Which PHP Framework Is Right for You? Laravel vs. CodeIgniter vs. Yii vs. CakePHP

PHP Framework Comparison
12 Minutes to read

Table Of Content

Introduction

It is essential for developers to use an appropriate framework because it saves valuable time and effort when building a web application. By using a framework designers and developers can concentrate on developing a unique feature rather than investing time in re-coding. There are many different frameworks available for backend development, including CodeIgniter, Phalcon, Zend, Symfony, CakePHP, Laravel, and Yii, these are just a few examples.

There have always been main discussion points between programmers about which programming language is best? At the time, each programmer presented an argument based on their own personal beliefs and opinions. The argument is exactly the same as it is today. We no longer argue about which programming language is the best, but rather about choosing the best PHP Framework for web development.

According to the W3Techs survey, PHP is used by 78.0% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know. PHP has led to a wide range of frameworks with different functions, security, efficiency, and user interfaces, making it common for programmers to choose the best PHP framework for their skills and the needs of their projects. Because the frameworks you choose have more weight in terms of quality, it is imperative that you only select the best PHP framework for your organization’s needs. All PHP frameworks are built on MVC (model-view-controller) architecture. The tools such as the following are available out-of-the-box with most web Frameworks. All the PHP frameworks have below-listed common features.

  • Structure your application in some pleasant standard patterns
  • Built-in classes such as session handling, database, security, user input validation
  • Helper functions/classes such as interacting with a 3rd party API integration
  • Test code quality
  • Ability to deploy code quickly

If you search on Google Trends about the four most well-known and commonly used frameworks Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, and Yii. Laravel is the most popular framework worldwide. But in this article, I’ll discuss each PHP framework in detail and compare them against each other. So after reading this article, you can get a clear idea about which PHP framework is best?

Here we go, the battle of the PHP frameworks: Laravel vs CodeIgniter vs CakePHP vs Yii

Laravel

Laravel is a PHP framework that attempts to make development more pleasurable while maintaining a high degree of quality. It is a free and open-source software created by Taylor Otwell which was released in June 2011. Laravel 5.6 was announced in February 2018. It is a well-known PHP Framework as well as in demand. In addition to its beautiful and clean syntax, Laravel is known for following the MVC (Model View Controller) design pattern.

Because of Laravel’s rich library ecosystem and pre-existing functionality, it eliminates the need to design many commonly used features from the ground up in order to develop web apps. Laravel is a highly secure and authentic option to choose from while developing custom web applications.

Due to the fact that Laravel is a virtual framework that can be accessed from any location and that its development is necessitated by the use of a composer, you must ensure that the required programming language is installed on the machine on which you are running Laravel.

Trend & Popularity

Laravel is experiencing a spike in popularity. Laravel’s popularity continues to grow as a result of its framework’s preference, flexibility, and robustness for the expressive coding style chosen by experienced developers and other professionals. Laravel is the most popular PHP framework, according to a poll performed by JetBrains in 2020, with 50 percent of PHP developers using it on a regular basis, compared to 25 percent who use the next most popular framework, Symfony. So hire a developer from a reliable Laravel Development Company for your next web development project.

Structure & Updates

Laravel’s file structure is based on the MVC model. Laravel has a command-line tool known as the Artisan. The features of Laravel Artisan are widely appreciated in the developer’s community. Artisan enables the creation of models and controls, as well as the configuration of scheduled tasks, queues, and custom commands. Eloquent is another critical tool that enables us to communicate with databases, develop beneficial magic methods, and retrieve data. Laravel updates are frequent and consistent compared to others.

Libraries & Online help

The popularity of the framework has resulted in a plethora of training, tutorials, and support information being made readily available online. A number of different channels are used by Laravel to give training and knowledge, including the Laracasts discussion forum, the Codebright code repository, Treehouse, and Sitepoint.

Database Integration

Laravel comes with its own object-relational mapping (ORM) tool. Laravel supports migrations that make it simple to transfer database changes and versioning. Similarly, Laravel includes a Seeder tool that allows you to insert test data into your application. Laravel also includes a key-value store called Redis as part of the package. The rest is taken care of by Laravel, which includes packages for every database available.

Ease of Development & Templating

In Laravel, the Blade templating engine comes pre-configured. With the help of a text file, it simplifies data administration, source code processing, as well as performance monitoring and management. In addition, users have access to a technology that allows them to generate files that contain conditional statements on their own.

