Nowadays, sending information between, for example, web and mobile applications is becoming more and more popular. Most IT systems use relational databases (a significant part of them are designed in an object-oriented way) – from simple corporate websites ending with advanced systems supporting eCommerce.

With the growing demand for improving web applications, frameworks have become increasingly popular. It is because they allow you to increase the efficiency of programming. An example that we will focus on today is a PHP web application framework – Symfony.

Symfony is a flexible PHP framework that allows you to easily modify or develop code already created. It provides tools to manage errors and debug PHP code with ease. Symfony is a set of reusable PHP components and bundles which helps to save time when you want to enrich the store with additional functions.

PHP Symfony framework – overview

Symfony, powered by SensioLabs, was founded by Fabien Potencier in late 2004 to create websites faster. Shortly after its creation, he decided to release the software under the MIT license. Currently, it is one of the most popular PHP frameworks.


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Symfony aims to speed up the creation and maintenance of web applications and replace repetitive coding tasks.

The Symfony framework is a cross-platform solution, which means you can use it regardless of your operating system. The main features of Symfony are:

  • MVC design pattern
  • object-oriented programming,
  • ease of installation and configuration,
  • session management,
  • built-in internationalization,
  • integration with Doctrine.

PHP framework

A framework is a backbone for building an application. It defines the application’s structure and operation’s general mechanism and provides a set of components and libraries to perform specific tasks.

The first function of frameworks is to use embedded methods that take up hundreds of lines of code and are very time-consuming to prepare by yourself.

Another advantage of using frameworks is an extensive support team, documentation, and large forums of supporters, thanks to which you can often find solutions to various problems.

In general, the main advantages of using the framework are:

  • A predefined structure that is known and thought out by many people
  • Pre-established design patterns in the application
  • Predefined functions – routing, autoloader, template system (in Symfony – Twig)
  • A community that contributes to the improvement of the framework code base
  • A developed set of functions that are necessary to use in new projects
  • Modules, libraries, and plugins that developers can add to the application
  • Integration with ORM (Object-Relational Mapping)

MVC framework

MVC (Model-View-Controller) is a software design pattern built based on a combination of three main types of components in a programming language such as PHP, often with a strong emphasis on object-oriented software (OOP) paradigms. These three types of components are loosely referred to as models, views, and controllers.

The model is where the entire business logic of the application is preserved. Business logic can be specific to an application that stores data or uses third-party services to meet business requirements. If the application accesses information in the database, the code responsible for it will be stored in the model. 

The view is where your application’s user interface elements are stored. It can include HTML code, CSS stylesheets, or JavaScript files. The view can store everything the user sees or the items he interacts with in the view.

The controller is the component that connects models and views. The request is first passed to the controller, which then creates the models and views required to cover the request in the application.

Source: https://symfony.com/what-is-symfony

Faster and easier way to success

The PHP framework Symfony is one of the finest frameworks. Creating and maintaining PHP code in the Symfony framework is effective and simplified. Furthermore, relying on the Symfony framework and the reusable Symfony components is cost-efficient, so people don’t have to build their own tools when they are already created and customized.

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Dependency injection

Applications have several services or components that differ in their interaction. Dependency injection is a mechanism that implements the principle of inversion of control in the Symfony framework. It is based on dynamic dependencies injection of class using a description (a configuration file, for example.) What’s the benefit? You no longer have to express dependencies between components in the code statically but to determine them dynamically at execution.

Symfony REST / GraphQL backend

Symfony serves as a backend, providing a REST or GraphQL API which the frontend interface communicates with. This interface allows you to communicate with a mobile application or other services, thanks to which it is possible to implement a platform tailored to different endpoints.

Cache management

The great advantage of the Symfony PHP framework is caching management. All because MySQL executes every single query read by Symfony. Importantly, all instructions are saved in MySQL and can be used successfully in the future. Noteworthy is also an option called caching fragment, which by preserving page fragments reduces the number of queries to the database, if necessary. It is a beneficial solution, e.g. when creating a shopping cart, user login statuses, or the possibility of entering comments on a blog.

Autoloader

It’s a function that helps you include/require files using the class name.

Every time you want to use a new class in your project, you need to include this class. In short, Symfony autoloader allows you to define search paths for classes so you wouldn’t be required to manually include the files containing them.

