Normally, the users see and interact directly with the front-end or user interface of web applications. But the front-end user experience delivered by a web application is driven by a variety of back-end activities and processes running on the web server. Nowadays, the front-end user experience delivered by each website depends on database interactions, business logic, user request processing, and similar server-side tasks. Hence, it becomes essential for developers to focus on both front-end and back-end of the web application to keep visitors engaged.
Brief Overview of 12 Widely Used Server Side Web Frameworks
1) ASP.NET Core
Microsoft recently released ASP.NET Core 1.0 with several innovative features to simplify development, testing, and deployment of both web and cloud application. In addition to being an open source web application framework, ASP.NET Core supports three distinct platforms- Windows, OS X and Linux. Also, it allows developers to deploy their applications in a number of ways. The developers have option to integrate ASP.NET Core with several open source web development tools, while taking advantage of a robust integrated development environment (IDE) like Visual Studio.
2) Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a widely used web application framework for Ruby programming languages. It supports several widely used software development paradigms including MVC, and emphasizes on software testing. The plug-and-play functionality provided by RoR enables developers to customize the web application according to varying business requirements. The programmers can further take advantage of the code library and scaffolding options provided by RoR to accomplish common web development tasks without writing additional code. They can further use RoR to create prototype of the application, and move from planning to development phase of the project quickly.
Django is a hugely popular Python web application framework. Python enables developers to build web applications with concise, readable and reusable code. Also, Django supports MVC design pattern. Hence, the developers can keep the business logic, user interface and application data separate. At the same time, they can take advantage of the built-in tools provided by Django to accomplish common web development tasks like site maps, user authentication, content administration, and memcaching. Django further allows programmers to customize individual parts of the web application according to specific business requirements. Also, it provides several packages, along with a robust ORM system, and a dynamic admin interface.
5) Play Framework
The open source web application framework is written in Scala. It enables developers to build feature-rich web applications by combining Java and Scala programming languages. As Play supports MVC design pattern, it becomes easier for developers to simplify web application development by keeping business logic and user interface layers separate. Also, the non-blocking and stateless architecture of Play Framework enables developers to scale web applications without putting extra time and effort. The developers can further assess the quality of the code continuously by availing the built-in testing support and just hit refresh workflow of the Scala web framework.
Catalyst is a widely used Perl web framework. As it supports MVC principle, it becomes easier for developers to build and maintain large web applications by keeping their user interface and business logic layers separate. Also, the developers can avail the ready-to-use plug-ins provide by Catalyst to accomplish a variety of web development tasks like user authentication, caching, and session management. Catalyst further comes with a lightweight test server and a robust database ORM, while supporting multiple templating languages. The Perl web framework is further designed with features to keep common development tasks simple and clean.
The PHP framework enables developers to accomplish common tasks like authentication, session management, routing and caching by writing expressive code. It further provides a variety of tools to speed up development of large and complex web applications. Also, it makes it easier for programmers to conduct unit test to assess the impact of changes made to the code at various stages of development. Laravel also comes with a template engine called Blade that allows programmers to reduce performance overheads by writing plain PHP code in the templates. The version 5.3 of Laravel further comes with a number of new features like simplified API authentication and option to add WebSockets to the application.
Phalcon is a modern PHP framework which is designed with focus on speed. Unlike other frameworks, Phalcon is a PHP extension written in C programming language. So it consumes lower resources while delivering optimized performance. As Phalcon is loosely coupled, the programmers have option to use the framework fully or its specific parts as glue components. They can further download and install the framework as a PHP module. Phalcon further provides features to accomplish common tasks like database access, authentication, transaction, messaging, caching, queuing, template engine, form builder, and routing.
Symfony comes with an array of features that help programmers to create and maintain PHP web applications without putting extra time and effort. It enables Symfony developers to add functionality to the website by adding a variety of prefabricated components. At the same time, it also allows them to use third-party software components. Thus, it becomes easier for programmers to enhance the website’s functionality and performance by adding a variety of software components. The users also have option to perform unit testing by using popular frameworks like PHPUnit. They also have option to speed up development of complex application by using the full-stack version of the framework.
10) Yii Framework
Yii is one of the high-performance PHP frameworks available in the market. As it supports MVC pattern, it becomes easier for programmers to reduce the development time by keeping the business logic and user interface separate. At the same time, they can easily boost the application’s performance by availing powerful caching support provided by Yii. Yii further helps developers to work with AJAX more efficiently. It further makes user input collection through forms more secure by providing validators, widgets and helper methods. Also, it comes with features to protect the application from SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks. The developers can further use Yii to perform unit tests and functionality testing without putting any extra time and effort.
The PHP framework comes with features to help programmers to create prototypes and build applications rapidly. The CakePHP developers can avail the code generation feature of CakePHP to create prototypes of the application easily. At the same time, they can further avoid writing longer lines of code by availing built-in features for database access, authentication, validation, translation, and caching. The users can further start using CakePHP simply after setting the database up. CakePHP further guides programmers to handle all aspects of the application efficiently, while supporting MVC design pattern.
12) Zend Framework 2
Along with being a mature PHP framework, Zend is also being used by several large websites. The open source framework enables programmers to create websites by using object-oriented code. The modular structure of Zend further makes it easier for users to combine its building blocks with other frameworks and libraries. As Zend is designed a collection of classes, the programmers can load the required components as individual libraries. Also, they can use ZendService to access popular web services by implementing client-side libraries. However, many programmers feel that Zend has a more difficult learning curve. Zend still comes with features to speed up development of large-scale web applications.
On the whole, the developers have option to choose from a wide range of server side web frameworks. But the smart developers always choose a server side framework that complements their preferred programming language and meets all needs of the project. They further opt for the latest version of the framework to avail additional features and tools. The developers still need to evaluate the pros and cons of each framework according to the nature and requirements of each project.