A dependency management tool like Composer, programmatic query building, application logic available as an integral unit of developed applications, reverse routing, automatic creation of URIs, Blade templating, database seeding, automatic pagination- with so much to play with, Laravel makes web development quite enjoyable.

When using the Blade templating engine, it has a directive that determines whether or not a section includes any content. As well as this, it contains the control statements and their shortcuts. Using curly brackets around a variable’s value allows the developer to display the value of the variable in a short amount of time.

Developer cost:  $15 to $25/Hour (Depending on Requirements)

Things to Like about Laravel

Many of the functionality of Laravel is built-in to the framework, such as login logic, mailer library drivers, security and cross-site scripting, error and exception handling, web routing, and message queuing, among other things. There’s a lot that contributes to this favorability, like the expressive coding that the framework offers. As it follows the MVC filing structure, it also carries sophisticated tools like Artisan (the command-line tool) and Eloquent.

Things to Dislike about Laravel

You’ll note that Laravel development services are more expensive than other PHP frameworks like CodeIgniter. With that said, Laravel projects are more pure representations of powerful MVC than the other PHP frameworks. Laravel developers are mostly facing issues while upgrading their Laravel version and web development in Laravel is a bit slower than in other frameworks.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a robust PHP framework, designed for developers looking for an easy-to-use toolkit for building feature-rich online applications. It was EllisLab that started the CodeIgniter project in 2006, which is now housed at the B.C. Institute of Technology.

CodeIgniter is a popular open-source framework for developing web-based applications. CodeIgniter is one of the best options for creating dynamic websites using PHP. It is one of the most widely used open-source frameworks. CodeIgniter is a PHP framework that is highly lightweight, simple, and attractive in design. In addition, CodeIgniter is built on the MVC design pattern, which ensures a clear separation between logic and presentation.

Trend & Popularity

The popularity of CodeIgniter has never reduced completely. It was easy to use in version 2.x, which is why CodeIgniter was preferred by the vast majority of web developers at the time. CodeIgniter has been used to build a large number of websites, and it will continue to be used in the future. Given that the vast majority of CodeIgniter apps are still running on version 2. x, the platform’s popularity has probably suffered a slight decline.

Structure & Updates

CodeIgniter’s structure is MVC architectural pattern and supplies easy onboarding. The pattern was roughly based on object-oriented programming. However, despite the fact that the structure was roughly in accordance with object-oriented programming, the vast majority of developers took advantage of it. Previously, the framework did not take into consideration the case. CodeIgniter 4 is organized into five directories: application, system, public, writable, and testing. The application directory contains all of the CodeIgniter 4 files.  Now in CodeIgniter it also supports Composer, and therefore you have the ability to create APIs and you can add those APIs into your web application.

Libraries & Online help

A large amount of documentation exists for CodeIgniter, including multiple books, tutorials, and responses to commonly asked forum questions. Therefore, any difficulty you are encountering has a high probability of being encountered and solved by someone else before you, and the solution is readily available to you. CodeIgniter also offers in-built functionality, which you can easily use without prior knowledge of it.

Database Integration

CodeIgniter comes pre-installed with support for relational databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. CodeIgniter, on the other hand, is compatible with a variety of other popular databases, including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and DB2. With CodeIgniter 4.x, you may now leverage third-party databases, such as MongoDB, to power your applications.

Ease of Development & Templating

There is no built-in template engine in CodeIgniter, everywhere you can see is pure PHP coding. If you do require a template engine, you can combine it with a tool such as a smarty to achieve your goal. With the help of this, you are easily able to do the common tasks and improve the operation of the website.

Developers cost:  $15 to $25/Hour (Depending on Requirements)

Things to Like about CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a leading PHP framework that provides a free and open-source development environment for programmers and developers. Because it provides the quickest and most straightforward approach to employ modular methods and obtain any explicit function, it helps PHP developers work more effectively. As a result of the friendly URLs, developing large-scale dynamic and secure web applications is straightforward. As it follows the MVC filing structure, it also carries sophisticated tools like Artisan (the command-line tool) and Eloquent. The former allows easy creation of models, controls, queues, commands, and task scheduling.

It features a fantastic debugging function that rapidly discovers issues and displays warnings and errors as soon as they are discovered. So, if you like CodeIgniter, hire a developer from CodeIgniter development company and get started with your project.

Things to Dislike about CodeIgniter

The composer is not supported at this time. Discovering third-party libraries for a few specific databases in CodeIgniter proves to be more difficult than you had expected. It’s likely that you’ll end up copying and testing files on your own. At the moment, CodeIgniter does not provide adequate middleware support. Furthermore, it does not provide any Exceptions that can be used to generate a stack trace.

