Building a sophisticated website with lots of features and creative designs takes time. If you attempt to develop a feature-rich, dynamic website using a web programming language such as PHP, you need to spend a huge amount of time.
This problem can be solved using a web development framework. There are many website development frameworks out there, such as Laravel, Ruby on Rails, Symphony, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Yii, Laminas, Django, and CubicWeb. The list goes on.
These frameworks do not just save you time, they also come with high-quality code written by experts, which means your website built with such tools will be of great quality. In simple words, a web framework allows you to quickly create awesome web applications.
There are so many web development frameworks. Which one should you choose?
This blog post compares the most popular web development frameworks. Read the pros and cons of each of these technologies and decide which one would be the right choice for your project.
Released in June 2011, Laravel is a popular PHP framework for web application development. Developed by Taylor Otwell, this tool lets you quickly create dynamic websites. If you want to develop a powerful, complex web application that connects to a database, fetches data from it, and manipulates them, Laravel would be an excellent choice for you.
Tempest House has built a Laravel based framework called Tempest Tools that can save you time. A list of the Tempest tools can be seen here.
Take a look at the official website to know more about it in detail. The GitHub page has the source code and much useful information.
The Laravel tools shown in the above screenshot helps you handle complex tasks easily while building a web application with this framework.
Interest over time
Global interest in Laravel is pretty good, as you can see from the above Google Trends chart.
Interest by region
The above image shows that this framework has great popularity in China, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Armenia, etc.
Websites built with Laravel
Laravel powers many popular websites such as YourCountdown.To, Pizza Piraat, Eyeshot, FinTech Alliance, Roast My Site, Laravents, Htmlstream, Lightweight Hiker, LaravelPlay, Coliving.com, Clipr, Advensure, Neighborhood Lender, Laravel Tricks, MyRank, World Walking, Laravel Snippets, Mack Hankins, Larasocial, LaravelIO, Cachet, and so on.
Now Let’s discuss the benefits and disadvantages of using Laravel.
Pros of Laravel
Laravel gives you hundreds of interesting benefits and useful features. Only the most important pros are explained below.
Amazing learning resources: Laravel provides you with great, easy-to-understand, official learning resources.
You will also find many helpful free video tutorials on YouTube.
You can code in PHP: If you’re a PHP lover or have so much experience coding with PHP, this is good news for you. As Laravel is a PHP framework, you can write code in this language. This is one of the best benefits for PHP enthusiasts.
Developers at Tempest House love Laravel. In fact, this is the preferred PHP framework for this web development company.
MVC structure: The MVC structure lets you write code in a very organized and systematic manner. So you don’t need to keep all your HTML and PHP code in one file, anymore. You can write code following the MVC architectural pattern.
Cons of Laravel
Not much inbuilt support: Laravel doesn’t offer you much inbuilt support. In other words, it doesn’t have enough inbuilt features when compared to other frameworks such as Ruby on Rails and Django. So you need to use third-party tools to solve this problem but adding third-party tools makes the development process complex.
Not so strong community support: The community support is not great. As of writing this post, Laravel’s GitHub page has only 527 contributors while frameworks such as Ruby on Rails and Symfony have larger numbers of community members.
Ruby on Rails
Released in 2004, Ruby on Rails is another great web development framework. This Ruby framework is an ideal choice for server-side web application development. This tool was created many years ago. It’s a pretty mature software development tool, created by David Heinemeier.
As of writing this post, its latest version is Rails 18.104.22.168 which was released on May 18 of 2020.
This chart shows that Ruby on Rails’ popularity has slightly decreased over the last 5 years.
Interest by region
As shown in the above world map, Ruby on Rails is very popular in regions like Singapore, Nepal, St. Helena, Myanmar, and China.
Websites made with Ruby on Rails
Some of the most popular applications built with Rails are GitHub, Airbnb, Basecamp, Shopify, Twitch, SoundCloud, Square, Cookpad, Zendesk, and Hulu. There are thousands of other applications built with this framework. These are just the most famous ones.
Some other sites made with this framework are Twitter, Internet Yellow Pages, SlideShare, Urban Dictionary, Groupon, and so on.
Easy-to-understand documentation: The official documentation of Ruby on Rails is really great. It’s very easy to understand and complete. Learning from other resources is not necessary but you always have the option to try other learning materials such as a video tutorial. You can find the official documentation here.
Excellent community support: The community support for Ruby on Rails is simply amazing. Highly experienced contributors are working to make this framework better. You can also contribute to it as it’s an open-source tool. Over 5,000 people have contributed to this project. You can see the community on pages such as Ruby on Rails Discussions, RailsConf, and StackOverflow. You can see a long list of Rails contributors on this page.
Cons of Ruby on Rails
Performance issues: One of the most mentioned issues about Rails is that it doesn’t have great performance. But you can see many applications such as GitHub and Basecamp with great performance and no scalability issues. It may have issues but with some optimization, you can boost your web app’s speed.
Not so good documentation for less popular libraries: There are many not-so-popular Rails libraries. You won’t find much helpful information about them online. So learning how to use them can be a little difficult.
