If you’re thinking of what web application framework to choose for your PHP project, you’ve come to the right place.
Picking the good framework is paramount to increase efficiency and ensure delivery, depending on what you do. The two most popular PHP frameworks to date remain Symfony and Laravel.
While both frameworks have similar capabilities and share many common features, there are some key differences between the two that we list here to help you make up your mind.
Let’s start with a bit of history.
PHP – standing for Personal Home Page – is a programming language that was originally created by a Danish-Canadian programmer named Rasmus Lerdor, in 1993, to handle his own website.
It was designed to make it easier to create dynamic web pages, and it quickly became a popular choice for web developers because of its simplicity.
Laravel and Symfony are both open-source PHP web frameworks used for web application development. Laravel was created by Taylor Otwell in 2011, while Symfony was created by Fabien Potencier in 2005.
Laravel is known for its elegant syntax and ability to handle complex web applications easily, making it a popular choice among developers. Symfony, on the other hand, is known for its stability, flexibility, and the large number of features it offers.
Many popular websites and web applications, such as Drupal and Magento – acquired by Adobe Inc in May 2018 for $1.68 billion – are built using one of these frameworks.
Both Laravel and Symfony have been widely adopted by the web development community, and have a strong presence in the PHP ecosystem.
Splitting the bill
Although you can build any app from scratch with both frameworks, their technical differences sets them apart.
Symfony is a full-stack framework that provides a wide range of tools and components that can be used to build a wide variety of web apps. That being said, it is often used by larger companies tackling bigger and more complex issues – often involving substantial features.
It allows for a high degree of flexibility and customization, which logically makes the learning curve steeper for new users.
Laravel’s smooth code and various magic methods have helped, among other things, to make it one of the most popular PHP frameworks. It is however more opinionated a framework in the sense that it has a specific set of conventions and assumptions on the way web apps should be built. In other words, flexibility is not its forte. It has a structure and wants you to respect it.
It is often used by smaller teams and individual developers who wish to turn-on the auto-pilot – so to speak. Providing such a strict structure and guidelines helps with its simplicity and ease of use.
Moreover, Laravel is built on top of a monolithic architecture – meaning your entire application runs as one single program – which provides a more integrated and cohesive framework for building web applications. This can make it easier to learn and use, but may also limit the flexibility and customization of the framework.
Overall, Symfony and Laravel are both popular PHP web application frameworks, but they have some key differences in terms of their focus, target audience, architecture, and design. Which framework is better will depend on the project you’re working on.
No need to choose with Forest Admin
Regardless of which framework you chose to build your application – we’ve got you covered on both.
Forest Admin provides a highly flexible and secure internal tool solution to make sure you have the admin panel you need to understand your business and grow.
Find all you need to know about our integration for Symfony here, and Laravel there.
If you feel chatting with us because you're curious about what we do and how we can help you, please reach out to us, or sign up directly.
We will be happy to discuss with you and book a demo to show you what Forest Admin can do.
Bullet point recap
Easy to code and maintain.
Built-in features that help developers build sophisticated web applications quickly and easily.
Easy unit testing, which can help ensure that your application is reliable and bug-free.
Scalable for small to medium size web applications.
Secure with its built-in access control system.
Active community of developers who contribute to the framework. This means that you can easily find help and support when you need it.
Easy Data migration
Can be difficult to learn to those new to web development.
Lighter framework, which means more limited in scale.
Slower when application is getting too big for the framework.
Great code quality.
Easy integration with other popular frameworks and libraries. This allows developers to easily use the best tools for each task, rather than being limited to a single framework's capabilities.
Large and active community. Symfony has the largest community in the market.
Built-in testing support.
Highly flexible and customizable, which allows developers to tailor the framework to their specific needs and preferences.
Good documentation. Symfony has extensive documentation that is regularly updated.
Steep learning curve due to its wide range of possibilities. It just takes time to wrap one’s head fully around it.
Performance issues because of its complex framework and because it also relies on other technologies.
Longer tests because of the need to prebuilt code for multiple uses.
Lack of support. Although Symfony has a large and active community, it is not as well-supported as some other PHP frameworks.
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