PHP Lightweight Framework Comparison Time - archive 2011

Published: Thu, 26 Aug 2010 by Rad

Been in PHP for some time I decided to streamline my production and development time a bit. Also working with designer studios and bunch of web designers (who frankly don't care about underlying technology and only reason they live is to demand this line to be moved few pixels in unpossible place) not always enables for developer to decide what tools to use.

I have been in PHP 5 exclusively now for almost 3 years using mainly raw OOP techniques directly with few third party classes. Some projects involved Zend Framework and a lot of Magento - which is again Zend. I finally decided that time is right to have a look into modern PHP Frameworks.

I found interesting article ( - Reviewing the frameworks) and decided on features I want:

  • light footprint
  • fast, high-performance, security
  • good documentation
  • usable in commercial applications without additional cost
  • good MySQL support, quoting escaping etc. built in
  • robust development and scalability implemented and supported
  • web 2.0 friendly features / modules or whatever they call them

First I decided from list of 20 to choose few promising and will give them all spin for few days. In a month or two when we should start develop new features for freetextures and main site - after 7 long years eagerly expected revamp of sites - I should be certain which one will suit us best. Yep I won't know each of them 100% but I believe I will get that gut feeling.Then I will publish again my review, which will be around beginning of October 2010.

My selection

I would normally included Zend Framework as well, but as I am familiar with it I will leave it out this time. There are some maybe more interesting frameworks out there but not enough time to test them all I am afraid. And my first thought was to use it with some CSS framework, something very similar to 960 grid system. And even have next project in mind - I am gonna use it with new web site for And probably will migrate it on nginx server with php-fpm for very fast web site.

After reading few comments on internet I decided to go first with FastFree PHP:

FatFree F3 PHP features

Main features sound really good on paper;

  • all-purpose template engine,
  • flexible cache,
  • automatic spam protection,
  • integrated unit testing tools, and code profiler.
  • small (55kB) and fast
  • Axon auto-mapping mini-ORM and the M2 MongoDB mapper
  • it even has a bandwidth throttle for controlling Web server traffic
  • It's also the only framework that shields you from bandwidth theft and Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks
  • tools for cross-server communication
  • handling ZIP files
  • HTML Form Processors
  • !! However it need minimum PHP 5.3

My first impression was that it was similar to ez_sql database widget / class which I’ve found interesting and use from time to time for rapid PHP-MySQL Development.

Part 2 - scheduled on 29/08/2010