Top Web Development Frameworks

Web Development Frameworks

Web development is a complex business and it’s only getting more so. These days the pressure is on to develop fully functional web apps and services quickly, which means that developers are always under pressure and bumping up against deadlines is not ideal. That’s where web development frameworks come in. They help to ease the developers burden by automating some of the more common activities that crop up as they work. These frameworks often provide libraries for things like database access and session management, and some promote code reuse too.

Without their web frameworks to help them, development teams would face an uphill struggle, equivalent to an auto manufacturer needing to re-invent the wheel every time it built a new car. Frameworks help both back-end and front-end developers to burn through the whole process much more quickly and efficiently, which is as good at preserving sanity as it is at preserving profits.

So let’s take a brief look at some of the most popular web frameworks, both server side and client side.

Front-end Web Frameworks

Angular

Angular is a Typescript-based web framework that’s led by the Angular team at Google. Angular benefits from detailed documentation, the support of a genuine web giant company, and a constantly expanding ecosystem of third-party components that number in the thousands, each of them dedicated to increasing functionality.

On the downside, Angular is quite complex and difficult to learn, it’s not well suited to SEO and it’s hard to switch to directly from Angular JS, its old JavaScript incarnation. It’s also not great for lightweight websites with static content as it increases page loading times, so it’s best to save it for websites with dynamic content where it’s going to feel much more at home. And it certainly one of the most popular web frameworks when it comes to those dynamic sites.

React

It may seem slightly odd to include React among the most popular web frameworks because it’s actually a front-end library rather than a web framework, but a lot of developers will tell you it’s a web framework, so we won’t disagree with them! React adopted component-based architecture way before Angular, Vue and numerous others climbed on that bandwagon, and React’s virtual dom offers quicker dom manipulation and is easy to learn thanks to its highly accessible JSX syntax. Facebook developed React to be equally at home with back-end and front-end uses and the company still uses and maintains it.

Vue

Vue.js is the new kid on the block. It began life as a stand-alone project and then really began to cane traction as one of the most popular up-and-coming JS frameworks. Vue is a progressive web framework, which is to say that you can put it to work on just one part of an existing project and it will do its thing without any issues. It features component architecture and an ecosystem that are comprehensive enough to help you create entire frontend applications, and while it isn’t currently supported by one of the web giants like Google, that’s starting to change now as big investors are taking an interest.

Ember

Ember was recognised as the best JavaScript web framework in 2015, and its already-large community is still growing. New releases pop-up regularly and new features are added too. Ember has the same two-way data binding found in Angular and many of its features and components are designed to work straight away so you can hit the ground running. Google, Microsoft, Heroku, and Netflix all use this web framework, not least because they’re attracted to the efficiency savings that it offers. It incorporates some JS best practices in its core design which means developers will spend less time being side-tracked by a lot of time-wasting activities, making them more productive.

Backbone

Backbone is an uber-light web framework that’s well-suited to building Single-Page applications, but it can stretch to complete some front-end applications. It follows an MV* pattern and partly implements the MVC design. Backbone’s only core dependency is Underscore.js, and it boasts a rich ecosystem that will help with usage, support and learning.

Polymer

Polymer was developed by Google and is an open source JavaScript library. It gives developers scope to add features to a website without the need to dive in to some of the more complicated parts ‘under the hood’. It also supports one-way and two-way data binding, which makes a wider variety of apps possible.

Aurelia

Aurelia is a web framework that unites a collection of modern, open-source JavaScript modules to create a powerful platform for creating browser, mobile, and desktop applications. This makes it highly versatile, but it’s at its best when all its modules are used together to create a rich and engaging front-end application platform.

Express

Express is turning into a highly popular web framework, due to the soaring popularity of Node.js. It’s used by Accenture, IBM and Uber, amongst others, which gives it a great pedigree, and it’s also powering other frameworks such as Kraken, Sails, and Loopback.

Express offers minimal, fast and unopinionated web frameworks. It provides some core framework functionalities without getting in the way of Node’s features and makes use of asynchronous Node.js’s powerful performance. It also offers the flexibility to handle full applications as well as REST API. On the downside,it doesn’t offer a prescribed way of doing things, and this can be a downside for beginners who may have to muddle through more slowly than necessary.

