Along with CakePHP Symfony is one of the PHP community’s elder framework projects, having been founded by an enterprising French developer named Fabien Potencier back in October 2005. These days, it powers thousands of web sites around the globe, including the enormous Delicious social bookmarking application.
Symfony’s particular strength lies in the project management team’s incredibly well-organized support initiatives, led by the project’s corporate foster Sensio Labs. In addition to an annual conference, Sensio offers regular training sessions, and a series of open source books. Coupled with an abundance of documentation and a community that has contributed thousands of plugins, Symfony users won’t be left wanting in terms of understanding and extending this framework.
The Zend Framework
Like all of the frameworks discussed in this article, the Zend Framework is packed with the standard features one would expect in a framework, such as data validation, database integration, and user authentication. However, this particular solution is unique in that it places the most emphasis on facilitating connectivity with a wide variety of web services, among them the Amazon Web Services API, Amazon’s EC2 and S3 services, Twitter, Windows Azure and Yahoo.
Further, the Zend Framework enjoys the backing of a particularly large corporate namesake sponsor, namely Zend Technologies. While the development process is no less open than other community-driven framework projects, this relationship does afford the Zend Framework project some additional benefits thanks to Zend Technologies’ corporate resources and partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, who recently contributed a Windows Azure component to the project. Another interesting recent development was the collaboration with Deutsche Telekom to produce the Developer Garden component, which gives developers the ability to use the Deutsche Telekom network to perform telephony tasks such as sending SMS messages and establishing voice-based calls.
PHP Development in the Fast Lane
In many ways, the web of the 1990’s resembled the early 20th century automobile industry; HTML was the combustible engine of the day and anybody who could write enough code to display pictures of the family cat was hailed as the second coming of Henry Ford. Yet just as the automobile grew in complexity over the next 100 years, adding larger engines, safety features, advanced braking systems, and even televisions, so has the web. Although the latter’s advances have proceeded much, much faster. Yet if you start exploring the opportunities made available by embracing framework-based PHP development, I guarantee you’ll feel more like Michael Schumacher with each passing day!