolkit.org]

Currently, they are in the 4.3.2 version, and in theory, it is a good option to build something with a modern perspective in the Frontend, Backend, and RestAPI. Well suitable for CRUD-based interfaces and sophisticated custom web engines.

They say that they are a community of 15,000+ developers, but Alexa Rank puts it in the 2,237,816 position of the global ranking, which is not a good new (it is not a good position).

Reading its forum and its book, my final impression is more or less good.

2. Apigility [https://apigility.org]

Currently, they are in the 1.3.3 version, being based on Zend Framework 2. They are focused as an API Builder and with mobile requirements, providing JSON and using RESTful. They recommend PHP 5.4.8+ for serving the admin user interface.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 492,714 position (which is not so bad), and in general, I think that it is a version pretty light of Zend, which could be good for mobile websites.

3. Aura PHP [http://auraphp.com]

Currently, they are in the 3.0.0 version (launched on December 1st, 2015), and in the middle of its website you can read “High-performance tools for high-performance applications”, so you can imagine how this framework is. This framework has a set of packages and its first version began as a rewrite of Solar.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 783,146 position.

4. Banshee PHP [http://www.banshee-php.org]

Currently, they are in the 5.2 version (only one month ago), and they are focused on the security of its framework: “Banshee, the secure PHP framework”. They are using Ajax request, several libraries, and they are using an MVC architecture but with the controller and model as optional…

Alexa Rank puts it in the 1,419,859 position, and again, reading about my impression is not bad at all, but maybe it is a bit light.

5. CakePHP [http://cakephp.org]

Currently, they are in the 3.2 version (one some days ago), and yes, it is one of my old friends. In resume, they comment as its qualities: build quickly, no configuration, friendly license, batteries included, clean MVC Conventions, and Secure.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 15,836 (it is a very important website). From my point of view, it is a very good framework, and it has a great support, a lot of contributors, plugins, manuals and more.

It is a great PHP framework for all kind of websites, and some examples are the websites of BMW, Hyundai, MIT, Sainsbury’s and more.

6. ClanCats Framework [http://www.clancats.io]

Currently, they are in the 2.0 version, and they have the idea of connecting different modules together in order to form an application quickly. They say: “The idea is simple: write code just once instead of over and over again for every project”.

Alexa Rank don’t put it in its rank, which is not normal. However, I was reading the website and it is pretty interesting from my point of view, with several components but without a forum or some help.

7. CodeIgniter [https://www.codeigniter.com]

Currently, they are in the 3.0.6 version (they update very often). They are other big cheese in the world of the PHP frameworks, and everybody knows about it. They wrote several reasons “why” CodeIgniter is a great option: Framework with a small footprint, exception performance, clear documentation, no large-scale monolithic library, compatibility, nearly zero configuration, no need for template language, no restrictive coding rules, and simple solutions over complexity.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 9,995 (it is an amazing position!). It is a great framework, I have heard about it a lot, and checking its forum I can see that they have a lot of activity. However, I didn’t use it previously, and maybe it could be a good moment to make a new friend :-)

Another thing which is interesting is a comment from the author: “Part of my goal is to build a “living lab” around this project, teaching my students how to work on open source projects, and having them help make this the best one ever! I welcome collaboration, on any level, with other academics. This could be in the form of sharing teaching materials, working on this or your open source project, or even just sharing experiences“.

8. Doctrine [http://www.doctrine-project.org]

Really it is a set of several PHP libraries focused on database storage and object mapping. Depending on the library, it has a different version, but I can say that there are several updates very often. This project started in 2006 and it has 5 important projects: ORM (object-relational mapper), DBAL, MongoDB Document Mapper, PHPCR Document Mapper and Common Libraries.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 79,204 position, which is pretty good. Depending on what you are looking for, it is possible that some of this project could be the thing that you are looking for.

Entities in Doctrine 2 are lightweight PHP Objects that contain persistable properties. As an implementation of the data mapper pattern:

 $user = new User();
 $user->name = "john1";
 $user->password = "doe";
 $entityManager->persist($user);
 $entityManager->flush();
 echo "The user with id $user->id has been saved.";

9. Fat-Free Framework [http://fatfreeframework.com]

Currently, they are in the 3.5 version. Fat-Free Framework is free and released as open source software covered by the terms of the GNU Public License, which stated in 2009. It is pretty easy in order to use, and also, it is super lightweight. They indicate: “A powerful yet easy-to-use PHP micro-framework designed to help you build dynamic and robust web applications – fast!“. And well, checking its website, it is apparently easy to use.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 289,662 position. Of course, if my project is a small project, I think that it could be a good solution. Also, there are several plugins around this project.