Django

Django uses Python for web development and is a Model-View-Template web framework. Some of the online titans like Google, Youtube, and Instagram use it. Django comes with many bundled features like authentication and messaging. It follows the Convention Over Configuration pattern along with the DRY pattern. Django can provide security for websites with its own tools and techniques, or by preventing code execution in the template layer.

Rails

Rails is one of the most popular web frameworks amongst developers. It’s a Model-View-Controller framework that uses Ruby, and it powers the likes of Airbnb, GitHub, Hulu, and Shopify. Rails is not all that difficult, so it’s web framework that beginners can pick up quite easily. It benefits from library-like dependencies which help to improve application functionalities and boost development speed. Another benefit is the Rails community which provides a lot of enthusiastic support to help beginners get up to speed quickly.

On the downside, Rails is tricky to deploy and run in a production environment, and it demands a lot of patient study before users can unlock its considerable benefits.

Laravel

Laravel is a free, open-source PHP-based web framework, designed for the development of web applications following the model–view–controller architectural pattern. Some of the features of Laravel are a modular packaging system with a dedicated dependency manager, different ways for accessing relational databases, utilities that aid in application deployment and maintenance, and its orientation toward syntactic sugar.

Spring

Spring is a Model-View-Controller web framework that uses the ever-popular Java. Websites like Wix, TicketMaster, and BillGuard depend on it. Spring benefits from the results of numerous parallel projects that increase its performance, so you can easily scale your business if this becomes your web development framework of choice. The fact that it uses Java, which is easier to write, compile, debug and learn than many other programming languages is very appealing to a lot of web developers (although that only includes the ones who already know Java.)

Symfony

Symfony has been around since 2005 and it has had plenty of time to gain the trust of many developers. This web framework is an extensive PHP framework, and is the only one that fully follows PHP standards. Its components can be found working their magic in content management systems like Drupal, OroCRM, and PHP Bulletin Board (PHPBB).

Symphony users benefit from many reusable libraries and components, which make things like authentication, templating, and object configuration easier to produce. Symfony edges ahead of other PHP web frameworks when it comes to large-scale enterprise assignments. On top of that, the Symfony ecosystem is enormous. Its programming community is very supportive and very active, offering a great deal of Symfony tutorials and advice.

Zend Framework

Zend is an entirely object-oriented web framework built on agile methodology and intended for enterprise-level applications. It’s fast, secure, and extendable, which means that Zend lends itself to customisation. It adheres to PHP best practices, and that’s a blessing for developers looking to include project-specific functions with the minimum of fuss.

As its focus is enterprise applications, there are lots of components geared towards enterprise features, so things like authentication, services, and forms. But despite these time-saving tools, Zend doesn’t quite lend itself to rapid application development as it’s not the easiest web framework to learn. Even with a drag and drop editor to help them, coding tools, online debugging tools and a scalable interface that’s great for complicated websites, it presents developers with a steep hill to climb.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter is a powerful but simple lightweight web application framework. It’s easy to install and configure and has a remarkably small footprint at only 2MB (and that includes documentation!) CodeIgniter is simple yet powerful and lends itself to creating dynamic websites, thanks to numerous prebuilt modules that help in the creation of robust, reusable components.

It performs well on both dedicated and shared hosting platforms and is much faster than other frameworks, so it’s one of the most popular web frameworks for developing lightweight applications that run on simple servers.

CodeIgniter has many more features including simple security, encryption steps, easy error handling, and negligible PHP adoption struggle. It’s a very well documented web framework and its lively community has produced many tutorials, which means that developers find it easy to get started. But one caveat: it’s worth noting that application security is left to the developer to understand and build into their application, so it might not be the best choice in high security applications if developers are not well-versed in application security.

FuelPHP

FuelPHP is a flexible and extendable PHP framework that uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern but can also use the Hierarchical-Model-View-Controller (HMVC) pattern at the framework architecture level. It also adds a voluntary class called the Presenter class (previously called ViewModel) between the Controller and View layers to hold the logic required for generating views.