Low boot speed: The boot speed is not good, which negatively affects the productivity of a developer.
Symfony is another popular PHP framework for building fast web applications, web services, APIs, and microservices. Written in PHP, it’s a collection of reusable PHP components that saves you a ton of time.
This web development tool was released on October 22, 2005. It was created by Fabien Potencier.
As shown in the picture above, this tool is most popular in Cuba and Madagascar. It also has great popularity in regions like Tunisia, Lithuania, and Senegal.
Popular projects that have used Symfony
Some of the most famous Symfony powered websites are BlaBlaCar, DocPlanner, GoldenLine, eMAG, Spotify, etc.
Other popular web applications built with Symfony are Dailymotion, Course Hero, and so on.
Pros of Symfony
Fast development using bundles and components: Symfony gives you a collection of high-quality bundles and components that greatly makes your development work faster. These elements also provide great flexibility to your development tasks.
Bundles are similar to plugins, which reduce development costs. Components let you implement generic features to simplify your app development process. You can also use Symfony components in frameworks such as Laravel and also in your plain PHP projects.
Easy to maintain and test: As Symfony lets you build projects in a systematic manner using modules, bundles, and components, a Symfony project is easy to maintain. This framework automates functional testing saving you a ton of time and the PHPUnit independent library makes unit testing easier.
A large, helpful community: Symfony has a great community of helpful developers who are actively taking part in improving the Symfony project and also helping people when they face issues. So this framework is getting better and better. This is a great advantage for you as it gets updated with new features on a regular basis, making it easier for you to accomplish development tasks.
This framework’s GitHub page shows that it has 23.6k stars and 2142 contributors while the official site reports that Symfony has more than 600,000 community members.
Cons of Symfony
Performance issues: One of the most discussed problems of Symfony is its performance issues. But this problem can be solved to some extent by migrating to the latest version of PHP and by following programming best practices for performance.
Learning this framework is not that easy: Symfony is more difficult to learn when compared to other frameworks such as Laravel and Yii.
Express is a powerful web development framework for Node.js. This framework allows you to create rich web and mobile apps. This is one of the latest web development technologies available on the Internet.
Many frameworks have been built based on Express, such as Feathers, Poet, Kraken, LoopBack, KeystoneJS, ItemsAPI, NestJs, Expressive Tea, Kites, Locomotive, and the list goes on.
Interest over time
Interest by region
Websites built with Express
Some of the notable websites developed with Express are MySpace, LearnBoost, Storify, Klout, Countly, Segment, Yummly, Koding, Cozy, Ghost, StudyNotes, Apiary, Glip, SimpleSet, and so on.
Pros of Express
Minimal and flexible: This framework is very minimal and flexible. So working with this tool is easy. The useful features of this tool make app development a lot easier.
Creating APIs is a breeze: The middleware and the HTTP utility methods make creating APIs almost effortless.
Amazing performance: The thin layers of web app development features in this framework let you build high-performance web apps.
Con of Express
According to some actual Express user: The error messages shown by Express are not that helpful.
Released on February 28 of 2006, CodeIgniter is a PHP framework with amazing features. It’s a full-stack framework suitable for web application development.
This framework was originally developed by EllisLab, supported by BCIT, and it’s currently a project maintained by the CodeIgniter Foundation.
Interest over time
This chart shows that CodeIgniter’s popularity has slightly decreased over time.
Interest by region
As shown in the map above, CodeIgniter is most popular in Madagascar, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.
Popular websites and apps built with this app development tool are the website of Casio Computers, Feedcump, the website of The Mail & Guardian, Buffer, Nissan, Creditflux, the website of McClatchy, Bonfire, and so on.
This framework has a small footprint: CodeIgniter 4 is just 1.2 MB excluding its user guide. The user guide is 6 MB in size.
Development flexibility: You can build a CodeIgniter application using MVC but you can also choose not to use MVC. Thus it gives you some flexibility. And you can configure this framework almost effortlessly.
Great security: CodeIgniter provides built-in protection against XSS attacks and CSRF. CodeIgniter 4 gives you context-sensitive CSP and escaping.
Cons of CodeIgniter
Some CodeIgniter users reported the following issues. (Source)
CodeIgniter lacks modern namespace and autoloader use.
There’s some issue with session management. This problem will be solved if you use the core session library.
Not suitable for very large projects.
Released in April of 2005, CakePHP is a PHP framework that allows you to build web applications very fast, with less code. This web development tool has been developed and maintained by Cake Software Foundation. You can meet the team here.
As you can see in the image above, this framework is most popular in Myanmar, Japan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, and Cyprus.
Top CakePHP users
Great companies like Blendtec, Debtor Daddy, Sainsbury’s Bank, Internet Marketing Ninjas, Axia Technologies, and Printivo.com have used CakePHP.
Pros of CakePHP
Fast development: Scaffolding and code generation features enable fast app development. You can configure this framework with minimal effort. Built-in features such as translations, authentication, caching, validation, and database access greatly speed up the app development process.
Strong security: CakePHP provides great security to your web applications. SQL injection prevention, CSRF protection, form tampering protection, and data validation are some of its great security features.
