A framework that we are using currently for a project is Yii. It expands to Yes It Is :). It’s an MVC-based PHP framework.
Before beginning the project a number of frameworks were taken into consideration. Grails, Node JS etc., and finally it was decided to use to PHP (something that I have ignored for a long time). A number of PHP based frameworks were then considered and finally Yii was nailed.
Yii is free for commercial use as it has been released under BSD license. My first few lessons on Yii reminded me of Grails. The same controllers, models and views. Once the coding started started wondering how I have ignored this for a long time. It’s so nimble without any heavy duty plumbing work. Much lighter and simpler than Grails. Eclipse has a good Yii plugin that’s more than enough to get started with.
Yii controllers can be accessed in REST style, so seems to be a perfect candidate for server side implementation for mobile applications. The models follow the ORM mechanism known as ActiveRecord(similar to Ruby). But the ActiveRecord implementation of Yii is lot more simpler than the Rails and Grails(GORM) counterparts. The best part about creating ActiveRecord classes is you don’t have to declare all the variables that correspond to the columns. It supports relationships, criteria API as well.
The view components are our standard PHP pages where you can use HTML UI components provided by Yii, similar to the custom tag libraries.
Like the standard question we face from Java/.NET developers regarding Rails/Grails, does it support developing enterprise level applications or used only for social media type applications?, I have the same question and still working on it. Another aspect of Yii, that’s still need to be explored is the unit and integration testing capabilities similar to the Grails framework. Yet to use PHPUnit.
But yes, it’s definitely worth looking at Yii for future projects.