There are so many PHP frameworks released open source. This provides an almost limitless options for PHP developers. However, a lot of PHP developers are mostly looking for a PHP framework with a lot of fanbase and community support. The primary reason is that a popular PHP framework will have a lot of followers which can help in answering other technical questions relating to that PHP framework.
In less popular PHP framework, the only technical expert is the author of the framework itself which may not devote all of his/her entire time in answering framework related questions. This makes support for less popular framework to be really slow which can affect the user if they are using the framework actively in their website development.
To solve this problem, I have conducted indepth research on the most widely used PHP framework. This is the popular top 7 list for the year 2011. Bear in mind that this list only by popularity and nothing else. If you are looking for the best framework in general, or the fastest PHP framework that you can use for your website then this “popular list” may not provide the answer.
The source of the data is Google keyword tool that basically provides the amount of searches for that PHP framework in a one month time frame worldwide. The higher the searches for that framework in Google, the more popular will be the PHP framework.
Results: Based on the results, the most popular framework is the Zend framework with around 74.2% of the searches. This is a very popular due to the following facts:
a.) Zend framework is started by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski, one of the most influential persons that started PHP 3.
b.) Magento which is the most popular e-commerce platform is based on the Zend framework.
c.) McAffee and IBM are very popular websites/companies that are built using the Zend framework.
d.) Zend framework is currently one of the oldest PHP frameworks to exist. So essentially it already earns a lot of reputation.
Another popular framework next to the Zend framework is the Codeigniter. Comparing with the Zend framework, Codeigniter popularity is very small. Cogniter has similar popularity with Symfony and Yii PHP frameworks.
The bottom of the popularity list are: Kohana, Prado and CakePHP. In the past years up to now, this is how the trend looks like:
Although Google trends are using approximations, at least you can deduce some information. It says:
1.) Zend framework popularity starting from year 2007 up to now is somewhat “flat”.
2.) Codeigniter popularity is “consistently” increasing.
3.) Other fast rising PHP frameworks is the yii framework (look at the slope of the trend in green color).
4.) Kohana popularity is somewhat “flat” also.