It’s no secret that the lion’s share of web-based projects is built with PHP. Neither a bias nor a tradition stays behind this fact. Long hands-on experience based on objective factors encourages web developers to use either pure PHP or related frameworks. Although the PHP Symfony framework is not the only toolset for PHP developers, many consider it the best choice. We are no exception in this regard.
What is the Symfony framework?
If in brief, PHP Symfony is a relatively simple but pretty effective framework that provides web developers with all they may need to build top-notch websites with ease. Symfony helps achieve the primary development goal: delivering high-quality web projects in due time for reasonable costs. This is not about cumbersome PHP coding to create every web app feature from scratch. Such a reinvention of the wheel belongs to the pure PHP believers whose “tabula rasa coding” has little in common with commercial web development. The Sumfony’s creators claim that their framework is more than just a successful blend of PHP components but rather a philosophy. What do they mean? The PHP Symfony’s philosophy covers two essential aspects in their interpretation. The first aspect implies the standardization of web apps that makes their components interoperable. The second one resulting from the latter, provides professionalism. In such a context, professionalism means spending working time intelligently when web developers use best practices in utilizing Symfony components, not crating web app features from scratch.
The philosophy is not a handsome marketing declaration but an experience-based approach. The Symfony framework’s community of more than 600K developers worldwide acquires a 13-year development practice that guarantees enhanced performance, scalability, and long-term maintenance to every web project built with PHP Symfony.
Reasons to Choose the Symfony Framework for PHP Development
The PHP Symfony framework provides cost-effective and time-saving development of web apps. It happens due to the easy-to-use working environment in which developers are free to use only the components they need. Such an approach goes in line with other advantages of Symfony worth mentioning.
1. Excellent Reputation
Symfony has been creating a stable PHP programming environment for hundreds of thousands of developers since 2005. Such efforts are widely recognized by both the Symfony community (600K+ developers) and an army of random users (640M+ downloads). Management apps, workflow solutions, general public websites, social networks, intranets, and many other web-based projects trust the PHP Symfony framework. There is no lack of market leaders in the Symfony portfolio: Yahoo, Dailymotion, Auchan, BlaBlaCar, and even Drupal, to name a few. Symfony is created by professionals for professionals. The framework is distributed under the Open Source MIT license. The ecosystem around Symfony covers web development experts gathered in various communities at Slack, GitHub Discussions, and the like. They all consider the Symfony framework a pretty pragmatic tool aimed at meeting real-world requirements. The continuous enrichment of Symfony’s capabilities would hardly keep going without the growing pool of developers, integrators, investors, and contributors from more than 120 countries.
2. High Flexibility
The Symfony framework is flexible enough to let web developers focus on particular challenges of their projects instead of reinventing generic features. Two available classes of building blocks provide such simplification of the working process: Bundles and Components. Bundles are akin to plugins that can be reconfigured according to specific tasks. Components are independent modules that can be combined and recombined according to your current needs. You can use the Components with other PHP frameworks like Laravel. Hence, using the entire framework is not a dogma. Developers can choose separate software components that meet their needs here and now: forms management, dependency injector, and the like. Besides, the PHP Symfony framework itself uses external components like Swiftmailer and, for example, ORM Doctrine where they are relevant. Such a modular structure of PHP Symfony unleashes web developers to follow their working patterns with the freedom of choice and flexibility.
3. Continuous Innovation
Symfony keeps evolving continuously according to the trends and expectations of its vast user base. The framework creators do their best not to lock up developers within the PHP world only. It implies implementing the best practices and techniques borrowed from other technologies. Dependency injection, for instance, is inherent in Java. But such a software design pattern has become available in the Symfony framework as well. Innovation means improvement, isn’t it? Any framework needs constant improvements amid such a dynamic environment as software development. Speed, flexibility, and reusable components are provided by PHP Symfony to improve the developers’ productivity. The never-ceasing drive to efficiency has motivated Symfony’s team to adopt the web debug toolbar from other frameworks. Hence, the Symfony framework is a vibrant environment that absorbs innovations from PHP and beyond.
4. Advanced MVC Architecture
Doctrine, Propel, Twig, as well as other available libraries always remain accessible for any web developer who chooses the Symfony framework. It means nobody is tied to the MVC architecture of Symfony if working tasks imply using external resources. At the same time, the architecture provides scalable and systematic back-end development that can satisfy the needs of the majority of projects. The Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture is a well-balanced solution aimed at covering a typical web development workflow. The Model implies building the business logic of your project. The View helps the chosen logic become visible as a web page. And the Controller provides making easy changes and alterations in both the Model and View when necessary. The PHP Symfony architecture reflects how a truly efficient framework should facilitate effort-saving commercial web development.
