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What's the "right" PHP Framework?
 

What's the "right" PHP Framework?

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This is a presentation that I recently gave at UpstatePHP in Greenville, SC evaluating the framework landscape in PHP.

This is a presentation that I recently gave at UpstatePHP in Greenville, SC evaluating the framework landscape in PHP.

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    What's the "right" PHP Framework? What's the "right" PHP Framework? Presentation Transcript

    • What’s the “right” PHP Framework? Barry Jones
    • Who am I? • Barry Jones • Java/Groovy/PHP/Perl developer since ’98 • Ruby on Rails developer mostly since 2012 • Formerly ran Brightball, Inc here in Greenville – Contract programming business from 2008-2012 – 99% CakePHP… – Built our platform “The Intersect” on top of Cake • Software Architect with ACS Technologies, Inc
    • SO WHICH ONE IS IT? The people need to know….
    • Is it… • Zend Framework? • CakePHP? • Symfony? • FuelPHP? • Code Igniter? • Lithium? • Laravel? • Solar? OR…. • Kohana? • Yii? • Prado? • Akelos? • PHP Fat-Free? • Agile Toolkit? • Silex? • Phunction? • K2F? • Phraw? • Qcodo? • Slim? • Phalcon? • Roll your own…?
    • WHY SO MANY? The million dollar question…
    • Before we answer that… Why do other languages seem to have clear leaders? • Ruby has Rails • Python has Django • Groovy has Grails • C# has MVC • Java has Spring
    • Many solutions to the same problem… usually indicates an underlying issue… which leads to lots of trade offs
    • What does that mean for PHP? PHP is bad at frameworks… …out of the box
    • So let’s dig into that a little • Ruby, Python, Groovy, C#, and Java have something in common • They boot up… – The application gets loaded into RAM – Runs initializer code – Makes its database connection(s) with a pool – Listens for requests and only processes that request – Can share RAM between requests – Built for long term garbage collection
    • PHP… • Reprocesses everything on every single request • Configuration • Route mappings • Database connections • Loading all of those framework files – Devastating to Disk I/O • Encapsulates and garbage collects each individual process
    • So a PHP framework has too… • Cache…heavily – And then reload those configuration caches on every request • Per request RAM allocation is HEAVY – It’s not loaded once and then processed – Framework is loaded every time for every request
    • A HISTORY LESSON Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the story
    • Rails lit the world on fire • Java’s Struts popularized MVC…but was awful • Rails made MVC good… – And EEEEEEVERYBODY copied it as best they could – CakePHP was a near clone for a while – Microsoft’s MVC framework…almost carbon copy – Grails…do I need to explain this?
    • But why did Rails take off? • Ruby is great…but it’s not built for the web • PHP is built for the web • Ruby is an excellent language for writing Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) – Think…. • Puppet, Chef, Capistrano, Vagrant – Rails is a DSL for the web • It changes Ruby to make it a web language • That added to its popularity significantly in the Ruby community – Nearly every Ruby library has a Rails version for premium integration – Ruby developers are very big on testing because of the language’s flexibility • good at testing and easy to break – Ruby developers place a premium on workflow • That’s a heck of a lot more than just arranging some files and throwing routing and hooks on top…they built an entire mode of operation
    • This is important for PHP PHP is built for the web out of the box With no framework… it can rock your face off
    • So why so many frameworks? • Well…prior to PHP 5.3 – PHP was terrible for frameworks for all the reasons previously mentioned • Also, lack of namespaces made sharing libraries a PAAAAIN – 5.3 was released in 2010 – CakePHP 1.1 was popular in 2006 because it ran on PHP 4 and PHP 5 while structurally copying Rails – The PHP “framework wars” started during a time when PHP was bad at frameworks…hence the variety, saturation, and trade offs • Everybody tried to solve the problem a different way
    • Prior to 5.3 you needed to… • Enable APC on the server – Optimized PHP byte code cached in RAM – Share RAM between process (under Apache mod_php only) – In production, set APC to not check for file changes – This got around the Disk I/O and overhead of reloading all those files – Also drastically reduced per-request RAM • With CakePHP we’d go from 12mb to 2mb (also mod_php only) • Configure a database connection pool within Apache – OR ensure you were using MySQL because the overhead of new connections is almost negligible • Avoid .htaccess files like the plague – Every framework used them for “pretty urls” instead of having them added to a server config • Setup a reverse proxy w/ nginx – Intercept non-application requests prior to Apache processing .htaccess rules • Use framework specific class loaders to try to load things only when necessary • Frameworks had to roll almost everything themselves to avoid naming conflicts with outside libraries – Extensive “does this work with X?” syndrome
    • So what changed? • In 5.3 – Late static bindings – Namespaces • In 5.4 – Traits – Artisan • Built in Web Server • CLI • These allow… – Lazy loading – Dependency injection – Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP) – Simpler development workflow – Much easier library / package management
    • What is PHP good at? • Scales down OR up better than any other language – “Boot up” web languages can’t scale down easily – With PHP, you can fill up a hard drive with code and it will all work • Other languages, you fill up your RAM and you’re done • This is why PHP shared hosting is everywhere and dirt cheap • Encapsulation of each request provides near perfect server stability – Tell me next time somebody uses “PHP” and “Memory Leak” in a sentence – If a request dies it can’t crash the server • In it’s raw form, it can already do almost everything you need – Example: Built an on-the-fly image processing server for a huge site – Same functionality previously kept crashing Rails processes …because memory leaks – Increased efficiency by 3000% (seriously)
    • Oh…and it can fly (the scaling up part)
