When it comes to choosing a PHP framework for web development, there are a lot of options available. However, Symfony vs. Laravel stands out as the two most popular choices.
They are both open-source PHP frameworks and have a large community of developers behind them and a lot of documentation.
So, what’s the difference between Laravel and Symfony? Symfony is more focused on being a reusable set of components that can be used in different projects. Laravel, on the other hand, is a more structured and opinionated, all-in-one solution with everything you need to get started with web development.
So, which one should you choose? It really depends on your needs. We’ve been using laravel for almost a decade now, and we’ve seen its capabilities on projects of varying complexities. So, we wanted to give our two cents about how it compares to Symfony.
Laravel VS Symfony Comparison
Laravel is a PHP web application framework with an expressive, elegant syntax. It is intended to develop web applications following the model–view–controller (MVC) architectural pattern and takes the pain out of development by easing common tasks, such as authentication, routing, and caching.
Symfony is more complex as it requires more knowledge of programming and OOP concepts. There are more intuitive terminologies in Laravel than in Symfony. To start working on a complex project on Symfony, you need to have a solid understanding of programming patterns, object-oriented concepts, and how the web generally works.
Overall, both of these frameworks have their unique features and characteristics. So let’s look at some of the key differences between them to help you decide which is the best fit for you.
Things to Consider About Symfony VS Laravel
Stability and Scalability
Symfony is considered a very stable PHP framework for various reasons. First, it has a clear and consistent coding style that makes it easy to read and maintain. Moreover, Symfony’s dependency injection system allows developers to build modular and scalable applications. It makes it easy to manage dependencies between components, making it easier to maintain and test the application. Moreover, Symfony’s bundle system allows developers to extend the framework and reuse code across multiple projects easily. Also, the Symfony team is cautious about backward compatibility. In contrast, there is a low level of compatibility in Laravel, which means that updating the new version can sometimes be challenging.
On the other hand, Laravel’s architecture is designed to handle complex web applications, large amounts of traffic, and data and provides a solid foundation for building high-performance applications without a massive and steep learning curve. It follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern and provides a clear separation of concerns between the model (data), view (presentation), and controller (business logic). This makes it easier to maintain and scale the application.
Overall, Laravel is optimized for performance and has a simple and lightweight architecture, making it fast and efficient. Symfony is also highly scalable and high-performance, but it has a more complex architecture and requires more resources to run, which can slow down the application’s performance.
Need to Write Much Boilerplate Code
Symfony doesn’t provide many ready-to-use solutions out of the box, and developers need to implement them manually. For example, suppose you want to create a password confirmation feature when the user is registering on a website. In that case, you must develop a separate validator. Therefore, it forces developers to organize their architecture well because it doesn’t provide any “magic” methods and facades like Laravel.
On the other hand, Laravel offers developers an efficient and productive workflow. The framework provides developers with various built-in features, such as queues, file storage, and web sockets for real-time applications. These features help developers quickly build robust, complex applications and websites with minimal effort.
DX (developer experience)
Laravel provides a more traditional MVC structure, making it more intuitive and easier to learn than Symfony’s more complex bundle system. In addition, Laravel’s powerful Eloquent ORM and user authentication libraries make it easier to build complex, interactive web applications quickly, which is why it’s considered to have a smoother developer experience than Symfony.
With a clean and well-documented codebase, developers can get started quickly and easily perform common tasks such as routing, database interactions, and caching a breeze due to the easy-to-use API. In addition, built-in tools and features, such as task scheduling, queuing, and error handling, make building robust and scalable applications easier. And the Eloquent ORM provides an easy-to-use, intuitive interface for working with databases, making it easier to perform complex database operations.
In comparison, Symfony is a more complex framework with a decentralized architecture. Some of its components and features are separate from the core framework, making it difficult for new developers to get started. Ultimately, that makes it more difficult to perform common tasks and increases development time. Plus, Symfony can generate verbose and complex code, making it harder to understand and debug.
Perfect for Building MVP
Given its design and a robust ecosystem with many pre-made packages, Laravel is the top-of-mind solution for shipping out MVPs in no time. This is one of the main reasons why people choose Laravel, especially startups.
Laravel has a robust ecosystem with ready-made packages and many built-in features that can be used to build prototypes and MVPs quickly. Plus, it’s very flexible and easily customized to fit specific business needs.
On top of that, Laravel makes creating and using powerful APIs easy, which is essential for building a successful MVP.
Even if you need to create a SaaS application with multi-tenancy, you can find a boilerplate or package that lets you set it up in a few hours instead of days. Most of them are well-documented and supported by huge companies like Spatie and an actively growing community.
As we mentioned, Symfony is typically considered more complex and mostly speaks OOP concepts and design patterns that may be less intuitively understandable by developers. Plus, Symfony lacks the out-of-the-box solutions that greatly cut the development time with Laravel. So, ultimately, launching the product on Symfony usually takes more time and effort and may not be the best solution for building an MVP.
Laravel and Symfony have very active and well-supported communities, with many resources available, such as tutorials, blog posts, and forums, making it easier for developers to learn and get help.
As for global popularity and usage, let’s look at the Google Trends results, which show the areas where Laravel and Symfony are famous worldwide.
It’s also worth noting that Laravel powers 737,158 live websites, while only 55,244 go with Symfony.
Which one to Choose?
When developing an application, you must consider many factors before choosing a tech stack, such as its complexity, stability, capacity, overall team experience, etc. Generally, both of the discussed frameworks do their job well; both Laravel and Symfony enable developers to create complex, distributed systems that will work for many years and be easy to maintain. In addition, both of these frameworks are great for complex, high-traffic applications.
As for particular niche fortes, Laravel is better suited for SaaS or MVP development and can be easier to get on board with.
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Business development manager