Symfony and Laravel have been keeping the leading positions in PHP custom web development for the past several years. They help web developers to speed things up and make their codes leaner.
Both frameworks are great for smooth and fast web development and can help build apps that fully meet all the business requirements and easily adapt to any changes in the future.
In this article, we explain the main similarities and differences between the two frameworks to help you to choose the best one for your web app development project.
Laravel & Symfony in Brief
Laravel is an open-source PHP framework that has a traditional for most frameworks MVC (Model-View-Controller) design pattern in its core. It’s a classy PHP framework that requires minimal configuration and has an expressive syntax. To create web apps, Laravel reuses the existing components that it can take from different frameworks.
Laravel was created as a more convenient alternative to CodeIgniter with a broader set of tools. It has grown into a stand-alone robust PHP framework, with strong community support. Laravel is known for its simple and fast coding approach and works great for building effective web apps in PHP.
Symfony is a web app PHP framework that has a large community and a wide number of open-source projects. It also relies on MVC pattern and just like Laravel can be used on various computing platforms.
The two frameworks have much in common. Moreover, Laravel uses most of its third-party libraries from Symfony components, therefore, about 30% of Laravel code is Symfony. Meanwhile, unlike Laravel Symfony represents a more complex framework that is harder to learn, though it better works for big-scale projects.
Many software companies use Laravel to facilitate web app development. Laravel automates a wide range of software development processes and eases such common web development tasks as authentication, routing, sessions, and caching.
Here is why Laravel is so popular among software developers and businesses:
Laravel provides web developers with a lightweight and easy to use default Blade template engine. It helps to create fascinating layouts with dynamic content by incorporating CSS and JS files into the templates. Meanwhile, it doesn’t restrict the use of plain PHP code in views.
Artisan is a CLI (Command Line Interface) used in Laravel to automate recursive programming tasks. This way web developers can reduce apps’ development time and write their app codes much clearer.
Besides that, Artisan helps to create the database structure which facilitates the use of a database system. Also, it can be used for the creation of the basic MVC files straight from the command-line and manage them and their configuration.
Artisan is a highly useful tool as it allows web developers to build their own commands and manage files in the most convenient way.
Eloquent ORM tool helps web developers interact with databases without using the SQL programming language. Instead, they use PHP syntax to query databases. Laravel’s Eloquent ORM is one of the fastest than any other ORM tool used in PHP frameworks.
Laravel provides web developers with a wide range of pre-installed, third-party, Object-Oriented, and other libraries. They add to the framework’s functionality and allow building modular, quick-to-respond, and effective web apps.
With MVC architecture software developers can create comprehensive and well-structured apps with clear logic and presentation. MVC architecture improves app performance and provides a variety of built-in functions.
Migration system for databases
The migration system in Laravel decreases the possibility of losing data. It expands the database structure of apps with no necessity to recreate it every time web developers introduce any changes in its structure.
Laravel framework facilitates code-testing by providing unit testing tools. It can run a large number of tests at a time. It does so to ensure that an app’s code really works and that any code changes won’t result in any system failures.
Laravel framework has a number of advanced tools that help to protect an app’s code from various kinds of hacker attacks such as SQL code injections, XSS vulnerabilities, Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), and others.
Symfony framework offers web developers a strong set of tools that allow building complex and well-grounded web apps with standardized or unique features. Here are the elements that make Symfony an option for many web developers.
A bundle is a collection of files organized in a certain structure. Web developers can use and reconfigure bundles several times for building various applications. This way bundles help software developers to cut down the development costs and reduce the overall development time.
Components are used to automate routine tasks. Symfony has 30 handy components that enhance app development processes. Web developers can build their own modules without breaking an app’s architecture. Moreover, they can use Symfony components in any other framework. For example, Laravel strongly relies on Symfony components to provide easy web development solutions.
Bundles together with Components exclude the necessity to use inflexible dependencies in architecture, giving web developers more development freedom. Moreover, the minimum number of dependencies reduces the risk of breaking any system parts once web developers make any changes.
