I have been using PHP since it was in version 3. Since then, I have learnt and worked with a number of Frameworks like Zend, Symfony, CodeIgniter, Phalcon, Kohana, CakePHP as well as micro-frameworks like Silex, Slim and Lumen. In the last couple of years however, I have worked more with Symfony and Laravel.
When deciding on a Framework, certain factors need to be considered and these are;
- Robust Architecture
- Database ORM Support
- Performance and Caching
- Good Documentation
- Community and Support
Laravel excels in all the above points, providing these as out-of-the-box components which can be used without writing more than a few lines of code. The documentation of the Frsmework is simple and detailed making it almost needless to write a book on it compared to other Frameworks.
One other thing that makes Laravel quite popular is its learning curve. It is quite easy with a bit of PHP knowledge to build a simple web application. This however has a flip side. I have seem a lot of Laravel code written by inexperience developers who do not have a deep understanding of the framework due to the fact that they do not have a solid grasp of PHP. I have even seen some CVs where Laravel is listed along programming languages that they person has skills in.
My advice for anyone venturing into developing an application with a Framework; Learn the language first and understand the basic concepts of the languages. When you choose a framework, familiarise yourself with the codebase. You won't understand everything but you will learn a lot about how it works and how to write efficient code leveraging on the power of the framework.