Laravel vs Symfony : the Ultimate showdown b/w two PHP Frameworks

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Modern web apps works on the MVC architecture. The architecture allows them to perform advanced functionalities. It gives developers the ease to develop applications with optimized features. That is why many developers prefers MVC to develop their web projects.

Because of its advanced features, Symfony has been the top choice of developers. As the framework offers flawless in-built features and optimized coding environment. Using it, developers can create big scale applications. Today, many web apps works on Symfony. Because it creates robust apps with professional security mechanisms.

But in last two years, one framework has also grown immersively in the PHP development market. It has shown true potential to name itself as one of the most advanced PHP framework. Because it offers all the modern features a professional web app needs. That framework is Laravel. It has solid architecture and state of the art inbuilt features. Such as Eloquent ORM , Argon2i algorithm support, Blade engine and others. Which makes it a precised platform for developers to create versatile applications on any hosting for PHP.

Symfony has also gone with remarkable updates over the last few years. Recently, its new updated version Symfony 4 has hit the market. Which has greater code simplification than the previous one. That is why many developers are rating its new version as the best uptill now.

So both of these frameworks works on modern MVC architecture. They provide ease to the developers to create flawless web apps with extensive features. That is why from budding to professional developers, all prefers these two frameworks.

Business Solution Focus

Both Laravel and Symfony frameworks are best in their own. As both of them provides different features to build various types of applications. Hence developers choose among them according to their requirements. As what are their front-end and back-end tasks and how they want to perform it. So both the frameworks offers certain solutions and holds their respective value.

Take an example of any Ecommerce store, in which the requirements are defined in advance. Users require easy and secure payment integration gateways and other plugins to build fully functional online stores. While enterprise level businesses require high performance, stable and scalable web apps to support their online operations.

Programming Language

Symfony 4 precisely does the code simplification. The framework largely allows you to use universal coding style. Which means that you can modify the syntax to any other language of your preference.

While on the other hand, Laravel eases the developers job by using traits and magic methods. The coding in Laravel becomes much shorter and less repetitive. Which makes it easy to understand and work accordingly for changing application functions.

The Core Layer

The best and common part of both Laravel and Symfony frameworks is that they uses a set of common libraries called “The Symfony Components”.

But Laravel adds some more advanced components other that what Symfony component provides. Which includes patching issues and some additional security features.

Installation Comparison

You can install both Laravel and Symfony frameworks using simple composer command. So, let’s first install the latest version of Laravel. Go to your projects root directory and execute the following command in the terminal

composer create-project laravel/laravel laravel-demo-project

This command will create a new folder with the name Laravel-demo. Then install all necessary dependencies and run other installation scripts. Same process goes on for installing Symfony 4 application

composer create-project symfony/skeleton symfony-demo-project

The composer puts application files inside the symfony-demo-project and then after installs dependencies.

So both the frameworks have same installation process and the only difference is the use of CLI tool. Laravel uses Artisan while Symfony uses typical console which is inside the /bin directory. But as we know most of the developers uses Docker or nginx/apache, so the process remains same for both.

Database

Both Symfony and Laravel has seperate database architecture. Symfony uses Doctrine while Laravel uses Eloquent ORM for its database operations.

Doctrine writes Database queries with its own object oriented SQL naming as Doctrine

Query Language (DQL).

While Laravel uses Eloquent ORM that provides easy and simple methods for performing database operations. In Eloquent, every table has its own Model which helps interacting with the table for adding, modifying or deleting data.

So Eloquent is definitely more advanced as compared to Symfony’s Doctrine. Because it provides database transaction and several other stunning features to implement fully functional MVC architecture. Hence Eloquent has got more preference of developers in comparison to Doctrine for handling database queries.

Migrations

You don’t have to worry about Migrations in Doctrine, as they are automatically made for you. You just have to define the Model and rest of all depends on the platform. While in Eloquent, you have to define Migrations manually, but don’t have to define Model fields as they are pre-made for you.

Template – Twig vs Blade

To code front-end readable templates, Symfony uses Twig templates. It is a very useful templating language which allows you to code front end templates with ease. That is why developers prefers twig for coding front end templates. As it doesn’t requires additional PHP knowledge and is very easy to code.

Example:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html>

<head>

<title>Welcome to Symfony!</title>

</head>

<body>

<h1>{{ page_title }}</h1>

<ul id=”tasks”>

{% for item in tasks %}

<li><a href=”{{ item.href }}”>{{ item.title }}</a></li>

{% endfor %}

</ul>

</body>

</html>

 

While Laravel uses a templating system known as Blade. It requires a bit of PHP knowledge to code templates. But is very efficient and provides front-end developers handy features to code optimized templates.

