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Laravel Vs Symfony – An Honest Comparison

Date
18 Oct 2021

Author
Thomas King

PHP frameworks are most frequently chosen solution when it comes to web development. There are several PHP frameworks in the market, but Laravel and Symfony remain the most popular of this kind. Both Laravel and Symfony have their pros and cons, all of which you should know before you decide on which framework to use.

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PHP frameworks are most frequently chosen solution when it comes to web development. There are several PHP frameworks in the market, but Laravel and Symfony remain the most popular of this kind. 

Both Laravel and Symfony have their pros and cons, all of which you should know before you decide on which framework to use. That is why Reach have decided to create this comparison between the two, we hope after reading this article you will be able to make an informed decision on which framework is best suited to your project. 

When developers take on any enterprise-grade web application they often prefer to use a framework. This is because using a framework makes it easier to handle things with minimal coding. PHP frameworks come in handy because they have coding standards which encourage good programming style, practices and methods. 

Laravel & Symfony: In Brief 

Laravel is an open-source PHP framework that has a MVC (Model-View-Controller) design which is traditional for most frameworks. Its framework requires minimal configuration and has an impressive syntax. To create web apps, Laravel reuses the listing components that it can take from different frame works.

Laravel was created in 2011 and was designed as a more convenient alternative to CodeIgniter with a broader set of tools. Since then it has grown into a stand-alone robust PHP framework with a strong community of 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. It also relies on MVC pattern and can be used on various computing platforms. However, it is not just a framework, it is a set of reusable PHP components. 

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 is better suited for big-scale projects.

Laravel PHP development

Similarities 

Needless to say, the first similarity you’ll notice is that they are both PHP frameworks, they both use PHP as their programming language. 

Below is a list of the most important features both possess:

  • Open Source projects
  • Based on the MVC pattern (which means there are no big conceptual differences)
  • A CLI tool is available for common tasks
  • Code is organised in a particular way
  • Testing tools are available
  • Cover the full stack leveraging existing projects (ORMs, Template Engines, etc…)
  • It can run on multiple platforms (Operating systems and database engines)
  • Have built-in internationalisation features (allowing you to easily support multiple languages within your application.)
  • It can be extended easily

It is worth mentioning that they both provide the scaffolding of the application, pattern for interfaces and support text search.

Differences 

Laravel, is a PHP-based MVC framework which aims to streamline fundamental chores used in most web-based programs, such as authentication, routing, sessions, and caching, to speed up development and eliminate complications. Laravel’s goal is to make the software development process enjoyable for developers while maintaining the application’s functionality.

Symfony is a compilation of modular PHP modules, a methodology, and communities that collaborate to create web projects and PHP Symfony. It is not a comprehensive MVC framework like Laravel.

Laravel Pros & Cons

Laravel ProsLaravel Cons
It stays updated with the newest version of PHP featuresSome applications built in Laravel might be heavier for faster loading on mobile
It allows integrating apps and the most popular email services through APIsSome components can differ in quality
It is compatible with other third-party platforms and librariesCan be more difficult to learn to begin with if new to development
It has a large ecosystem of additional toolsIt is not easy for legacy systems to get transferred to Laravel

Symfony Pros & Cons

Symfony ProsSymfony Cons
A significant amount of developers are using Symfony actively, its community is one of the biggest on the marketTakes time to build and launch
Well known platforms such as Drupal, Magento and eZ Publish are using SymfonyIt relies on other technologies so some applications could load slower – there is a lack of origin elements
Symfony is regularly updating to keep it up-to-date with web developers’ needsBecause of the need to rebuild code for multiple uses, testing requires more time
Excellent code qualityIn the beginning, Symfony may be harder to learn compared to other PHP frameworks

Laravel vs Symfony: Projects 

Symfony is great option for large, complex web apps, or apps that require non-standard development with unique features, For example, it could be an enterprise app, an e-commerce app or a music/video streaming app. Well-known companies that use Symfony for developing their complex web apps are Spotify, Trivago and Dailymotion.

Laravel’s better suited for handling smaller projects that require fast implementation. Laravel’s built-in authentication, easy migration of databases and simple configuring aid and significantly speeds up web application development. 

Laravel vs Symfony: Speed & Performance 

The performance measurement is always an ambiguous matter as it can comprise of many different variables. Most benchmarks indicate that Laravel has the upper hand when it comes to application speed. However, with that said Symfony is known for its many optimisation options and there are many levers to be pulled. Though beginners might fail to implement all that variety of scalability and optimisation options that Symfony offers. Whereas development with Laravel is a simple and amazingly fast experience. It has many auto-configured features, therefore, web developers don’t have to maintain it manually or tune it up. As long as you’re using the latest and greatest version of each PHP framework, performance is a toss-up. 

Laravel vs Symfony: Database Access

Both Laravel and Symfony provide object-relational mapping (ORM) for data access. With Symfony, Doctrine handles ORM, while Eloquent provides ORM for Laravel. With ORM, data manipulation becomes much simpler in either PHP framework.

The Doctrine database system automatically migrates all the data, software developers have to create repository functions to access the required data. With the Eloquent system web developers must manually migrate data. For data access they need to use the Eloquent syntax that performs all the CRUD (Create Read, Update, Delete) operations with databases. 

Laravel vs Symfony: Security

Symfony’s security system is powerful but, it can be a little complex to set up. It allows different ways of authentication as well as a very fine-grained permission model. Laravel uses a simpler approach to security, however, in most cases the basic features will more than suffice. 

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Laravel vs Symfony: Templating Engine

A template engine is software designed to combine templates with a data model to produce multiple pages that share the same look throughout the site. PHP in itself is a templating engine. However, providing additional templating engines prove more advance templating with less syntax. While Symfony provides Twig as the default templating engine , Laravel provides a bit more. Laravel’s default templating engine, Blade, has lots for everyone. Blade provides advantages over Twig as it allows for code reusability that doesn’t exist in Twig. Additionally, Laravel brings in Lumen, a sub-framework for building APIs and micro services. 

Laravel vs Symfony: Modularity & Scaling 

Both PHP Laravel and Symfony PHP are developed on MVC architecture, but in terms of component reusability and code modularity, Symfony has the edge over Laravel on this one. It structures the program in an organised fashion and becomes the perfect fit for larger and complex projects.

Laravel vs Symfony: Popularity 

On the popularity front, Laravel is definitely the winner these days.

Google Trends reports that Laravel has been the most popular PHP framework for the last 5 years. Symfony sits in close second. But that is not to say that Laravel is going to be the right choice for your particular project. 

Framework Usage Stats

BuiltWith reports that:

Laravel – 763,771 live websites currently using Laravel PHP framework. 

Symfony – 55,837 live websites currently using Symfony PHP framework. 

Final Score

It is clear that both Laravel and Symfony are rich in features. It all depends on what problems you have and which technology is best suited to solving those problems. 

If you want to develop a simple web app with minimum expense and in a shorter period of time then we would recommend Laravel. Where as Symfony suits complex web apps or long-term development projects that require unconventional development approaches. 

Laravel and Symphony are both popular and trustworthy. As we mentioned before, the crucial thing is to consider what project you want to launch, what features it should have and what goal you want to achieve. We hope that after reading the article, this hard choice becomes somewhat clearer.

There is no better or worst framework, there is only whether it is suitable or not for your project. We can help you decide which one is better for you! Contact us today and have a chat with one of our experts. 

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