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Laravel vs Symfony – The PHP Frameworks Comparison Battle

Both Laravel and Symfony are modern, proven PHP Frameworks which implement the Model View Controller architecture. Laravel is partially built using Symfony components and is the most popular PHP framework as of recent years while Symfony has been around since 2005, 6 years before Laravel’s release in 2011. In this article, we will compare Laravel vs Symfony and how to test them on shared hosting servers for a good price. You can check the Best PHP Frameworks of 2017: a Beginner’s Guide [INFOGRAPHIC]

Different Frameworks have their way with dealing with common tasks and you can use most of them to achieve the same solution to a business problem. When you’re choosing between different ones there are several aspects that need to be considered. Those are mainly how the framework implements the MVC model and how it solves common issues like sessions, cookies, MySQL communication and others.

Database interaction has become a crucial security concern for all PHP applications. Apart from sanitizing input frameworks usually come with an ORM – Object Relational Mapping which is a technique that helps out to translate PHP code into SQL queries easing and speeding up the development process.

Eloquent vs Doctrine ORM

Laravel uses Eloquent as ORM which is partially inspired from Rails whether Symfony comes with Doctrine. Eloquent is simpler than Doctrine and as such it uses simplified approaches and it’s not as greatly structured. Doctrine on the other side has much more functionality and is usually preferred for bigger projects. For smaller and simpler projects that don’t need special custom SQL interaction Eloquent is the better choice but for projects that need to fit specific requirements Doctrine will be better.

Laravel comes with Blade as templating engine and Symfony uses Twig. Blade is similar to .NET MVC’s Razor in syntax and close to simple embedded PHP code. It provides simple syntax but doesn’t include much additional functionality. All of the Views are compiled into PHP code and cached until they’re modified. Twig comes with a lot of additional ways to add functionality and security. It’s also compiled into PHP code but has different syntax. When it comes down to the templating engine it’s a matter of personal choice and what you’re used to working with syntax-wise. Blade is simpler and this helps to build projects faster while with Twig you have many options.

Laravel vs Symfony

A great advantage that Laravel has is that it comes with its own CLI named Artisan which comes with many out-of-the-box features and you can use it to create your own CLI functionality.

Routing in Laravel is also simpler than in Symfony. In Laravel, you specify your routes and the functions that are executed at each one in a file that’s responsible for the routing whether in Symfony you usually use annotations to declare which function listens on which route.

Both frameworks will provide Rapid Application Development in comparison to having a project built anew. There are several main differences between the two frameworks.

Laravel is good for beginners, it leaves the structure open for external plugins and has integrated registration right off the installation. Symfony is highly modular and very configurable. It also splits functionality into app bundles which helps to structure the code. Symfony has a lot of options and aspects that can be adjusted and as such it could be bad for beginners. This is also a great advantage as experienced developers can fine-tune applications to meet specific requirements. Symfony also has a lot of functionality built in and if anything is missing it provides a stable base that you can use to fill the gaps.

Current Laravel & Symfony versions

Laravel is currently at its 5.5 version and there aren’t any plans for a 6.X version as the architecture is working well. Laravel’s developers strive to make a new release every six months which contain minor changes. Symfony’s current version is 3.3.9 and they also make new releases every six months, most of them being LTS.

Laravel is a very community driven framework made by Taylor Otwell while Symfony is developed by Sensio Labs. There is a strong debate on which is better between having software being strongly influenced by its community and having a company take full responsibility for managing a product that’s widely used. Overall PHP developers all have different opinions and there’s no “right way” that everyone agrees on.

Overall Symfony targets enterprise projects and could be an overkill for small or simple projects. Laravel is great for Rapid Application Development and can be used to deploy smaller projects in a timely manner. In most cases, the choice between PHP frameworks is entirely dependent on the team leader and the developers that will be working on the project.

There are managed hosting solutions offered both by Laravel and Symfony with several external providers being there as well. They provide different support and integration options and thus their prices vary. When it comes down to Shared Hosting only very few hosting companies are proud to offer working Laravel hosting and Symfony hosting.

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Useful links from the PHP Frameworks series by WebHostFace:

Part 1 – Complete guide to PHP and PHP Frameworks: Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Model View Controller Architecture and Its Use in Modern PHP Frameworks

Part 3 – PHP Frameworks vs Libraries and Custom Modules

Part 4 – Laravel vs Symfony – The PHP Frameworks Comparison Battle

Ivan Denchev

Control Systems Engineer switched over to making the internet a better place because unstucking Apache configuration files is easier than unstucking your hand from cogwheels. Usually all of his words are there, just in the wrong order. What you've got with his administration is usually a failure to SSH because some servers you just can't reach.

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