Yii

In the beginning, Yii was an attempt to create a conceptual redesign of the PRADO framework, including poor handling of complicated pages, a steep learning curve, and the inability to customize a large number of controls. Yii’s initial alpha version was launched in October 2006, followed by the official 1.00 release in December 2008.

Yii is an open-source framework used for developing web applications. It is an object-oriented and MVC (Model-View-Controller) based PHP framework. One of the best features of Yii is CRUD generation. Yii uses a special code generator tool called the Gii — a web-based interface as well as a command-line interface — to generate commonly used pieces of code. This helps in the swift development and faster performance of applications.

As a result of the decision to upgrade PHP and address architectural problems in May 2011, PHP version 2.0 was released in June 2011. Yii 2.0 source code was made public in May 2013, and the first stable release was released in October of that year. PHP 7+ support was first introduced in version 2.0.38. The most recent version, 2.0.4, was made available to the public in December of 2020.

Trend & Popularity

Yii’s progress has been gradual and time-consuming. However, despite the fact that Yii’s popularity peaked a few years ago, there are still websites and apps built in Yii from that time period that require regular updates and maintenance. As of now, Yii is no longer the first choice in the developer community.

Structure & Updates

When it comes to structuring, Yii applications follow the model-view-controller (MVC) architecture. The terms “model” and “view” refer to the representation of data, business logic, and rules; “controller” refers to the process of taking input and transforming it into commands for models and views. Yii is a framework that changes less frequently than the other frameworks. Despite the fact that it was first released many years ago, it is still available in version 2.0.x.

Libraries & Online help

Despite the fact that Yii does not have the extensive documentation that Laravel offers, it is nonetheless a well-organized framework. Furthermore, it does not have a severe learning curve. If you closely follow the documentation, you should have no trouble getting started with simple coding.

Database Integration

Yii is compatible with the database management systems MySQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and a few additional databases. Overall, Yii is a reliable PHP framework for database administration that adheres to industry-standard security measures. Despite the fact that Yii includes the ActiveRecord object-relational mapping (ORM) tool, you can also use third-party packages like MongoDB.

Ease of Development & Templating

Yii development is significantly faster than other frameworks, owing to the automatic code generation functionality enabled by the gii extension. Gii provides both a command-line and a gui interface. With gii, one can construct anything from a simple model to a fully functional CRUD application. Yii does not have a templating system by default, however, it does support third-party templating systems such as Twig and Smarty, which may be useful if someone comes from a Symfony framework background where Twig is used.

Developer cost:  $15 to $25/Hour (Depending on Requirements)

Things to Like about Yii

Yii is a component-based, high-performance PHP framework that has been used to construct some of the world’s largest PHP applications. Automatic code generation is a strong part of Yii. These applications can be built in a short period of time. This framework has been designed to be wizard-friendly and to support a broad range of wizards for doing necessary functions such as CRUDing (creating, reading, updating, and deleting). And this is the best feature of this framework and we haven’t seen this in any other PHP framework.

Things to Dislike about Yii

Yii had stuck with its version 1 for two years and with 1.1 for another four years before it came up with the more stable and functional Yii 2.0. While that journey was ponderous enough, future updations for the PHP framework have been stuck in a loop of their own making.

CakePHP

CakePHP is a free, open-source PHP framework for quick development which was initially released in April 2005 under MIT license. It provides a framework upon which programmers can build web applications. Their primary objective is to enable you to operate efficiently and effectively–without sacrificing freedom. It has a compelling MVC architecture implemented in it. With the help of CakePHP, developing a site is all fun and not monotonous. They offer you all the necessary tools to get started coding what you really need to do: the application-specific logic. Rather than recreating the wheel with each new project, download a copy of CakePHP and get started with the true heart of your application.

CakePHP has an active developer team and community, which contribute significantly to the project’s value. Along with avoiding recreating the wheel, using CakePHP ensures that your application’s core is well-tested and regularly enhanced.

Trend & Popularity

Since 2009, the number of people who use CakePHP has been progressively decreasing. Jobs in the CakePHP framework are disappearing as other frameworks take over the responsibilities.

Structure & Updates

CakePHP code is incredibly thorough, and it was in fact influenced by the Ruby on Rails programming language. When it comes to files and databases, naming conventions are strictly enforced. The framework follows established naming conventions. However, the project’s development is still ongoing, and it has a large following on Github as well as a regular release schedule.

