Is Zend Dead? Is Laravel Losing Breath? Trends of PHP Frameworks in Numbers
This project was introduced 2 years ago with a goal to compare download statistics over "what they say on the internet". The methodology was based on Packagist data, which worked but had some flaws.
Also, monorepo and split packages downloads lead to a problem, when 1 monorepo download has hidden 10-30 package downloads. There is no way to detect what packages are downloaded or used exactly, so this project should be stopped to avoid showing irrelevant data far from reality.
We often hear "Zend is dead", "Laravel is the most favorite", "X is trending on Google", "F is Dead, Migrate!" etc. But are these statements supported by any research or numbers? No.
I was curious, how all PHP frameworks are doing, so I've looked at downloads and trends of each PHP framework. And here are the results.
There are plenty What is the Best PHP framework(s) in 20X posts all over the Internet. Usually written by someone, who uses one of them and prefer them. It's pretty easy to put out many arguments, why is your favorite framework "the best framework". These posts mislead the reader because only someone using all PHP frameworks out there in equal time and skill could evaluate it objectively.
Numbers vs. Vague Statements
I wanted to separate feelings and opinions of influencers - mostly framework leads or people paid for working in the framework (myself including) - from numbers and facts.
The active community, with long duration and rising trend will provide a much better idea, how the framework is really successful. You can use marketing and made up stories, but if the community isn't happy with the framework in the long term, the numbers will show.
I've downloaded a few numbers from Packagist API for every package in the vendor name. E.g. for Symfony framework, all
symfony/* packages are included.
Then I took the sum of package downloads in the last 6 months and the trend in last 6 months. From those, I made an average for the whole framework.
Small packages with less than 500 downloads/day or younger than 12 months are excluded as outliers.
There is More...
- What packages are active in those frameworks?
- What frameworks are dinosaurs - with big long-tail effect in total downloads, but losing in trends?
- What frameworks have hidden cool utils packages?
There is a detailed table where you can find these answers:
Next time you'll read "X is the Best PHP Framework...", ask for numbers behind the statement and share this table.