Symfony framework has a wide number of features and functionalities that allow building apps in web developers’ own style. It offers two modes: a full-stack that lets building more standardized solutions – for example, Symfony’s Twig template engine provides predefined filters and functions – and brick by brick development if web developers want to include any specific features in their app and create their own custom framework.
MVC architecture pattern
The MVC architecture helps to build well-organized web apps with clear business logic, specific models of displaying data to a user, and a system that controls the flow of the app execution. In Symfony web developers can divide the business logic from the user presentation into separate layers, improving app maintainability.
As Symfony provides web developers with reusable bundles, the absence of strict dependencies, and a possibility to create their own design patterns, it’s much easier to maintain an app’s code and provide its unit testing. Symfony uses PHPUnit independent library to automate unit testing and reduce web developers’ routine work.
Many web developers agree that Symfony’s documentation is one of the best among other PHP frameworks. It’s simple to understand, well-structured, and gets renewed with every Symfony update release.
The security component is a complex and incredibly powerful system in Symfony. It provides web developers with out of the box solutions that enhance app protection. It uses various tools for authentication and authorization features, including encoded passwords, loading users, and many others. Also, it allows web developers to implement their own authentication strategies.
Pros & Cons of Laravel and Symfony
- It is constantly updated with the newest PHP features.
- It allows any third party app or platform integration through API.
- It has a substantial ecosystem of additional tools.
- Some applications built in Laravel may lack speed loading on mobile.
- Difficult to learn if there is previous programming background.
- It is complicated for legacy systems to migrate to Laravel.
- Symfony is regularly updated by the developers in the community as it is an open source framework.
- Well-known platforms like Drupal and Magento use Symfony.
- Excellent code quality.
- Some applications built with Symfony could load slower due to the lack of origin elements.
- Takes time to learn, build and launch.
- Requires significant time for testing while slowing down the development process.
When Laravel is Better than Symfony (and the Other Way Round)?
Both frameworks have many strong and effective web development features and tools. Let’s have a closer look at Laravel vs Symfony features in comparison. It’ll facilitate the choice between the two PHP web development services.
Symfony is a great alternative for complex web apps or apps that require non-standard development with unique features. For example, it could be an enterprise app, an e-commerce web app, or a music and video streaming service.
The most known brands that use Symfony for developing their complex web apps and platforms are Spotify, BlablaCar, Dailymotion, Swiss Open Government Data, NatGeo, Trivago, and many others.
Laravel better suits for handling smaller projects that require fast implementation. Laravel’s built-in authentication, easy migration of databases, and simple configuring facilitate and significantly speeds up web app development.
Among the most popular Laravel users, you can find Deltanet Travel, MyRank, Laravel Tricks, Koel, Laravel Spreadsheet, Invoice Ninja, Canvas, and others.
Those software developers that have extensive expertise in PHP and Symfony can optimize the framework for fast performance. Though beginners might fail to implement all that variety of scalability and optimization options that Symfony offers.
Whereas development with Laravel is a simple and amazingly fast experience. It has many autoconfigured features, therefore, web developers don’t have to maintain it manually or tune it up.
The Doctrine database in Symfony automatically migrates all the data. Software developers have to create repository functions to access the needed data.
In Laravel, web developers use the Eloquent database that demands manual data migration. For data access, they need to use the eloquent syntax that performs all the CRUD (Create Read, Update, Delete) operations with databases.
Symfony supports YAML, PHP, and XML languages. Also, Symfony requires account registration. While Laravel runs only on PHP and doesn’t need any registration as it has only manual support for factories and decorators.
Both Laravel and Symfony are great for web development. The choice between the two is determined by the business requirements and the features you want to add to your app.
If you want to develop a simple web app with minimum expenses and in a short time then you need to search for Laravel development company. Whereas Symfony perfectly suits complex web apps or long term development projects that require unconventional development approaches.