10. Flight [http://flightphp.com]

About its version, I am not sure what they are using, but I can check that it was done the 31st December 2015.

In all the cases, as they tell: “Flight is a fast, simple, extensible framework for PHP. Flight enables you to quickly and easily build RESTful web applications“. In order to run you need PHP 5.3 or greater, and you can use composer or download it directly. In order to know some details about its code, you can check its GitHub account: https://github.com/mikecao/flight

require 'flight/Flight.php';
Flight::route('/', function(){
 echo 'hello world!';
});
Flight::start();

Alexa Rank puts it in the 507,545 position. Maybe I cannot tell you that it is a very good result, but in order to create something quickly, the probability it is an excellent option, even more if you are going to use RESTful very often.

11. FuelPHP [http://fuelphp.com]

Currently, they are in the 1.7.3 version. As we can read on its website: “FuelPHP is a simple, flexible, community driven PHP 5.3+ framework, based on the best ideas of other frameworks, with a fresh start!“. Really it is not the first time that I have heard about FuelPHP, and maybe it is a very common PHP framework in other countries, but I haven’t “play” with it previously. Anyway, checking its documentation, I can see that it is (apparently) a great framework, with an active forum, several API’s and more. Of course, I should check it in the future :-)

Alexa Rank puts it in the 188,248, which is good. I could say with it that probability I didn’t work with something very used in the world of PHP. Well, a lot of things to do…

12. Kohana [https://kohanaframework.org]

Currently, they are in the 3.3.5 version. It was updated some weeks ago. As we can read: “An elegant HMVC PHP5 framework that provides a rich set of components for building web applications“.  It requires very little configuration, fully supports UTF-8 and i18n, and provides many of the tools that a developer needs within a highly flexible system. The integrated class auto-loading, cascading filesystem, highly consistent API, and easy integration with vendor libraries make it viable for any project, large or small.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 104,915, which is amazing for me because I haven’t heard about it before. There are a nice forum and amount of documentation, and even it has 2141 questions tagged in stackoverflow.com! Yes, I should check it too.

13. KumbiaPHP [http://www.kumbiaphp.com]

Currently, they are in the 1.0 RC version. It is a Spanish web and MVC PHP framework, where the REST services are very often used here.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 775,753 position. Apparently it is a young project, and speaking in the Spanish language in the forum could be a problem for a lot of people.

14. Laravel [https://laravel.com]

It has several versions depending on Lumen (a fast micro-framework by Laravel) and the “normal” version, which is in the 5.2.28 version. It is a web application PHP framework based in Symfony, very know in the world of PHP development area. We can read on its website: “Value elegance, simplicity, and readability? You’ll fit right in. Laravel is designed for people just like you. If you need help getting started, check out Laracasts and our great documentation“. In theory, Laravel attempts to take the pain out of development by easing common tasks used in the majority of web projects, such as authentication, routing, sessions, and caching.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 6,342 position, amazing! If you are a PHP developer, you should check it. The code is very nice and easy to use. Even if you want work quickly, you can use the light version, Lumen, which I commented before. On 23-24th August, there is a conference about it called Laracon in Europe (in Amsterdam, Netherlands). Also, in the US, on 27-29th July, Laracon in US (Louisville, Kentucky).

As you can imagine, it is not a simple PHP framework.

15. Lithium Framework 3 (or li3) [http://li3.me]

Currently, the are in the 1.0.0-RC4 released version, which was updated 3 months. They started in 2009, and it has several API and a nice manual. However, I didn’t hear about it very often.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 1,203,556 position, which is not a great position.

16. Mako Framework [http://makoframework.com]

Currently, they are in the 4.5 version. It is an open source, lightweight and easy to use PHP framework, as they tell. In order to start a new project, it is so simple as a simple line (using composer):

foo@server:~$ cd /srv/www
foo@server:/srv/www$ composer create-project mako/app:4.* <project name>

Alexa Rank puts it in the 593,511 position, which is not very good. However, I was checking its website and there are several interesting things in order to write easy code, as a connection for a NoSQL Database, authentication, events and more. Of course, I should check it in order to give more information, but my first impression is good.

