Open source technologies (or rather frameworks) have been, and will always be the first choice of every enterprise application developer out there! The reasons are many – ranging from ease of coding to the framework’s reliability over time.
Just in case you belong to a non-technical background, a framework is a collection of universal, reusable programs that accomplish particular tasks to facilitate the development of software applications.
Frankly speaking, frameworks have proved to be a blessing in disguise for the developer community as a whole. It cuts the time required to develop an application, easier to maintain, has a clear code and at the end of the day, it’s more secure!
In this blog, we’ll have a look at three of the most popular open source development frameworks – Symfony, Zend and CodeIgniter – and why Symfony emerges out to be a winner amongst these.
But before we venture further into this article, I would like to outline the criteria on which we can decide the best amongst them –
- Community Support
The first one in our list is –
Ever since it was released in 2005, Symfony has emerged to bag a respectable position amongst the available open source development frameworks. It stands out because –
The most striking features of this PHP framework are – Bundles and Components
Bundle resembles a plug-in. It is a package of files (PHP files, style sheets, Java Scripts, images) that can be used for implementing any feature (like, a blog, a shopping cart etc). It can be decoupled i.e. you can reconfigure and reuse them for many applications to reduce the overall development cost
Components, on the other hand, are generic features that permit developers to concentrate on individual features, while reducing the routine stuff. And there are 30 such components in Symfony that can be used individually and yet cause no harm to the overall architecture.
What more can one ask for?
Time and again, Symfony has built a record for itself, with the major industry leaders trusting it for building their websites.
- Community Support
Everlasting support is a must when we talk of enterprise application development. Symfony boasts of an active, large community wherein experts and like-minded people can engage in fruitful discussions over the issues pertaining to the development of web applications.
This is by far the most important criterion that decides the future of any framework, let alone Symfony!
On the security front, Symfony integrates preventive security measures to combat vulnerabilities and attacks XSS, CSRF and SQL injection. Furthermore, Symfony systematically embeds these security mechanisms, without having to implement them every time, at the blink of an eye.
So, developers and businesses alike can stay rest assured!
Originally built by PHP, Zend is a powerful framework which is more secure, reliable and allows Web 2.0 applications & web services.
Zend enables you to tailor your website in any manner as per the project’s requirements. It provides consoles, local storage, and user configuration options for the web application, thus making it more flexible.
However, here is the downside of it. Zend is not easy for the beginners due to its huge size. It has a large volume of libraries, components, and classes embedded inside the core. Getting familiar with its features might take a few months!
It seems to score well on this point, with APIs enriched from leading vendors like Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Flickr etc. Hence, it’s a hot choice for most of the big businesses.
- Community Support
There are not enough resources available for beginners as I said before. An absence of a dedicated community is largely felt amongst its users.
Zend is equipped with quite good security features like routing, Access control lists (ACL) and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Cryptography support, etc.
However, there also exists a long list of security vulnerabilities that outweighs the security features considerably.
CodeIgniter also stands out from the crowd due to its versatile feature and easy-to-learn interface. The primary goal of this framework is to help developers complete projects faster.
It has a comparatively smaller footprint that makes it easier for PHP programmers to extend and customize the PHP framework according to their needs. The programmers can further extend CodeIgniter in a number of ways – class extensions, custom libraries, third-party plug-ins/add-ons.
Downside – Unlike other modern PHP frameworks, CodeIgniter does not support modular separation of code by default. Hence, programmers have to put extra time and effort to maintain or update the code.
This framework works well for the small and medium-scaled industries that are on the lookout for a quick, simple enterprise application development solution.
- Community Support
Although built on a tiny footprint, it does have a strong backing of a large community, who can help you out as and when there might be any issues.
Programmers can very well protect the web applications from common security threats like SQL injection, cross-site scripting attacks, and remote code execution. Also, the programmers can simply call back certain functions if they ever pose a threat to the project!
Take Home Message –
I have highlighted the plus and minus points of these platforms on the basis of just four crucial parameters, though there are many of them.
So, here is a table of comparison giving an overview of the three frameworks that we discussed in this article:
|Flexible; can be decoupled
|Flexible; but large size
|Flexible, but no modular separation of code
|Good (large scale business)
|Good (medium 7 large scale business)
|Good (small & medium scale)
|Yes, but not quite good
So, Symfony seems to take away the first prize, followed by CodeIgniter and Zend frameworks.
Any enterprise application development project has its own set of requirements, and hence developers should be careful while selecting the framework that they intend to use for the given state of affairs.
So, an ideal developer is the one who holds an unbiased view and a deep understanding of the ins and outs of any framework, and can ultimately play around with it to suit the interests of his clients!