PHP Frameworks Hype Check

01.12.2014 10:00:01

Here it is. One more PHP Framework vs PHP Framework Battle. Let us compare the popularity of 3 mayor PHP Frameworks: Yii2 vs Symfony2 vs Laravel. Why does this matter? You really need to pick a Framework that has very vibrant, active and helpful community. By doing so you make sure that you will find answers to your questions, that you will get new employees for your startup and that it will be maintained in the future.

Google Search

Let's start with Google Search Trends:

  • Laravel is the new (almost) cool kid on the block and it's absolutely obvious that it's doing pretty well
  • Yii2, while still very young, is getting some hype at the cost of the old "Yii"
  • Symfony2 is constantly getting the same amount of searches for the last 2 years so far

Devs are searching 2x more often for "Yii" than for "Symfony2". So maybe the search term "Yii" is beeing used a lot of times for something else than the Framework? So let's do another one to approve that:

The results speak for themselves.


Lets continue with some github analytics and focus on "stars" and "contributors" only.

  • Yii2: 4190 stars and 373 contributors
  • Symfony2: 9301 stars and 1053 contributors
  • Laravel: 13219 stars and 222 contributors

Somehow these numbers emphasize my personal feelings about these 3 PHP Frameworks.

  • Laravel is the "new shit". Devs are going crazy about it. BUT it does not have that many contributors and to be honest it seems like a one man show with Taylor Otwill as it's mastermind. Taylor has more than >2000 commits following by all the rest where nobody has more than 100.
  • Symfony2 is "rock solid". A lot of active contributors and enough hype (stars) to be sure that it will not go away soon.
  • Yii2 is somewhere in the middle. What i like about Yii2 is that there a lot of different very active core developers.


So, last but not least, Stackoverflow. Let's check how many questions have been tagged with Yii2, Symfony2 and Laravel.

  • Yii2: 546 tagged
  • Symfony2: 25206 tagged
  • Laravel: 14528 tagged

Symfony seems to be the winner here. If i browse trough the results it also seems and feels that the Symfony2 community is very helpful and active on stackoverflow. Yii2 is still very young. So let's do a quick check for "Yii" without the "2".

  • Yii: 11828 taged

So Yii has a similar stackoverflow community as Laravel.

Conclusion (only based on this fast and dirty hype research):

All 3 Frameworks are very popular. Laravel seems to be the winner regarding it's popularity and that it is still very young. However, Symfony2 and Yii2 do have a wider contributor list. Symfony2 has a very active, some call it "fanatic", community base. Yii2 has a very solid core developer team.

Best regards from Berlin,