What is Better: Pure PHP Language versus Symfony Framework

September 18th, 2017

Symfony // Dmitry

With the availability of PHP frameworks today, most developers feel more comfortable using these extra tools instead of composing the entire codes manually. Special frameworks make their lives easier by saving time and nerves. The goal is to define when to use pure PHP and when it is better to rely on the framework’s help.

Some of the modern developers still prefer pure PHP over the frameworks as they lack knowledge and understanding of the benefits such tools as Symfony provide. Part of the development community should still learn what the Model View Controller (MVC) is all about. To work faster with a large-scale project and finish tiny projects immediately, frameworks can often be better than flat PHP scripting language.

Why Use PHP Framework like Symfony When You Wish to Save Your Time

First, let us list the advantages of Symfony to explain why you should use a PHP framework. This small beast has all the necessary components required to create websites. You can use them either together as recommended or separately. There are no mandatory dependencies. The list includes a large number of components, including:

  • BrowserKit
  • Cache
  • Config
  • Console
  • Options Resolver
  • Process
  • Routing
  • Templating
  • Translation
  • Validator

Those are, perhaps, the most critical components. Overall, Symfony framework is created to optimize the development of web apps. It is rewarded with more and more fabulous features after each release or upgrade. It shortens the development time significantly. It also aims to remove the current coding assignments. Symfony is defined by many as the best framework for PHP.

Once popular Ruby-on-Rails was the basis for Symfony developers. They grabbed the best ideas like simple usage and cool design. This tool allows ignoring the process of composing endless XML configuration files which is really time-consuming. With the help of this framework, web developers may exam, get rid of bugs, and document projects.

Symphony provides the development community with the complete monitoring of configuration & customization. Its open source community members are ready to help at any time.

Because of these and some other reasons, the answer to the question, “What PHP framework should I learn?” becomes obvious. Besides, Symfony is officially the second best framework of 2017 just after Laravel.

When to Use Pure PHP: Features of the Great PHP Code

Also, it is critical to understand why to use PHP in general. Out of all scripting languages, this is the only language capable of implementing the most complex and challenging ideas.

No doubt, flat PHP also has its pluses like the extra rapidness and ultimate flexibility. It allows more freedom of action; there is no need to get disturbed by public bugs influencing your codes. Of course, it works by taking into account that the code is:

  • 100% safe
  • efficient
  • well-architected
  • properly optimized

However, many developers who compose codes using flat PHP fail to meet all these criteria. Long, manually typed PHP codes are often hackable and full of errors. The greatest deal to remember is that in case the code is not faster than the selected framework code, the responsible developer has simply wasted time. Thus, it is impossible to be great at working with frameworks without recognizing the essence of pure PHP.

To highlight the pros & cons of both methods, imagine we are working on a new app. Writing code in pure PHP is always fast and dirty. It is messy even when it comes to the initial stage: developing the page to show the blog entries remained in the database. As the project expands, it becomes impossible to support. Also, you might face some of the issues like:

  • Inability to check mistakes. The connection with the database may be interrupted, for instance.
  • Low level of organization. The initial file becomes impossible to support over time. The question is where the necessary codes must be placed as well as how to validate the target data.
  • Finally, it will become hard to reuse the codes as far as all information is located in a single file.

Why Use a PHP Framework: Other Reasons

There might be one more bonus problem which is the database being tied to MySQL. The framework completely integrates Doctrine, which solves this problem immediately.

In terms of maintainability, quality of the written codes, and architecture, developers should definitely choose Symfony framework. Even if you find that using flat PHP is okay in the beginning, you will soon understand that almost any framework for PHP is less confusing. Moreover, those who loved using pure PHP have a desire to reimplement many different moments when it comes to trying a framework.

When you’re stuck in the middle of the process using pure PHP, just get Symfony with the help of Composer. It will launch the autoloader. This instrument allows using PHP classes without involving the file with the class. Symfony also offers plenty of great templates to apply.

Why Symfony Is Better Than Pure PHP

Once have the answer to the “what is a PHP framework” question, you will probably refuse to use pure PHP. To sum up why we should rely on the example of Symfony:

  • Clear and well-organized codes. It leads to higher productivity and reusability.
  • No need to come up with low-level utilities like routing.
  • Access to open source community and instruments (validator, translation, and other components mentioned above).
  • Presence of completely flexible URLs.
  • Ability to apply instruments like HTTP caching or Varnish.

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Author: Dmitry

Dmitry is passionate about backend development, with a specialization in PHP/Symfony. Currently, he is working on a high-load custom product in the field of AdTech/MarTech, developing an affiliate marketing system.

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