All CakePHP releases post 3.0 are compatible with PHP 7+. Version 4.3.1 is the latest and was released in June 2021. It brought modifications around deprecation warning texts, auto-discovered shells, and Pagination metadata.

Libraries & Online help

CakePHP has 15+ years of history and if you are a developer there are high chances that you came across several CakePHP tutorials online and also got a sizable community of support. Furthermore, because CakePHP uses Composers,  developers and programmers can easily integrate third-party libraries, and if you are not able to integrate a third-party library, hire CakePHP developers to help you with it.

Database Integration

A methodical strategy is followed in order to avoid any developer error. Both the file and database name convention are excellent. The usage of advanced features, in addition, makes it substantially easier to access database information.

As a developer, you’ll benefit from an integrated ORM, a more relaxed and easier query generation experience, and painless CRUD operations interfaces with the database. Additionally, version 3 provides and supports a PHP package administration system. If you want to use a NoSQL database with this configuration, you will require third-party libraries to make it work.

Ease of Development & Templating

CakePHP comes with a set of templates that are saved as. ctp files. It is a normal PHP file with predefined methods for updating and maintaining information. It’s beautiful since it allows us to customize a wide range of functionalities. When we use it, however, there is a greater likelihood of causing problems to the MVC.

Developer cost:  $15 to $25/Hour (Depending on Requirements)

Things to Like about CakePHP

CakePHP encourages and strongly enforces the concept of reusable code production through the use of robust plugins, components, behaviors, and helpers. Improved interoperability and a host of other features, as well as a high rate of speed, are among the many advantages of this technology.

Things to Dislike about CakePHP

In order for CakePHP to produce elegant URLs, the default routes must be updated. Furthermore, CakePHP’s functionality is not user-friendly at all. A major criticism leveled about CakePHP is that it has one-way routing, which is considered a disadvantage when compared to other PHP frameworks.

Comparison Table of PHP Frameworks

LaravelCodeIgniterYiiCakePHP
Latest Version84.12.04
RequirementsPHP 7.3+PHP 7.4+PHP 5.4+PHP 7.2+
ORMEloquent ORMGas ORMActive RecordsActive Records
Template SystemBlade, PHP, CustomPHP, Simple template parser “{var_name}”PHP, PRADO, Extensions like Smarty, Twig, etc.Custom
Testing LibraryPHPUnitUnit Testing LibraryPHPUnit, SeleniumPHPUnit
CRUD GenerationPossible using third party packagePossible using third party packageYes, GiiYes
Database ModelObject-OrientedRelational Object-OrientedRelational Object-OrientedObject-Relational-Document-Oriented
Supported VCSGit SubversionGit Subversion GitHubGit SubversionGit Subversion
Multiple DatabasesYesYesYesYes
SecurityXss, Xsrf, SQL Injection, Auth ModuleBuilt-in Xss, Xsrf, SQL injectionXSS, CSRF, SQL InjectionsXss, Xsrf, SQL Injection, Auth Mode

In PHP Frameworks Comparison, Who’s the Winner?

Word of advice– In battles like this one, there’s never a winner.

Each framework has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and each web application developer has his or her own unique coding style and preferences if you are confused about which framework to choose, ask yourself these questions. 

  • What’re your data stores?
  • How effectively does the framework support it?
  • Which technologies are you and your team currently developing, and how well do they correlate with the software package you’re considering?
  • Do the PHP framework’s coding concepts appear to be straightforward to grasp?
  • Is there sufficient online assistance, tutorial volume, and documentation to assist you on your journey?

CodeIgniter has been credited with a number of successful PHP applications. Laravel appears to be the most widely used and technologically advanced of the four frameworks reviewed. Yii is a popular choice among Chinese and Russian developers, and it may even be the dominating package in the market. In addition, CakePHP is a formidable opponent to Laravel and better than CodeIgniter and Yii in terms of functionality. You see, in the end, it is not merely about which choice is the best; it’s about the option which makes the most sense in the current moment and the long-term.

But if you ask for my personal opinion Laravel is the PHP framework of choice for us. Hire Laravel developers to complete work on your web-based application.

Also, be sure to learn more about Laravel vs Symfony and Top 10 Laravel Development Companies in India to choose the best Laravel development company for your web development project.

PHP Framework Comparison
Jigar Shah
Shah
Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

1 comment

  1. author_image
    Povilas Korop

    Here I can see all the aspects that I’ll compare at the time of choosing PHP framework for my next project. I’ll bookmark this one for later.

    Good effort, Thanks!

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