The FuelPHP framework has a focus on security with features such as input and URI filtering as well as output encoding. Other standard features of this web development framework include HMVC implementation, URL routing system, caching system, and vulnerability protection. FuelPHP is well-suited to delivering end-to-end web solutions of various sizes and levels of complexity.

Phalcon

Phalcon is a full-stack PHP framework that was originally written in the C and C++ programming languages. It’s essentially a C-extension, but don’t think you have to learn C to understand it. Phalcon web framework is impressively fast because it only uses a few resources, unlike some of its competitors. This speed is very useful for developers who work on systems with low overhead expense.

Phalcon has been updated continuously since 2012 and recent releases have featured quite a lot of upgrades. The latest support release features components like ORM, MVC and caching; and there’s also support for PHP 7 as well.

Summary

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of some popular web frameworks. We’ve tried to give you a flavour of what each one entails, but the best way to understand them is to dive in and start playing with them. If you do, you’ll discover all sorts of similarities between some of them and you’ll learn plenty along the way. Whichever ones you choose to explore, there’s a wide range of user-generated advice and tutorials to guide you. It seems as if every language and every web framework has its own vocal army of supporters who will be happy to welcome you on board and share information. So, don’t be shy! Somewhere out there is an ideal web framework with your name on it, waiting to be discovered.

Python vs PHP: Which One Is Better?

Python vs Php

Python vs PHP sounds like the latest Marvel action flick where Python is the bad guy, but in fact, it’s a battle between two different adversaries. They’re both contenders for the crown of Top Backend Programming Language (which isn’t a real competition, but we wish it was), which is becoming a very hotly contested space. Backend development is now a very in-demand discipline, partly because almost all new businesses with an online presence are looking for a website and mobile app, and they both rely on server-side development to accomplish those ends. Here’s a few names that you may be familiar with:

  • Python: is a high-level object-oriented programming language, with built-in data structures, dynamic typing and binding. It’s a great choice for rapid application development.
  • PHP: stands for Hypertext Pre-Processor. Its popularity stems from the fact that it’s been around for a while, it’s free and it’s pretty efficient when you stand alongside rivals like Microsoft’s ASP. Users who are on particularly technical appreciate the fact that it makes their webpages easier to manage.
  • JavaScript: often abbreviated to JS and hugely popular. It’s one of the Web’s core technologies.
  • Ruby on Rails: is an object-oriented development tool written in Ruby which is used to create web applications. It’s good for simplifying common repetitive tasks and has many other appealing attributes.
  • Dot NET: is a software framework developed by Microsoft.

There are more names than these out there of course, is anyone starting out in development will know. In fact, one of the things that hits beginners is the wide variety of languages for both front and back-end applications. There are so many out there offering so many different features that it can be hard to know when to start, so, we’ve written PHP vs Python as a way of narrowing the choice down a bit for you. These two stand out from the rest and both have enthusiastic fanbases that sing their praises. Fans are all very well, but objectively, which of them should you invest your time and energy into learning, and what criteria will help you choose? Let’s take a look:

  • Ease of Learning: Time is money, and you’ll have to invest a lot of time to become proficient in any new language. So, the question here is, “PHP vs Python, which lets you get up and running sooner?”
  • Community: every application has its own crowd of cheerleaders, and many of them offer free help and advice to everyone else in the community. That’s why it’s important to know that the software you’re learning is popular. Someone will know how to fix your bugs much faster if it is.
  • Documentation: the programming language or framework needs to be well documented. Otherwise learning will be more difficult.
  • Costs: you do have to pay for some these languages and how much you pay is bound to affect your choice.
  • Libraries: a popular language will be popular partly because it has plenty of library support, which makes your job as a developer that much easier.
  • Performance Server-side apps have a lot thrown at them, so they need to be highly efficient.
  • Choice of web frameworks: a good selection of web development frameworks is absolutely essential if you want to build the best.
  • Debugging: a greater availability of debugging tools is an advantage. More time spent weeding out problems means less time spent on building.