Twig templates

„The flexible, fast, and secure template engine for PHP”

Twig allows you to embed code related to creating dynamic page elements inside HTML tags.

Symfony Framework Bundle

The elements used to create applications in Symfony are the so-called bundle. These are packages of files that enable the creation of various functionalities in the platform or application (e.g. chat or shopping cart).

The modular structure of Symfony allows Symfony developers to use only specific bundles in specific projects. It means the number of unnecessary elements and repetitive coding tasks is reduced. In addition, each bundle has its own detailed documentation, so adding new modules is easy. As a result, Symfony allows you to create a project (web applications) ideally suited to any business.

Profiler

The most difficult challenge developers face is maintaining an application’s health. Symfony profiler monitors the application’s behavior by mapping the back-end activities and actions.

It appears as an informative panel at the bottom of the project. It can also be expanded into a dashboard to keep track of all the activities such as user authentication, routing, and end-to-end logging.

Composer

Symfony composer is an efficient tool for managing all the components.  You can use it to install various Symfony components and external packages in the Symfony framework making it easy for Symfony developers. They can also easily declare the libraries without extra time and effort.

Another best feature is that none of the Symfony components are automatically enabled, which means Symfony users can use them according to their requirements.

The best PHP Framework?

Comparing Symfony framework to other frameworks

You need to find the right framework when you begin a new project. The great number of possible solutions makes creating an application complex in today’s world. PHP offers a multitude of choices available.

Some of the most commonly used PHP frameworks are:

  • Symfony
  • Laravel
  • Laminas (formerly Zend)
  • Yii

Laravel

Laravel is one of the most common names when it comes to PHP frameworks. Apart from MVC, features like ORM, RESTful controllers, the lightweight Blade template engine, unit testing, and its comprehensive packaging systems make Laravel one of the most used PHP frameworks.

Pros:

  • It offers a vast ecosystem that provides an immediate deployment platform.
  • It has a set of features that facilitate the customization of complex applications, such as data migration, MVC architecture, and authentication.
  • Integrates well with third-party libraries and platforms

Laminas

Laminas (Zend) framework is entirely object-oriented. Its engine contains many tools focused on building corporate applications, significantly facilitating work in demanding and complex projects.

Pros:

  • It includes internal tools that speed up the project creation process, such as a drag & drop editor and online debugging systems.
  • It complies with PHP-FIG standards, which means its code can easily be transferred to other frameworks.

Yii

Yii is an object-oriented PHP framework based on the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) concept. Due to the easier learning curve, it is said to be a direct competitor to Symfony, suited for beginners.

Pros:

  • Easy installation process
  • Robust security features
  • Fast, efficient, and highly expandable

Symfony

Symfony has been around for much longer than most PHP frameworks on the market and has been trusted by developers continuously since 2005. The biggest players on the market use Symfony components.

Pros:

  • It will be perfect when you need to implement scalable projects due to the modular system of components.
  • It has a built-in toolbar for easy debugging and software testing.
  • It offers independence from the database engine and enables integration with libraries from other vendors.
  • Documentation and a huge community

Who uses Symfony?

Symfony helped many eCommerce businesses in the development of their websites. Some of the prominent companies that are benefitting a lot from using the Symfony PHP framework are:

  • Spotify – uses the Symfony framework to manage its user’s accounts.
  • Trivago – Symfony helps users to have the best experience when searching and comparing different hotel accommodation offers
  • BlaBlaCar – Symfony is used both for the frontend and backend of a website and a mobile application
  • DailyMotion – ease of adding new features and functionalities, thanks to a vast collection of components
  • Sylius – is an interesting example of an eCommerce framework that uses a framework

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Summary – Is Symfony PHP framework the best choice for any company?

Symfony is one of the possible solutions. Its popularity makes it clear that this choice is often found among various developers/companies because of the many advantages that distinguish this framework from others.

Symfony’s outstanding flexibility allows you to create complex and large projects and work on small tasks. The programmer chooses how many additional modules he will need during his work.

After all, Symfony also allows you to test your code and fix any bugs. In addition, a professional approach to the programmer’s work and emphasis on good practices make it easier to work with applications later.

If you are looking for experienced Symfony developers or want to set up your new project on top of it, schedule a free consultation with our expert. We will do our best to help you develop your eCommerce website.