    • What is PHP bad at? More on long polling • PHP is bad at long running process • Long polling involves many long running connections – which for PHP means many long running processes… – which will vary based on the number of your users So for example: • Optimal PHP request/response cycle – Request received – PHP started – Libraries loaded/RAM allocated (2-12mb) – Request processed – Request ended, garbage collected – Total time < .5 seconds (hopefully) • Long polling PHP request/response cycle – Request received – PHP started – Libraries loaded/RAM allocated (2-12mb) – ………. (30-60 seconds) – Request ended, garbage collected – Total time 30-60 seconds – Your servers RAM will be swallowed with a dramatically lower number of users from holding open dozens of 12mb connections – You can make it “work” but in production you’ll have massive scaling issues from concurrency • nginx_http_push_module – This is not a php specific solution – Request received with internal response address – PHP started – Libraries loaded/RAM allocated (2-12mb) – Requested added to queue – Request ended, garbage collected – Total time < .5 seconds – nginx holds the long polled connection instead of php – Single background process pulls requests off the queue and processes them – Sends response to the internal response address – The background process handles responding to the long polling request so you control how many are running in parallel, not your user traffic – nginx holds the concurrent connections efficiently (as good or greater concurrency than Node.js) Long running processes • Please don’t use PHP for long polling…ever • No really • All those documents that say PHP is bad at long polling…don’t take it as a challenge…they mean it • But if you must use nginx_http_push_module Also…method syntax consistency and assorted other quirks…
    • But it’s more than just code • The business problem: – How do I find programmers who know this framework? • Case: Brightball – I loved CakePHP. It was complex, had a steep learning curve but was incredibly powerful – We built a tool around it that would generate a permission controlled, data linked, interface based solely off of the database structure • AKA “The Intersect” (we were big fans of Chuck) • Really bad for billable hours  – Hard to find people who knew Cake (or any other specific framework) despite “popularity” numbers – With complexity, training and learning curve are bad
    • This is where Code Igniter took off • Code Igniter was not as awesome as Cake (sorry CI people) – I know one of you wants to argue this point…your opinion is wrong • But it was a heck of a lot simpler • Learning curve and training ease led to a huge following – And Expression Engine
    • Not a problem in other languages • Dominant frameworks lead to common knowledge bases among developers • Hard to find a Ruby programmer that doesn’t know Rails • That allows continuous evolution because businesses avoid the training/hiring quandry • Namespaces allows easy library integration and sharing between frameworks and for the language as a whole
    • Then there’s workflow… • Common frameworks lead to… – Common testing integrations – Common library integrations – Common database flow – Common team operations
    • So the answer is…? If I have to tell you the “right” framework... then there isn’t a clear choice
    • WAT!
    • No! Not that!
    • Just kidding 
    • LET’S TALK ABOUT LARAVEL This will be fun
    • First the framework wars • What about all the “other” frameworks – All of the existing dominant frameworks have to maintain a migration path for their user bases – This makes full reinvention on php >= 5.4…hard • Laravel does not have this problem – But it does need to gain widespread adoption
    • So first up… Laravel is a Rails clone And I mean that in a good way They didn’t just go for file structure Or callbacks Or active record Or middleware Or migrations Or testing Or workflow Or modularity They ate the whole…dang…thing
    • Libraries Ruby on Rails • Ruby has Gems • Rails applications have a Gemfile • Bundler installs Gems and manages dependencies PHP and Laravel • PHP has Composer – And PEAR – And PECL • Laravel uses Composer • Namespaces make this work
    • Dev Environment Ruby on Rails • Ruby has RVM – Ruby version manager – “cd” into a project directory and your ruby version and gemset changes • Bundled web server – From your project directory, your application runs – Dozens of projects in different versions, with different libraries and different dependencies are easy • Command line app access – Rails console PHP and Laravel • Php 5.4 + has Artisan – Going forward, running multiple local versions of PHP will be easier – Also will make tools like Foreman an option for complex apps • Laravel has Homestead – Complete Vagrant based dev environment – A framework that takes dev environments this seriously is huge – Will only improve thanks to Docker • Command line app access – Artisan CLI
    • Migrations Ruby on Rails • Migrations are “the” way • Necessary for teams working on the same code locally • Eases deployment across multiple environments PHP and Laravel • Migrations are “the” way • Virtually identical to Rails migrations
    • ORM “Laravel ships with a superb ORM: Eloquent. If you have used the Ruby on Rails framework, you will find Eloquent familiar, as it follows the ActiveRecord ORM style of database interaction.” – Laravel documentation
    • Deployment Ruby on Rails • You can always run your own… • But Heroku is where Rails apps begin • Deployment: – `git push heroku master` – Aaaaand that’s it PHP and Laravel • You can always run your own… • But Laravel Forge makes it easy to get  THAT On Linode, Digital Ocean, Rackspace or AWS
    • Other stuff Ruby on Rails • Built with testing in mind • Queuing is standardized • RESTful • Excellent localization • Extremely well documented • Rack Middleware layer • Highly modular • Very clean syntax Laravel • Built with testing in mind • Queuing is standardized • RESTful • Excellent localization • Extremely well documented • StackPHP Middleware Layer • Highly modular • Very clean syntax
    • What Laravel needs… • Like any PHP Framework, it needs saturation • It’s covered all the other bases – Powerful MVC framework – Developer workflow – Full language package management – Simple, fast deployment options – Very well documented – Built for teams (testing + migrations) – Modular • Just needs more people using it to solve the “hiring” case
    • Thanks! now go learn Laravel
    • Credits/Reference • http://www.techempower.com/benchmarks/#section=data -r9 • http://laravel.com/ • http://rubyonrails.org/ • http://cakephp.org/ • http://ellislab.com/codeigniter • https://www.google.com/imghp • http://rack.github.io/ • http://stackphp.com/ • http://php.net/releases/5_3_0.php • http://php.net/releases/5_4_0.php • http://www.php.net//manual/en/book.apc.php