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Five Great PHP Frameworks
By: wubayou
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    2011-04-13

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    PHP frameworks offer a basic structure and environment for the development of web applications. If you are looking for simplicity and something that will boost your efficiency in the development process, a well-rounded PHP framework can do the trick. Here are five of the top PHP frameworks to help you with all of your PHP programming needs.

    Fat-Free

    The creators behind the Fat-Free project at the very least deserve some credit for coming up with a catchy name for this framework.  As you might guess, Fat-Free is a PHP framework that is very lightweight in its nature.  Fat-Free's creators developed it with a certain philosophy in mind.  That philosophy was to create a framework that has a simple structure and eliminates complexity.  While simplistic in its design, Fat-Free also helps to improve developer productivity and application performance.  The framework is very easy to install and it does not require any painstaking configuration.  Such characteristics make it ideal for beginners who want to get on the fast track to developing their web applications.  While it's great for beginners, Fat-Free is also a powerful framework for advanced users as well.

    Fat-Free includes such features as integrated unit testing tools, a solid all-purpose template engine, and a code profiler.  Although it is lightweight as-is, Fat-Free takes things to another level by allowing you to control web server traffic via its bandwidth throttle.  As far as protective features are concerned, Fat-Free has automatic spam protection and protects against Denial-of-Service attacks and bandwidth theft.

    The aforementioned are some of the framework's core features, but there's more.  Fat-Free comes with various optional plugins that give you more control and can help boost your efficiency during the development process.    You can use the HTML forms processor, JavaScript/CSS compressor, dynamic XML sitemaps, CAPTCHA generator, or custom logger.  Another powerful plugin is the M2 MongoDB mapper that helps you streamline the database access process.  There's API wrappers for Akismet, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo, as well as an extension for multilingual applications to help you gain more of a global appeal.  As you can see, Fat-Free may be free of excess, but its not light on features, which makes it one of the top PHP frameworks around.

    Link: http://sourceforge.net/projects/fatfree/

    Recess

    Recess is a solid PHP framework that can be used by beginners or more advanced developers.  Recess is a RESTful PHP framework that eliminates the need for you to bother with complicated deployment issues.  The framework helps soften the development load even further by saving you the hassle of having to be an expert with the command line. 

    The advantages that accompany the Recess framework are numerous.  It's easy to use, lightweight, and offers fast performance.  The framework's design centers on the HTTP protocol, and it has been optimized for PHP 5.  RESTful APIs are supported out of the box.  Code is lessened via declarative annotations that are used to define items such as relationships, template engines, and user-defined behaviors.  A full database ORM is also included for database queries.  As mentioned, Recess is fast, and that adjective comes into play thanks to its GUI and tool set for quick development and its thorough diagnostics that allow you to detect and patch errors quickly.  Recess is open source and released under the MIT license.

    Link: http://www.recessframework.org/preview/

    CodeIgniter

    If you are looking to create web apps that are filled with features, CodeIgniter is one PHP framework that was built with you in mind.  While CodeIgniter promises plenty of powerful features, it maintains a small footprint to get you on your way to completing projects in less time.

    CodeIgniter has several features that should appeal to PHP developers on many levels.  As mentioned, it has a small footprint but offers plenty of powerful performance.  It's very easy to configure, and discards the need for you to employ the command line.  Flexibility is offered through the framework so you do not have to worry about strict coding rules as you work.  CodeIgniter's flexibility is also demonstrated in its compatibility with various standard hosting accounts.  In short, if you want simplicity, a shallow learning curve, and something that will boost your developing power, give CodeIgniter a strong look.

    Link: http://codeigniter.com/downloads/

    Zend

    Zend is yet another framework that focuses on flexibility and simplicity.  Anyone looking to jump into development with Zend can do so with ease.  There are no configuration files that are necessary to begin.  Zend allows itself to be lightweight thanks to the philosophy the framework was built on.  It offers the most commonly needed functionality and eliminates the fat.  By providing just the basics to give you a solid foundation, Zend allows you to customize and integrate any missing parts to fit your needs.

    Now that you know the basic mentality behind the Zend framework, let's discuss some of its features.  It has AJAX support through JSON and a solid object-oriented PHP 5 class library that gives extra attention to best practices such as unit testing, design patterns, and more.  Zend offers a beneficial environment for consuming and publishing web services, and it also has a highly functional search feature.  These are just a sampling of what Zend has to offer.

    To provide you with a solid environment that works as it should, Zend has been thoroughly tested.  Stability is a key in development, and Zend offers it to such an extent that it is classified as enterprise-ready.  In addition to the strict testing requirements it has passed, Zend is also suitable for enterprise use thanks to its licensing.  Any worries about having code compliance and protection are addressed.  If you have concerns about your intellectual property, Zend is the right PHP framework for you.

    Link: http://framework.zend.com/download/latest

    Seagull

    Seagull is a useful framework that is as good for advanced developers as it is for beginners looking to get their feet wet.  Seagull is licensed under BSD, which makes it an optimal framework for developers who want to both integrate and managed their code resources so they can begin developing sophisticated applications in a flash.  With that being said, Seagull already comes equipped with several popular PHP applications, a managed library code, templating engines, and more. 

    As stated, Seagull is intended for use by developers of all levels.  Beginners have the option of using the framework's many sample applications that can be customized with ease.  Those on more advanced levels can use the framework's implementation of a modular codebase, standards, and best practices to develop applications at a pace that is much quicker than usual.

    Seagull comes with many core features, such as basic CMS and other necessary modules, integrated ORM for rapid application development, and integration with PEAR libraries.  It's enterprise-ready, easy to use and configure, integrates well with third party code, and has a solid community to provide you with support as needed.  Seagull can be used in open source and closed commercial projects.  It's licensed under BSD.

    Link: http://seagullproject.org/download/
     


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