Web development these days often involves creating dynamic websites which allow user interaction and the organization of large amounts of data. As a server-side language, commonly used by web developers to create such websites, PHP is a useful development tool. Built using PHP, Facebook.com is a testament to it being a powerful programming language, more than capable of the aforementioned tasks.
A language such as PHP allows developers to create a dynamic website, where pages can be generated automatically – drastically improving efficiency over maintaining a multitude of static HTML pages. A PHP framework can take this efficiency one step further and allow the developer to write less code to achieve common functions.
Overview of Frameworks
Frameworks exist in most programming languages and often allow for more simplified and stream-lined code development. When creating web systems in PHP, code authors often create custom functions for handling tasks such as:
- calendar generation
- user access control
- database interaction
- url generation
- image generation
Benefits of PHP Frameworks
In most popular PHP frameworks, there exist modules or plugins to automatically handle tasks such as those listed above, requiring just a few lines of configuration code by the developer. When developing large web applications systems, the time spent not needing to write custom functions for such tasks allows the developer to concentrate more time on custom code specific to the current project.
Using a popular PHP framework means that there will be a large community of developers also using the same framework and often contributing source code updates and additional plugin modules. Due to each developer working on slightly different projects, the combined scope of all contributed modules will often mean that someone else has already written a module to suit a task you will need in your system.
Another benefit of a using a PHP framework with a large community is that when a new PHP vulnerability is made public, the framework will usually be patched very quickly, allowing you to simply update your framework's core files. When using custom PHP code outside of a framework, it will be up to the developer to patch each part of his / her system upon news of a new PHP vulnerability and may be easier to go unnoticed.
For seasoned PHP developers, they may already have a collection of code samples, custom functions and a way of designing their web systems that they prefer. Where frameworks can really add benefit is for new programmers or seasoned developers alike, who prefer to focus their time on getting a site up and running quickly and focus less of their time on writing functions common to all web application systems.
Difference Between a Framework and CMS
While many popular PHP Content Management Systems (CMS) can also be used by developers for rapidly creating dynamic websites, a PHP Framework will usually have less resources overhead and allow the developer to choose just the functionality required for the project. In general, CMS's will provide everything needed for CRUD (Create, Read, Update & Delete) in an easy to use administrator's interface. With a PHP framework, though there will usually be a plug-in module for such an interface, you have the flexibility to build one tailored to your specific project.
Popular Php Frameworks
If you are a new or seasoned developer and are interested to try a PHP framework, you may consider one of the most common available: