Digital Communication


Digital Communication

Symfony vs Laravel: comparison of frameworks


Symfony and Laravel are the most popular PHP frameworks. Both are proven and have been field tested, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Below we explain how PHP frameworks work and for which types of projects Laravel and Symfony are most suitable.

What is PHP and what are PHP frameworks?

Released in the mid-1990s, PHP was the first web programming language. Personal Home Page Tools, as the language was initially called, made it easier dynamic assembly of HTML documents on a server. Let’s see more precisely what this means.

HTML documents form the basis of information found on the Web. The current content is structured using HTML tags. HTML becomes interesting when dynamic content is inserted into a static page. This is where PHP was revolutionary. Language can be embedded in HTML documents and other text documents. The static structure is preserved, dynamic information is inserted by code inserted between special PHP tags. For example, to display a user’s name in a welcome message:

  Bienvenue, <?PHP echo $user ?>


Do you want to know more about the PHP language? You will find all the basics and first steps to know in our PHP tutorial.

The recurring need for web application functions such as database connection, user authentication, and form validation led to the emergence of the PHP web framework. Conceptually located between the programming library and the content management system, layers and content components are suitable for assembling larger systems. In addition to Laravel and Symfony, there are now a number of other mature PHP frameworks:

  • CakePHP, 2005;
  • Symphony, 2005;
  • CodeIgniter, 2006;
  • Laminas Project, formerly Zend Framework, 2006;
  • Yii, 2008; And
  • Laravel, 2011.

Symfony vs Lavarel

The Laravel and Symfony PHP frameworks have several points in common. Both are Open Source projects and are suitable for creating server-based web applications. Laravel and Symfony use the MVC pattern (Model View Controller) to separate critical issues. Requests to the web application are processed by a controller that manages the model data and presents it in the view:

  • Model : data model and management;
  • View : user interface ;
  • Controller: interface between the model and the view.

Laravel and Symfony have contributed significantly to the development of the PHP ecosystem. So, important PHP-based technologies have emerged from these two frameworks and are also used in other projects. Symfony is particularly famous for the modular structure of components decoupled from each other. So other PHP frameworks such as YII and Laravel use Symfony components.

With Composer, there is a solid foundation for package management for PHP projects in Laravel and Symfony. In addition to the actual structure, other components can be installed and managed. Composer is available on all server operating systems and can be used via PHP on Ubuntu or through IONOS web hosting packages.

We refer here to the framework versions Laravel 4+ and Symfony 2/3, considering that earlier versions are completely different. Let’s take a detailed look at the following features of Laravel and Symfony:

Features Symfony Laravel
Templating Twig Blade
ORM Doctrine Eloquent
CLI bin/console artisan
Configuration YAML PHP

Modeling via Laravel and Symfony

The arrival of the PHP model, which combines static and dynamic components, was revolutionary. Previously, all HTML code had to be combined programmatically using string concatenation of static parts and dynamically generated values. This approach was complex and error-prone because it was difficult to understand.

In addition to embedding code in static text, the include function has contributed significantly to the success of PHP. The include command allows you to assemble a page from several pieces, which allows for consistent layouts. For example, multiple pages with different content can have the same navigation menu.

The model consists of create HTML documents from static templates and dynamic components. If you use PHP directly as a templating language, major drawbacks quickly become apparent. Since HTML, PHP, SQL, CSS and JavaScript can be present in a PHP file, there is a lack of separation of interests. Additionally, security vulnerabilities can result from SQL injection and cross site scripting (XSS).

To avoid these negative impacts, Laravel and Symfony both have their own languages. These accept the data and render the HTML code. A clear separation of problems is guarantee because the output is automatically cleaned by an escape sequence, thus preventing code injection. Generated PHP or HTML documents can be temporarily stored in cache.

Symfony’s language, Twig, allows the creation of complex document families, including layouts, partials and components. Twig contains many useful filters and functions and relies on easy-to-learn syntax. Let’s dynamically create a list of users:

    {% for user in users %}
        <li>{{ }}</li>
    {% endfor %}


Laravel relies on the specially developed language called Blade. Unlike Twig, templates can contain arbitrary PHP code. As in Twig, expressions enclosed in double curly braces are evaluated and the result is displayed. Here is the same example in Blade:

    @foreach ($users as $user)
        <li>{{ $user->id }}</li>


Web applications in Laravel and Symfony

Templates are sufficient for purely informational websites with no functionality. A page is assembled on the server and presented to visitors. Equipped with a cache layer, you already have a passable solution. However, web applications require a more advanced approach.

A typical Web 2.0 application generally requires for users to log in, create and edit content. In other words, a database application understanding the main CRUD database operations is required. To make this work for multiple users, authentication, rights management, and session management approaches are required.

In principle, the PHP contains the required blocks. For example, the language includes functions for accessing cookies, managing sessions and much more. It is also possible to control the connection to a database, the execution of queries and access to HTTP request values. Additionally, low-level, minimally abstract functions and global variables such as $_GET, $_POST, and $_COOKIE are inherently used.

In practice, development teams have tended to reinvent the wheel with each new web application. This led to many internal developments weighed down by security flaws and a lack of documentation. A standardized approach or a solid authoring tool containing high-quality components was needed. This is what promoted the emergence of web development frameworks.

Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) acts as an interface between object-oriented code and a relational database. A web application arises from interactions between users and data that changes over time. Typically, the application is written in an object-oriented programming language, while the memory is based on a relational database. Both Laravel and Symfony have their own implementation of the ORM.

The ORM used in Symfony is called Doctrine and is managed as an independent project. Doctrine is based on the Data Mapper model and includes several components. For example, there is caching in addition to the ORM. Laravel’s Eloquent ORM follows the Active Records model and is considered the easiest to use. The two ORMs can be connected to different database backends.

App Scaffording in Laravel and Symfony

Laravel and Symfony have their own command line interface (CLI) for project management. For example, the CLI can be used for App Scaffolding*.* This means the automated construction of project structures such as model view controller components or database models.

Laravel’s command line interface, named artisan, and Symfony’s command line interface, named bin/console, contain a variety of useful commands. An existing Laravel or Symfony application is required before you can access the CLI. The initial installation of a Laravel or Symfony application typically uses Composer.

In summary: the advantages and disadvantages of Laravel and Symfony

Laravel and Symfony are proven web frameworks. Laravel is considered simpler and better suited to smaller projects. There Easy learning curve and quick results have contributed to the success of this popular PHP framework.

Symfony is famous for its decoupled components. These can be used together as a web framework or individually as part of custom software. Laravel focuses on simplicity while Symfony strives to be flexible, making it more suitable for complex projects with special requirements.

Summary comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of Symfony and Laravel:

Criteria Symfony Laravel
Features +++ ++
Maturity +++ +++
Simplicity + ++
Flexibility +++ +
Ease of use + +++
Community ++ +++

Which framework used in which situation? In short, Laravel East the best choice for beginners and small projects, while Symfony has a modular structure and can be flexibly adapted to specific conditions. This makes it particularly suitable for complex applications.

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