This is the most popular web framework for PHP at the moment. It is also one of the best tools for you to create applications quickly. It is based on the MVC model of software development, so you will find it easier to add new features and maintain code in general.
This is a relatively new framework, but has quickly gained a big following because of its sophistication. Its best feature is lightweight and fast and it makes your web development much easier. Laravel has a very expressive and easy syntax, so you don’t have to worry about complicated code.
This framework too has been around for a few years. It is not as powerful as Laravel or symphony 2, but if you want to create small and medium scale web applications, you can do it more easily with Codeignitor than any other framework. It’s documentation is quite neat and its APIs and functions are easily implemented.
Used by many established enterprises to manage their internal as well as consumer web facing applications, CakePHP is one of the premier frameworks. It is not necessarily than the other frameworks, but if you develop for a lot of clients, then it is important to familiarize yourself with this framework.
If your web application has higher I/O model, then you need a more router based PHP framework and FuelPHP is your answer. It is different from other frameworks, but is still based on the familiar MVC model. If you have been using another framework, then Fuel is not very difficult to understand, but it will improve your network oriented application much more than other frameworks.
Anybody who has started a consumer facing application for the first time knows how difficult it is to handle mail without investing in a third party mail service. PHP Mailer is a simple email library that makes it easier for you to send, receive and manage emails from any email account.
If you have had to prove to a website that you are not a robot at any time, you were probably looking at an implementation of ReCaptcha. It is the simplest and most sophisticated captcha authentication library at the same time. More importantly, it is developed and maintained by Google and is free to use.
This library is incredibly useful if you want to provide users with large file downloads, but without having to worry about bandwidth constraints. Zipstream will compress your files without even needing a temp directory and will make it available for download for users.
If you are testing a lot of databases for a new PHP application, then you need a library that will make it easy to switch between different databases. ADOdb provides you with a very simple way to change the database you are using for querying with support for MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, SQL Server, Oracle SQL and more.
If you find it difficult to account for different types of screen sizes and resolutions while displaying text, PHP Typography will help you manage it more easily. It takes care of details like paragraph and text indentation, hyphenation, spacing control and much more.
Whether you use the above tools for PHP development is up to you, but if you don’t know about it, you will probably be wasting hours and day repeating code and creating inefficient applications. The above tools will help you cover for the weaknesses of PHP as a programming language, while letting you use its most powerful features more easily. Ultimately, using one more of the above tools will make you a much better PHP web developer.