When I started out my development career I thought the idea of a framework was stupid. If I already know the language then what was the point in learning a framework. It’s just another thing I have to know about. At the time my mindset was I can do anything the framework can do. Yeah I might have to spend the time coding it up but at least I understood it at the end. Also a lot of the core functionality you need when you are creating a site is built into the language itself. For example PHP has all of the date functions one would need. At the time PHP wasn’t really not an object oriented language either so there wasn’t frameworks built for it when I started my career. When PHP was enhanced to support objects they kind of came over time. At that time I was in the mindset that I didn’t want to learn a custom framework. Since I already was doing everything myself. Then it all changed when I worked at a company who started working with a framework. After struggling for a little bit while first learning it I am glad I spent the time.

The main benefit I see from a framework is consistency. If you start with a framework and follow the frameworks pattern’s your code base will be consistent. It makes adding new developers onto the team way easier also. You are able to point them to documentation already created. Also that documentation is always up to date. If you are rolling your own framework most of the time documentation is the last step or in most cases doesn’t get done. Not only will you have consistency but you will not trap yourself into a bad pattern. If you choose a popular framework you know it has been tested on a wide variety of applications. If it can handle all of those applications you know it can handle yours. Unless you are trying to do something way out there.

Another benefit from using a framework is you get to use the communities code. Most frameworks at least the good ones have some form of extensions. They are called something different with each framework. For example in the yiiframework they are called extensions while in ruby they are called gems. These extensions allow you to easily pull in code and modify it to your needs. You save yourself a ton of time by not having to write that datatable helper or the audit helper. A lot of this is already done. Why not use something you know is working for others? You can then focus your time on the important things. No need to reinvent the wheel.

There can be some drawbacks to using a framework. One thing we face these days is frameworks are becoming to heavy. They have a ton of code that projects may not use. Also they kind of force you into a certain way of doing things. You can always code your way out of it but it might take you extra time. Another drawback is if you fall behind on major versions. If you fall behind upgrading can be a big pain. If you don’t upgrade to the latest version you could have security issues or extension compatibility issues.

At the end of the day you want to get your website up and running super fast. When you have a framework to start with you can have a simple application up and running in minutes. Also you don’t want to spend you time writing common code that is already been done a million times by other developers. Instead you want to focus on creating the customized aspects of your website or product. Even though it does take a little investment learning the framework it’s well worth the time. After you learn one framework you will see the pattern throughout other frameworks will be very similar.

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