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In this course we cover some of the main PHP frameworks. There are many more out there, but these are what seem to be the most popular and well-used ones currently. The concepts presented in the other movies of this unit are key concepts to use in your determination. In this movie, we are going to look at each of the frameworks and discuss and highlight their differences and similarities to help you choose which one is right for your project. Zend is backed by Zend Technologies. Zend is fairly popular and well used, specifically because of its corporate backing and its support with partnerships such as Google, IBM, Adobe, and Microsoft. It's been around since about 2005 and uses the flexible BSD license.
The code is very well tested and is considered by many to be enterprise-ready. It is a loosely coupled framework, which means you can use different elements from Zend with or without using the MVC aspects of it. It has a very large library that does all kinds of things, including searching, handling data, sending mail, internationalization, caching, and all kinds of other things. It has a very large community. Zend technologies produces an IDE and also a server and provides service and support, so this can be really helpful to know that you have corporate backing when you're working on your project. There is a bit of a learning curve getting involved with Zend.
One of the downsides of the Zend framework is that it's fairly complicated in getting started. The analogy that I use with the Zend framework is J2EE. There is a lot available, and there's a little complexity once you get involved getting up and running. The Symfony framework, we are going to look at Symfony 2.0 in this course. It was first released in 2005 and is backed by a company called SensioLabs that's based in France. Symfony uses the flexible MIT license. Symfony is a full-stack environment, but 2.0 adds some features that make it more flexible.
The model layer of Symfony is handled using Doctrine's object-relational mapping utility. A lot of the coding you will do in Symfony can be done in a number of different ways. It's done essentially by writing configuration files, and these can be written in the YAML, XML, PHP, or using PHP annotations, depending on what you're trying to do. It has a pretty good library for some of the basic functionality you'll need in most applications, including authorization, building forms and validating them, and internationalizing applications. It will integrate with PHPEdit, NetBeans, and other eclipse-based IDE, and of course you can always use text editors.
There is a little bit of a learning curve getting involved in Symfony, mainly because you are going to need to learn new constructs. For example, you'll need to learn Doctrine if you don't use it already, and you may need to learn how to write these different types of descriptor files. Because Symfony is full-stack, it can tend towards not performing well. However, with the release of 2.0, they promise better performance, due to more intelligent caching. The documentation is pretty good. There's a good community involved with Symfony, and you have a lot of backing with chats and newsgroups and things like that.
The best analogy for Symfony is Ruby on Rails, especially given its use of YAML. CodeIgniter is backed by a company called EllisLab. It's been around since 2006, so it's a little newer. CodeIgniter has a special license. It used to be a proprietary one, and they've updated it with version 2; however, it's a little tricky so you may well look into it if you're looking at distributing your application. One of the key advantages to using CodedIgniter is it's extremely lightweight and performs very well. It's a very flexible framework, which can be a benefit and also a curse. Getting up and running with CodeIgniter is a fairly simple task. There are a lot of libraries available to you in Codigniter, but oddly they didn't include anything for authorization.
There is, however, a good community behind CodeIgniter and a lot of third-party libraries available to you. If you're looking to integrate it with your existing IDE, it'll work with the plug-in for Eclipse, and it also supports CodeLobster. The documentation is pretty helpful. CodeIgniter is probably the closest thing to writing straight in PHP. All you're really doing is extending PHP classes, and how you organize the code is still fairly flexible. The last framework we are going to look at is CakePHP. CakePHP has been around since 2005, and is the only one that's managed by a nonprofit foundation, Cake Foundation. CakePHP, like Symfony, uses the MIT license, which is very flexible. It is a full-stack framework, and it was inspired originally by the Ruby on Rails framework.
CakePHP has a very large library that includes helper classes for all kinds of things like Ajax, creating forms, internationalization, email, and handling authorization, and access control lists. It has a fairly short learning curve, especially given that you're learning a lot of new constructs. There are a lot of rapid application development tools, including scaffolding, which will auto- generate a lot of coding for you. The CakePHP framework is often called automagical because there's a lot going on behind the scenes. This is what provides for those rapid application development tools. However, when you get in to deeper customizations, this can be a little bit difficult. Additionally all this automatical functionality can slow down performance. There is some caching, but it's still a fairly heavy framework. The CakePHP documentations are very good, and they even have a lot of movies on their web site.
CakePHP has a very active community. You can integrate Cake with a lot of the main IDEs, including Neptune, which is currently in beta, Code Lobster, cuisina NuSphere, and of course integrating with Eclipse. The best analogy for CakePHP is what it emulated originally, Ruby on Rails. As you can see most, of these frameworks contain very similar features. The details of how everything works is really the crux of your decision, and that's what this course is all about. Generally speaking, Symfony and CakePHP are tightly coupled frameworks that have a very specific implementation. Along with that comes a lot of rapid development features, but a learning curve on your first application. CodeIgniter is probably the simplest of all and a really good performer, but it doesn't offer as much in the way of rapid application development.
And lastly, the Zend frameworks is the current leader, due to its corporate support, loose coupling, integrated IDE, and well-tested and good-performing code base.
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