Christoph Hochstrasser

Ask Christoph: Symfony vs. Laravel?

Sometimes people email me with questions. I started to think that some of these answers could be valuable to a broader audience. So I'm going to answer some of these questions on my site with permission of the authors. Have a question? Write to ask@christophh.net.

Is learning Symfony2 vs. Laravel a good thing to do this year? As I mentioned I’m looking to get more opportunities, and I saw that Symfony2 is the right choice for business!

First, I understand that you feel lost. I felt this way too when I started out. There are so many ways, and all pretend to be the right one. I started out with CakePHP. It’s the 2000s equivalent to Laravel. Later on I started using Zend Framework which got me my first job. In these times I sometimes did regret wasting time with CakePHP.

I could’ve learned so much more by using Zend Framework. Sure, it’s not as easy. But just as you get stronger by lifting heavy things, you grow as a developer by dealing with issues like OOP and inversion of control.

I think Symfony 2 is that choice like it was Zend Framework then. So here are my major reasons:

  • Laravel is growing strong, but Symfony is increasingly becoming the industry standard. Many high profile companies are looking for Symfony developers. There are some great opportunities at great companies.
  • It’s also pretty easy to sell to potential clients. Symfony wins out because there will always be developers available. This completes the circle. Symfony developers will be in demand for a long time to come.
  • With Symfony you learn how to build bigger applications the right way. It forces you to learn things like Inversion of Control and MVC. So you will grow your skills as a developer more. In my opinion to some degree this is true of Laravel too. But Laravel doesn’t take these concepts as far as Symfony.
  • Symfony is built on top of Symfony Components. More and more OSS projects build on top of them. So your knowledge about the Symfony framework will become valuable when developing with other projects like Drupal, or EZPublish as well.

One downside is the risk of becoming a commodity. So I always suggest having a healthy variety of skills. As a company (especially as a small business), I’m not looking for specialists, but for people who can apply themselves to various different problems.

The greatest advantage about Laravel is, that it can be significantly easier to learn. Also you tend to get something done in less time, because Laravel is developed more for rapid application development (like Rails).

But regardless of the choice you make — have fun and build things.

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