Yii’s popularity has decreased over the past 5 years.
Interest by region
Yii is most popular in China, Myanmar, Indonesia, etc.
Web apps built with Yii
Some web apps developed using the Yii framework are Codermap, Luya CMS, Spinitron v2, Craft CMS, HumHub, Curtos.pt, Barakatalan, and so on.
A longer list of web apps powered by Yii can be found here.
Pros of Yii
Quick app development: Fast app development is one of the most exciting features of Yii. It gives you all the tools and functionalities to quickly finish a web development project. Using code generation and APIs, you can write code productively.
Amazing security: Yii lets you write secure code by providing you with built-in tools and defaults.
Great official support: There’s a great collection of official learning materials available for this framework which let you learn this tool with ease. On the official site, you will find useful books, documentation, and other learning stuff that will aid you to master this framework. There's also a live chat feature on their website so you can clear any doubts that you have.
In-built components: Laminas provides you with a rich set of pre-made components for all your web development needs. These components will greatly speed up your development work and completing your web project will become a lot easier with them.
High-quality documentation: The official site of Laminas offers easy-to-understand documentation and tutorials for quick learning.
Cons of Laminas
Laminas is comparatively a new project. Although it has great official docs, you won’t find sufficient tutorials on the Internet.
As it’s not as popular as Laravel and Rails, finding support from the community can be difficult. For example, if you get stuck somewhere, you won’t find many people on the Internet to help you out.
There aren’t enough plugins to address your development issues and you may have to opt for costly plugins to extend the capabilities of this framework.
Released on July 21 o 2005, Django is a popular Python framework for modern web application development. This framework was developed by Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison.
Django’s popularity has slightly increased over time.
Interest by region
The above world map shows Django’s popularity in different regions.
Websites that are using this framework
Great sites like Discus, Mozilla, Pinterest, Instagram, Open Knowledge Foundation, Knight Foundation, Spotify, YouTube, The Washington Post, DropBox, Eventbrite, and BitBucket are using Django.
Pros of Django
Extremely fast development: One of the best reasons to choose Django is fast development. As Django handles site maps, user authentication, RSS feeds, and content administration, you can quickly complete your web project. Whether you need to build a content management system, a social networking website, or a computing platform, you can do so pretty quickly using Django.
Highly scalable: This framework lets you build highly scalable web apps. The top sites built with this tool have no scalability issues even though they have millions of users. Django’s ‘shared-nothing’ architecture allows you to add hardware pretty flexibly at any level.
Strong security: Django adds great security to your websites. It protects you from SQL injection, clickjacking, cross-site scripting, and so on. It provides you with a secure user authentication system.
Cons of Django
Performance issues: Python is obviously not the fastest language out there and Django’s architecture does not promise great performance, although you can always boost your site’s speed by following some optimization rules.
Lack of convention: As there’s some deficiency of convention, developers face some issues. It has some lack of convention when compared to development tools such as Ruby on Rails.
Not suitable for small static websites: Django is definitely not a good choice for small static websites. If you attempt to build a static website with this tool, you will have to spend too much time on this simple task.
Written in Python, CubicWeb is an awesome web application development framework that allows you to quickly build websites. It lets you reuse components that are known as cubes for fast app development.
This framework was released in 2001, and it was created by Logilab.
This graphic shows that CubicWeb is most popular in India, France, etc.
Websites built with CubicWeb
Some websites made with CubicWeb are CubicWeb.org, LogiLab.org, semweb.pro, zemantica.com, and so on. A longer list can be seen here.
Pros of CubicWeb
Reusable components: CubicWeb provides you with a set of reusable components that will allow you to build a web application very fast. So instead of reinventing the wheel, you can quickly complete your website project using the pre-made components.
Power of Python: CubicWeb lets you write code in Python. So if you’re a Python lover, this is a great benefit for you. With this framework, you get the power of the Python language.
Object-oriented programming: This web development tool follows object-oriented programming principles. So, with this framework, you get the capability of OOP.
Cons of CubicWeb
Lack of features: This framework does not have many features when compared to other modern web development tools.
Lack of community support: Community support for this framework is not that much good when compared to other frameworks such as Laravel and Ruby On Rails.
Lack of learning resources: If an app development tool does not have sufficient learning resources, it can be difficult to learn the framework. As of now, if you google ‘CubicWeb tutorial,’ only 18,500 results are shown which is not impressive at all.
In this blog post, I have compared nine different web development frameworks and mentioned their pros and cons. By reading the pros and cons and other details, you can get a clear idea about each of these frameworks. If you want to know more about a particular framework, simply visit its official site.
You need to choose a framework based on what kind of web development project you have. I hope, by now, you have been able to choose a web development tool that will solve your problem effectively.
Do you need a website or web app developed? If you don’t have the time or expertise required to build a great web app, you can schedule a free consultation here with one of our experts who will guide you through the process.
Express, a web framework for Node.js, is a fantastic, modern web development tool that makes your website building work a breeze. It allows you to create powerful, sophisticated, and beautiful websites.
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