Example below:

<!doctype html>

<head>

<meta charset=”utf-8″>

<meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=edge”>

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>

<title>Laravel</title>

</head>

<body>

<h2> TASKS: </h2>

<ul>

@foreach ($tasksDB as $task)

<li>

<a href=”/tasks/{{ $task->id }}”>

{{ $task->title }}

</a>

</li>

@endforeach

</ul>

</body>

</html>

Routing

Routing is a particular process of decomposing URL endpoints into parameters, so that it could determine which mode and controller should receive the request.

Symfony Route

To define routing in Symfony 4, we mostly use YAML annotations in controller. Following is the example:

 

// src/Controller/BlogController.php

namespace App\Controller;

 

use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\Controller;

use Symfony\Component\Routing\Annotation\Route;

 

class TasksController extends Controller

{

 

public function list()

{

// …

}

 

public function show($slug)

{

 

 

}

}

 

Laravel Route

We have default route file in Laravel and it is the place where we define routes.

 

Route::get(‘/’, function () {

return view(‘welcome’, [

‘name’ => ‘Cloudways’’

]);

});

 

Route::get(‘/about’, function() {

return view(‘users_about’);

});

Middleware

Both Laravel and Symfony uses middleware, but their functioning is quite different.

The middleware pattern which Laravel uses is decorator. You can create functions in decorator which calls the next level of middleware. It can perform all the operations you want before and after the call.

While Symfony uses observer pattern in which you can add listeners to pre and post events.

Both middleware solutions has their pros and cons. With Laravel’s decorator, you can control your requests better, while in Symfony you can create middleware from any point according to your own preference.

Service Container

The best feature for which Symfony is known for is its Service containers. It is a typical way of accessing one service from another by using a method called injections. For an instance, if you require to send an email via some code, then you can simply specify that task in your class controller that it takes swift mailer service inside one of its parameters.

 

While Laravel solves this issue in a quite unique way. It doesn’t makes any artificial config file, instead uses core concepts of OOP and PHP type hinting. In Laravel, you can access any service by just putting its interface as parameter inside the functions. So calling the function with App::call() method in Laravel automatically gives you desired services as function parameters.

You can alternatively access services in Laravel by App::make() or resolve() functions.

Cache and performance

Both Laravel and Symfony caches their views, and the only difference between them is that Symfony caches its source code by default. But still, Laravel works much faster than Symfony even when it is caching its views. So it is rightly said that Laravel gives much faster and optimized performance as compared to Symfony.

While besides faster performance, both Symfony and Laravel supports Memcached, Redis and file based caching.

Example :

Laravel Memcached

 

In order to use Memcached driver, you need to install Memcached PECL package first. You can list all your Memcached servers in the config/cache.php file.

 

‘memcached’ => [

[

‘host’ => ‘127.0.0.1’,

‘port’ => 11211,

‘weight’ => 100

],

],

 

Symfony Memcached

In Symfony, you have to pass Memcached instance as first parameter. While can pass namespace and default cache lifetime as second and third parameters respectively.

 

use Symfony\Component\Cache\Adapter\MemcachedAdapter;

 

$cache = new MemcachedAdapter(

 

\Memcached $client,

 

$namespace = ”,

$defaultLifetime = 0

);

Validation

Both Symfony and Laravel have big difference in terms of validation.

In Laravel, you can perform validation either in a form or could validate requests manually. Whereas Symfony only allows you to validate models.

So if you want to validate same object multiple times, then its pretty hard in Symfony. But in Laravel, you can add same validation logic to every other form and it doesn’t restricts you to one object only.

Customized validation is another thing which holds significant value in both of these frameworks. It refers basically to a validation rule that does not exists in the framework or a validation rule that is more advanced than the conventional ones. For that, you can use After Validation hook in Laravel. While in Symfony, you can create entire new Validator for your desired purpose.

Which Framework is Best ? (Opinion)

So it’s a humble advice to you that you should always pick the framework which suits your project requirements and should not go for the popularity of the framework.

So the bottom line is that choose your frameworks wisely before starting your project development. I would recommend you to use both frameworks at least one time, so that you can get acquaintance of their functioning. This will give you better idea how both the frameworks works and enough knowledge to choose precisely for your next project.

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