PHP frameworks offer solid extensible architecture, with features that make source code programming easier by providing standard templates, components and plug-ins. Most of these PHP frameworks are supported by corporate or open source communities who offers solid Web development support. CakePHP, Code Igniter and Zend are some of the most popular PHP frameworks, with both advantages and disadvantages depending on your PHP requirements.
Advanced PHP programmers need more than basic source code for Web development projects. PHP frameworks offer convenient short cuts to improve efficiency, functionality, processing power and speed. Choose amongst different PHP frameworks tailored to satisfy specific coding needs.
CakePHP specializes in providing a strict, standardized extensible architecture for rapid application development using common design patterns for Model-View-Controller (MVC) and Object-Relational Mapping (ORM). CakePHP is best for novices to MVC who want a solid foundation for PHP coding.
There is a steep learning curve for CakePHP coding conventions, but many claim it is well worth it. CakePHP also has slower processing power measured in requests per second, compared to Code Igniter and Zend.
CakePHP supports MVC, multiple databases, ORM, database objects, caching, validation, Ajax and user authentication. CakePHP uses access control security. A strong open source community provides feedback, as well as, many useful components and plug-ins.
Code Igniter (CI) offers better immediate use and common tools that are well-documented. Key advantages include compatibility, easy configuration and flexibility in coding rules.
CI supports MVC, multiple databases, database objects, templates, caching, validation and other modules. Code Igniter uses more traditional coding conventions. In tests measuring requests per second, the Code Igniter was considerably faster than either CakePHP or Zend for a series of measurements.
One disadvantage for CI is the need to write PHP source code for the creation of a "session class" for security purposes.
The Zend Framework (ZF) permits the growth of PHP programming with features such as pre-packaged applications, assistance in reducing defects and solutions tailored for different platforms (ie IBM, Linux and Windows). Zend also helps with cloud computing.
Web developers don't need to reinvent the wheel; be wise and reuse common PHP source code tools. Zend offers added flexibility in PHP source code writing. Zend supports MVC, multiple databases, database objects, caching, validation and other modules. It is feature rich and has better support due to corporate backing. Zend security is access control based. Zend was in the middle between CakePHP and Code Igniter in processing speed tests for requests per second.
Don't waste time creating PHP tools that already exist. Depending on your projects needs, there is a good PHP framework (CakePHP, Code Igniter or Zend Framework) that suits your purposes.