5. Easy Testing
The overall development process goes faster if a framework allows running unit and functional tests without involving external resources. The Symfony framework offers its PHPUnit Independent Library simulating HTTP requests to run unit tests with no cumbersome scripting. Such tools as Paratest and Fastest allow pretty straightforward unit testing. Automated functional and behavioral testing are also executable with the relevant tools available in PHP Symfony. Using corresponding bundles can significantly simplify the process. The LiipFunctionalTestBundle, for example, facilitates writing functional tests. It provides simulation users’ logins, loading data fixtures, processing database queries, and the like.
6. Ultimate Convenience
There is a direct dependence between the developer’s productivity and the way of doing things in the development environment. The better you feel, the better you work. The PHP Symfony framework brings comfort to developers. Even though there are many methods to make the working process comfortable, arranging complicated things simple is the main approach. A seamless workflow occurs when you focus on what to do, not how. Symfony gives you a sufficient toolset to avoid coding errors and save you time. The framework is customer-centric, which implies ample opportunities for customization. PHP Symfony never dictates how to arrange the development process: it is always up to developers to decide which component to use and which to leave. Want to have a full-stack process? No problem; use the Symfony framework in its entirety. Need just separate components and bundles? Nobody minds; use them independently and do what you want.
PHP Symfony vs Other Frameworks
Symfony is not the only framework for web development in the market. There are about three dozen PHP frameworks currently in use. However, such a variety does not mean comparing PHP Symfony with all of them makes sense. Only high-class products are worth comparing. Hence, we take two most popular PHP frameworks to compare with Symfony: Laravel and Zend.
Symfony vs Laravel
Laravel is hardly less popular than Symfony. At the same time, it has a different user audience. Novice web developers with little to no hands-on experience would most probably prefer Laravel. The reason is the flatter learning curve inherent in Laravel. The framework is objectively simpler than PHP Symfony. It means both more accessible learning and simpler apps created with Laravel. Like in the case of Symfony, a massive community of followers can help anyone solve any problem faced when using Laravel. The framework is a good option for web projects that correspond to Laravel capabilities. In contrast, the Symfony framework may appear more expensive in terms of the time and effort required to possess expertise in Symfony. However, more complex, long-lasting projects created with Symfony can be compensation for its steeper learning curve. Besides, better documentation and a large community allow many newcomers to acquire the framework without much difficulty. In addition, the customization opportunities of PHP Symfony add the working convenience that few other frameworks do.
Symfony vs Zend
Zend may seem similar to Symfony in terms of architecture since the MVC pattern is available there. However, there is a small but significant difference between those two architectures. PHP Symfony supports the MVC architecture when developers bind Symfony components together voluntarily and manually, while Zend is built under the MVC by default. Zend supports popular relational databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, etc. The Symfony framework supports both types of databases, either relational or non-relational. Many experts consider Zend an excellent solution for simple and rapid web development with fewer interdependencies needed to build an app in PHP. On the other hand, Symfony is more expandable while fewer resources, such as memory, are consumed.
Who Uses Symfony?
Many world-famous web projects have been created with the Symfony framework. Big brands having unlimited financial and technical capabilities preferred Symfony to all other web development tools. This fact alone makes one wonder why so. In a nutshell, international giants are pragmatic business sharks that appreciate quality and efficiency. And they are satisfied by what PHP Symfony provides: advanced SEO tools, processing millions of requests simultaneously, outstanding data integration capabilities, customizable content editing, and many more. Who uses Symfony, to name a few?
- The Spotify music streaming platform with about 300 million users has engaged PHP Symfony to create the solution for handling user accounts;
- The Dailymotion video streaming service has changed the PHP development technology in favor of Symfony even after its web solution was completed;
- The Trivago hotel-booking app created with PHP Symfony delivers a great user experience to millions of users;
- The Drupal Console debugging solution uses Symfony components to create event lists.
Some other worth-mentioning use cases from Symfony’s portfolio are Auchan, BBC News, National Geographic Travel, Swiss Open Government Data, Facebook Ads, BlaBlaCar, etc.
As we see, all the above-given content confidently proves that the PHP Symfony framework can provide what web developers appreciate the most: a productive, simple, and bug-free workflow. The development process appears time-saving and cost-effective, therefore. The framework seems appropriate to any web project, no matter how complicated it may be. Hence, Symfony delivers a universal development toolset that is worth using despite all the other PHP frameworks available in the market.
Contact our PHP Symfony experts to implement your boldest ideas and leave your own mark in the global web environment.