17. Medoo [http://medoo.in]

As they say: “The lightest PHP database framework to accelerate development“. Certainly, you can download the 1.0.2 version (the current version, which was online 2 months ago) in a zip file of 22.5KB. Also, you can use composer to install it.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 186,384 position, which is good, even more for a light PHP framework. You can use PHP >5.4, and you can use the code freely under the MIT license. In addition, it as several possibilities, even more if you are going to use the DB very often.

18. MkFramework [http://mkframework.com]

Currently, they are in the 4.124.2 version, updated 2 months ago. Apparently it is a French PHP framework, which has several plugins.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 11,483,659 position, which is not good.

19. Mouf [http://mouf-php.com]

They have several plugins and packages, being the most interesting package for us Mouf PHP Framework, which is in the 2.0.12 version. It requires PHP 5.4+.

Alexa Rank puts it in the 1,588,612 position. It has several instructions to use the packages, which you can see here as a chart.

20. Openbiz Cubi [http://www.openbiz.me]

Its website is not online right now, and apparently they haven’t updated since 2013. As you can check in SourceFourge, the 3.0.8 version was the last one: https://sourceforge.net/projects/bigchef

Anyway, Alexa Rank puts its website at the 5,323,171 position.

21. Phalcon [https://phalconphp.com]

Currently, they are in the 4.5 version. It is a big cheese in the world of PHP, and it has a very good forum, a lot of documentation and a lot of resources for its framework (you can see these Phalcon Framework Resources at https://phalconist.com).

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 23,967, which is a very good position. Thinking about its importance in the PHP world, it is normal.

As they say: “Phalcon is an open source, full stack framework for PHP written as a C-extension, optimized for high performance. You don’t need to learn or use the C language since the functionality is exposed as PHP classes ready for you to use. Phalcon also is loosely coupled, allowing you to use its objects as glue components based on the needs of your application” . In fact, it is not as a toy, it is a very professional PHP framework.

22. PHPixie [https://phpixie.com]

Currently, they are in the 2.X version. As they say, it is a modern well architected PHP framework, and it is possible to learn PHPixie in 30 minutes: Ease of use, solid foundation, and total flexibility.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 453,681 position. They have several tutorials, modules (as the authentication, cache and pagination modules), and even a blog with a lot of activity.

23. PPI [http://www.ppi.io]

Currently, they are in the 2.1.2 version (launched about 2 months ago). On its website you can read: “PPI is a framework delivery engine. Using the concept of microservices, it lets you choose which parts of frameworks you wish to use on a per-feature basis. As such each feature makes its own independent decisions, allowing you to pick the best tools from the best PHP frameworks“.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 3,006,441 position. Maybe, the reason of this position is that they are using another website to speak: https://gitter.im/ppi/framework (yes, they have a web-chat, and there are a lot of people there).

24. Propel ORM [http://propelorm.org]

Currently, they are in the 1.7 version (the stable version I mean, they are working on the version 2, and it is possible to download it, but it is unstable). As you can read on its website: “A highly customizable and blazing fast ORM library for PHP 5.5+“. You can download Propel using Composer, Gut, Subversion, or with the “typical” ZIP file.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 310,915 position. In order to work with this, there are several mailing lists, glitter, IRC and a lot of documentation.

25. Silex [http://silex.sensiolabs.org]

Currently, they are in the 1.3 version. It is a micro-framework based on the Symfony2 Components, and even it has 2 version: fat and slim. There are a lot of documentation and it has the “good” guaranty of a SensioLabs product.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 27,070 position, and the reason for this good result is that Alexa is checking the website of sensiolabs.org (and not the subdomain). So, we cannot know how is the rank of this subdomain. Anyway, I insist that a product of SensioLabs is (normally) a good software (I should test it in order to stay sure).

26. Slim [http://www.slimframework.com]

Currently, they are in the 3.3.0 version, which was launched one month ago. As you can read on its website: “Slim is a PHP micro framework that helps you quickly write simple yet powerful web applications and APIs“. In fact, we can read another point: “At its core, Slim is a dispatcher that receives an HTTP request, invokes an appropriate callback routine, and returns an HTTP response. That’s it“.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 40,797 position, which is great, even more thinking that it is a PHP micro framework. In fact, it is possible to see a lot of activity in its forum (discourse area) and blog, and there are a lot of documentation about this framework.

