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PHP Microframeworks: a comparison

  • Post published:November 20, 2020

You have heard about microservices and frameworks but have you heard about microframework in the past years? Let’s take a look at what they truly are why they are gaining popularity in the IT world.

The web defines microframework as ‘a framework made with fewer functionalities as compared to a complete web framework.’ The functionalities that it lacks are:

  • Accounts Authentication, Authorization, Roles
  • Database Abstraction via an Object-Relational Mapping
  • Input Validation and Input Sanitation
  • Web Template Engine

How Microframework is Different from the Full-stack Framework?

A full-stack framework is composed of two main parts:

  1. A frontend
  2. A backend

Following are known as the top full-stack frameworks:

  1. PHP Laravel
  2. Python Django
  3. JavaScript – Angular, React

These frameworks were familiarized to take care of complex and extensive websites across the world. Hence in response to this challenge, tech experts developed microframework to cater to small or medium-level projects for rapid testing and deployment.

If the framework and libraries are lesser than 5,000 lines of code, they called a microframework. Even though they have rarer features in comparison to full-stack frameworks as they carry an extensive number of features and options for a developer, they also have the benefits of being light, fast, and agile. While full-stack frameworks can be a bit slow at times.

Now, along with full-stack frameworks we have micro-PHP frameworks as well. We are going to discuss three of them in detail. We will examine their advantages, functionalities, etc.

So, let’s get going.

Lumen by Laravel

Lumen is one of the top microframeworks smaller but a faster version created by Taylor Otwell that you must try to support Laravel applications.

What is it best used for:

1) Speed

It is considered the perfect way out for making Laravel based micro-services and furious APIs in no time. In actual fact, it’s known as one of the fastest micro-frameworks available on the web in comparison with Silex and Slim as it has made it easier to code strikingly faster than ever.

2) Convenience

If you’re a coder, you can’t sacrifice the speed.

Now as Lumen originated from Laravel and it has almost all the features Laravel has, you can use the top features such as Eloquent, queues, validation, caching, routing, and most importantly the impactful Laravel Service Container.

And all of this with zero configurations. Sounds good right?

3) Community

Since Laravel already has a huge community of its own. It couldn’t be easier to just drop your code into Laravel’s installation without changing a thing.


A famous PHP microframework, built on the shoulders of Symfony, Silex is no longer alive but been dead since 2013. The microframework is only known by the name of Symfony these days.

It is being used to build easy single-file apps. The following uses are provided by the microframework:

  • Concise: offers a brief API that is best to use
  • Testable: it uses Symfony’s HttpKernel that abstracts ‘requests and responses’ making it easy to test the and the frameworks itself


This PHP micro-framework helps the coders to quickly produce elegant yet strong web applications as well as APIs.

use Psr\Http\Message\ResponseInterface as Response;
use Psr\Http\Message\ServerRequestInterface as Request;
use Slim\Factory\AppFactory;
require __DIR__ . '/../vendor/autoload.php';
$app = AppFactory::create();
$app->get('/hello/{name}', function (Request $request, Response $response, array $args) {
    $name = $args['name'];
    $response->getBody()->write("Hello, $name");
    return $response;


1) HTTP Router

2) Middleware

3) PSR-7 Support

4) Dependency Injection


Slim microframework comes with an extensive pool of developers. You can chat, share codes, or troubleshoot any issue with someone’s help that is tough to be resolved by yourself.

PHP Microframeworks: Comparison: Lumen by Laravel, Slim and Silex

In this document, we will compare three popular choices for PHP Microframeworks. But we would like to bring to your notice that the below-given comparison is entirely based on our years of experience with the microframeworks.

Furthermore, you are more than welcome to share constructive feedback in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.

 LumenSlimSilex(Symfony 4-5)
ProviderLaravelSlim Framework TeamSymfony
StatusAliveAliveDead as of June 2018
How to Start?composer create-project –prefer-dist laravel/lumen blogPHP composer.phar create-project slim/slim-skeleton:dev-master [my-app-name]Symfony new my_project
Learning CurveLowLowHigh
ExtendableThink about a situation when your needs are grown and you want more rich features.Yes easilyNoYes
ORMNO, On-DemandNO, On-DemandNo, On-Demand
Github Stars7K10.8K24.1K
Stackoverflow (Questions tag)229026821371
PSR-7 SupportYesYesYes

In a Nutshell

Talking about Slim, the PHP microframework offers extensive features to speed up the development of a web application, specifically an application’s interface.

Besides, Slim assists developers to keep the web application architecture smooth and neat by installing only the applicable packages.

Silex, in spite of being a lightweight framework, permits developers to hasten custom web application development by making use of Symfony components. It has features to simplify the development of a uni-file application.

Lumen, to be honest, is also a lightweight version of a PHP microframework and is being extensively used being a robust version of Laravel. It is the fastest, offering robust features, with zero complex configuration.

Hence, Lumen comes with features to simplify the development of web applications and APIs.

So it’s basically up to your project needs which micro-framework suits the best.


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