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Getting started with: Zend Framework, symfony and CakePHP

This article was posted at IBM developerWorks a few days ago – I don’t know how I missed it. The article gets you started on three of the most popular PHP MVC Frameworks. Surprisingly, Code Igniter, which is my second option next to Zend Framework is not included in the article. Definitely as must read for anyone who is into MVC Development.

Here is a snippet:

There are several frameworks available for nearly every language. Selecting the right one for your needs can be somewhat difficult, especially if you haven’t used any of them before. While advice and opinions from colleagues and trusty developerWorks authors can be helpful in this area, there is really only one guiding principle that should be followed when selecting any framework: A framework is only as good as the amount of time and effort it saves everyone. A framework is no good if it works well for you but causes a significant increase in support calls. A framework is no good if it is easy to support, but hinders rather than assists your development. A framework is useless if it is elegant, but causes support and development issues.

When selecting a framework for your project, consider everyone involved, from the top down, and when you evaluate the framework, keep the impact to other parties in mind.

When you consider adopting a framework, look at your application closely and ask yourself it if needs a framework. A framework isn’t a necessity. Enterprise applications will continue to be written without the use of frameworks. Will a framework help you with the project? Will it save everyone time and effort? Will your application perform better on a framework? Will it provide the stability you are lacking? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you should look to adopt a framework. If the answer to all of these questions is no, a framework will only complicate matters.

Unfortunately, size and scope restraints do not allow for a comprehensive coverage of all available PHP frameworks. This series focuses on three frameworks:

  • Zend Framework
  • symfony
  • CakePHP

These were selected based on a variety of factors, but might be best classified as “The One Your Boss Knows About,” “The One Someone Else Already Installed,” and “The One They’ve Been Talking About.” I encourage you to research CodeIgniter, Seagull, Web Application Component Toolkit (WACT), PRADO, Zoop, PHP on Trax, or any of the many other PHP frameworks available. Framework selection is very much a personal choice, much like selecting a language in which to code. This series isn’t going to tell you which framework is better, or worse, than the others. Where a framework does something well, it will be called out. Where a framework seems unwieldy, this will be called out, as well. Even if we are not comprehensive in our coverage of the myriad frameworks, the approach we take will help you weight the strengths and weaknesses of other frameworks. You need to form your own opinions about the frameworks being examined, which ones you like, and what you decide to pursue.

The Zend Framework

Everyone knows Zend — “The PHP Company.” When you download and install PHP, you’re downloading it from Zend and have been since around V3. In addition to distributing PHP, Zend Technologies has offered a wide range of PHP support technologies over the years. It should be no surprise that Zend offers a framework for PHP — a popular one at 2 million downloads to date. If your boss has heard of a PHP framework, the Zend Framework is likely to be the one.


Sponsored by Sensio, symfony “aims to speed up the creation and maintenance of Web applications, and to replace the repetitive coding tasks by power, control and pleasure.” The symfony framework has been used worldwide in a number of enterprise-level applications, perhaps most notably Askeet and Yahoo! Bookmarks. Odds are that if someone you know has installed, used, or played around with a PHP framework, that framework was symfony.


Borrowing heavily from Ruby on Rails, CakePHP aims to bring simplicity and scalability to PHP frameworks. Consistently recognized as a top PHP framework, CakePHP was recently selected as the core around which V5 of the Mambo Content Management System. Driven by a strong community and a rapidly growing user base, CakePHP’s popularity is growing steadily. If you’ve overheard a conversation about PHP frameworks, that conversation was probably about CakePHP.

Click here for the entire article.

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