27. Solar PHP [http://solarphp.com]

The last update was in 2010, which was a long time ago. That it is the reason why it has not a lot of visits and it is not interesting currently. Alexa Rank puts its website in the 4,218,582 position.

28. Symfony [https://symfony.com]

The are using 2 versions: Symfony 3.0 for the latest features (end of support: July 2016) and Symfony 2.8 for long-term support (end of support: November 2018). It is my favorite PHP framework, and with Zend, I think that they are the most important PHP frameworks (at least in the UK). Symfony is a SensioLabs Product, and some projects using Symfony are, for example, Drupal, phpBB, Laravel, eZ, OROCRM, PIWIK and more. As you can read on its website: “Symfony is a set of reusable PHP components and a PHP framework for web projects”.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 10,378 position, which is great and interesting, even more thinking that Laravel, which is based in Symfony as I wrote, has a better position. Anyway, for me, Symfony is the best :-P

Also, Symfony organizes several events every year, as conferences (in Paris, Cologne, London, Berlin, …), training courses and even a Symfony Certification.

29. Tyler [https://tyler.io/simple-php-framework]

It is called by its website as The Simple PHP Framework. This project was used by a developer who shares it with everybody. Maybe it was not a good idea add this PHP framework, but you can use and it is free, so, why not? Alexa Rank puts it in the 1,175,057 position, which is even more than other frameworks.

30. Tonic [http://www.peej.co.uk/tonic]

As you can read on its website: “Tonic is an open source less is more, RESTful Web application development PHP library designed to do things “the right way”, where resources are king and the library gets out of the way and leaves the developer to get on with it“. It is a project done by Paul James, and the last update of this project was on 25th June 2015.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 953,542 position, which does reference to all the web page, including other projects and several articles apart of this PHP framework.

31. Yii Framework [http://www.yiiframework.com]

Currently, it is working with 2 versions of Yii: 2.0 (exactly the 2.0.7, released in February, for PHP >5.4.0) and 1.1 (which will be support and bug fixed until December 31, 2016, and security fixes until December 31,2018). This is other of my old friends, and I did some project with this framework.

As you can read on its website: “The Fast, Secure and Professional PHP Framework“. Fast because “Yii only loads the features that you need. It has powerful caching support. It is explicitly designed to work efficiently with AJAX“, secure because “Security comes as standard with Yii. It includes input validation, output filtering, SQL injection and Cross-site scripting prevention“, and professional because “Yii helps you develop clean and reusable code. It follows the MVC pattern, ensuring a clear separation of logic and presentation“.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 6,815 position, wich is amazing! This is the “typical” framework you should try in order to improve your PHP skills. In fact, there are a lot of documentation, a great community, and more a more reason to work with it.

32. Zend Framework [http://framework.zend.com]

Currently, they are working with the Zend Framework 3 (ZF3), which is an evolution from ZF2, concentrating on simplicity, reusability, and performance.In fact, ZF2 is most used than ZF3 at the moment, which is in the version 2.5+. From its website, also, you can download the Zend Server (to develop, deploy and manage your business-critical PHP application) and Zend Studio (which is a PHP IDE designed for business critical applications).

As far as I know, the ZF2 is the most important PHP framework (but it is not my prefer one). It is open source, with over 15 million downloads, using PHPUnit, supporting Pyrus and Composer, and using PHP 5.3+. It is a Zend Technology, and a lot of companies as Google, Microsoft and StrikeIron have partnered with Zend to provide interfaces to web services and other technologies.

Alexa Rank puts its subdomain in the 14,732, which is great, of course! There are a lot of websites who speak about it, with several forums and a lot of interesting information. Even there are certificates which are very important in the PHP world.

33. Zikula [http://zikula.org]

Currently, they are in the 1.4.2 version. Zikula 1.4 has Symfony at its foundation, which includes Doctrine. Also, Zikula 1.4 integrates Twitter’s Bootstrap 3 and Font Awesome 4, and even jQuery in order to improve the web user interfaces and effects. As you can read on its website: “Zikula is an OpenSource PHP Application Framework and CMS for your website”.

Alexa Rank puts its website in the 585,542 position. If you check its website, you will see several extension and a forum.

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