PHP vs Python – let’s compare

Ease of Learning

Python is the simpler of the two to learn. It’s an all-round programming language and you can become proficient at it quite quickly. In fact, Python is such a quick learn that it’s the favoured choice for most entry-level programming courses. You can write a Python program with less code than other languages, so it’s no wonder that professionals have two it. It uses simpler syntax and you don’t need a degree in Martian in order to read it. Which is to say that it’s easily understandable compared to many other languages.

PHP struggles in comparison because it was created with web applications in mind, and these tend to have a higher level of complexity than programs that only have to run on one device. That’s why PHP is more complicated and so more difficult to learn.

Programmers don’t want to take too much time away from their day-to-day work while they pick up a new language. Python is more beginner friendly than PHP, which has a pretty steep learning curve. The PHP developer community does all it can to make life easier for new programmers, but that’s never going to be enough to close the gap with Python. So it’s the winner here in the battle of Python vs PHP.

Community support

Python and PHP both offer great community support. PHP has been around longer in the web application arena, so there are now loads of seasoned developers ready and waiting to offer their advice and insights.

Python may be newer, but it also has a very engaged and knowledgeable community of developers, so new Python applications are being developed by them all the time. This means that the question of Python vs PHP sees them fairly evenly matched here.

Big-name users like YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest use Python-based web apps, but Facebook’s back-end was built on PHP, so it’s clear to see that both are equally capable of delivering world-class results.

Documentation

Both languages benefit from comprehensive documentation, which means you can find tutorials in a whole host of different locations on the web. The Python vs PHP battle ends in a draw once again on the question of documentation. Both languages are equally well served by a lot of great resources.

Prices

“Python or Php” debate also sees them evenly matched on the question of cost. Both are open source and free, and the only question about competition is how far ahead of their paid competitors they are.

Library support

Where Python vs PHP does have a winner is with library support. Python has much better-developed library support for almost all app types. PHP is behind in this regard but it does benefit from a really good repository called Packagist.

This is an important consideration because an increasing number of new and established businesses want web applications backed by Machine Learning. Python offers some great Machine Learning libraries such as TensorFlow, Keras, Theano, Scikit Learn, and more. They are fast, using them is intuitive and they offer fantastic integration with the web framework. This means that on this question, the Python vs PHP has a clear winner in Python.

Performance

PHP 5.x versions tended to drag their heels, but PHP 7.x is a real flyer in comparison to the average Python program, chewing through tasks up to 3 times as quickly. Speed often becomes an important factor in performance-critical applications, and any differences can add up to a huge difference in performance when you’re processing millions of hits a day for a bank, for example. Dealing with that much information only 33% as fast as your rival is just not tenable. The PHP vs Python result in this case goes to PHP. (But of course, it’s worth remembering that for simpler situations, that latency difference between the two would be much less noticeable.)

Selection of Web Frameworks

The likes of Django, Flask, Pylons, and Pyramid are some of the most commonly used Python web frameworks, while Codeigniter, Zend, Laravel, and Symfony are the equivalent PHP-based ones.

Django has a well-deserved reputation for speed, scalability, security, and ease-of-use. It’s popular because of its robustness and power, and a lot of applications depend upon it.  Codeigniter and Laravel are the equivalent frameworks for PHP applications.

The Python vs PHP question results in another tie situation here, as both offer similarly impressive options. But it has to be said that rookie developers prefer Django for its ease of setup and because coding is quicker.

Tracking down bugs

PDB is the name of Python’s debugger, and it’s very good at its job. PDB is fairly simple to use, even for programmers who are just starting out. XDebug is the name of the equivalent for PHP. Both take a similar approach to debugging with breakpoints, stacks, path mapping, and so on. So, in the Python vs PHP race, both are neck and neck when it comes to debugging.

Python or PHP – Summary

So, in conclusion, these two languages offer similar performance and features, but Python looks to be the better choice overall. Which doesn’t mean that every veteran PHP programmer should convert to Python, but for those who haven’t been using it for as long, or those who are just starting out, it might be worth your while moving over to Python. Its ease-of-use and efficiency means that it looks set to eventually become the dominant force in back-end development, and that means employers are going to be expecting it. Anyone looking for longevity in their development career should consider learning Python.