Comparing PHP/symfony and Ruby on Rails

I’ve had the opportunity to develop SaaS products in both PHP/symfony and Ruby on Rails over the past year. Being very popular development frameworks, there have been numerous discussions comparing the two, along with anything else to make web apps. With first-hand experience, I wanted to offer my thoughts from a technical CEO perspective. Here are the pros of both frameworks:


  • PHP language – PHP is a mix of a variety of languages like C, C++, and Perl making it is easy to pick up for classically trained programmers and newbies alike
  • Developer availability – PHP, an all purpose and wildly popular web programming language, makes it easy to find experienced developers
  • Deployment – symfony apps are very easy to deploy without bringing the web app down using rsync, assuming your script caching isn’t checking file timestamps every request (which isn’t the fastest)
  • MVC separation – symfony’s approach to the Model-View-Controller is very intuitive and logical being based on OOP and folder structures

Ruby on Rails

  • Ruby language – expressive and readable language that has amazing flexibility to do things like modify a class at run-time
  • ActiveRecord – extremely elegant Object Relational Mapping that requires very little code to layout table relationships and enforce constraints
  • Lines of code – yes, it’s true, you can develop a sophisticated web app in RoR with fewer lines of code that you would expect
  • Plugins & gems – RoR’s plugins, as well as Ruby gems, provide a wealth of modular functionality

I’m a big fan of both platforms — you can’t go wrong with either.

8 thoughts on “Comparing PHP/symfony and Ruby on Rails

  1. Hi, I’ve worked with Symphony 1.0 a couple of years ago and now I’m learning RoR
    I think you should to say that the Object Relational Mapping is also available in Symphony, so you can map any record to an object and any table to an array of objects. I don’t remember now if PHP has the each method.
    Also, there are a lot of plugins for Symphony that one can “just & play” with.
    So far, I find both frameworks similar but to tell the truth I’ve never developed anything in RoR…yet

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