PHP frameworks allow you to build robust sites, complex software applications, and web applications on a well-established foundation. It provides a complete set of modules and design patterns to bootstrap development.
Laravel is introduced by Taylor Otwell in 2011 and has now become a very popular PHP framework among developers. Laravel is a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture and comes with a rich view templating known as Blade that allows you to easily create HTML layouts. For data transportation and communication with the database, Laravel uses Eloquent ORM (Object Relational Mapping).
Laravel is one of the best PHP frameworks because of its extensive range of features that make development faster and easier such as caching, routing, pagination, database model and query builder, migration system, blade template engine, etc.
CakePHP is an open-source web, rapid development framework that makes building web applications simpler, faster, and require less code. The primary goal of CakePHP is to enable developers to work in a structured and rapid manner without loss of flexibility. Furthermore, Its convention allows creating PHP apps quickly with a minimal configuration. Business logic will handle by their ORM with the flexibility of database access and more features such as authentication, localization, validation, etc.
CakePHP provides a similar component out of web development and provides tools you need to get started coding a new project instead of reinventing the wheel for every new project setup. CakePHP has an active development team and community that will make sure about application's core is well tested and qualify.
The basic architecture of CodeIgnitor is MVC that provides simplicity to build APIs and lightweight web applications. Codeignitor does not enforce strict MVC developers have the ability to code with a none MVC application as well. The feature of Codeignitor includes caching, routing, support for multiple databases, error handling, etc. It has a light footprint because of fewer built-in features.
An example of MVC architecture, if you want to retrieve a student with an id equal to 3, the controller will receive your order, then request to Codeignitor model to get information of student with an id of 3 from the database. Then, the model will return the record to the controller and the controller will forwards the result to view which translates into a human-readable format.
Yii is a great choice for new PHP developers and it's generally recommended for building performance web applications with features such as error handling, logging, unit testing, blogs, and SaaS app. Yii is an open-source used for building applications on top of PHP language and operates on OOP with MVC pattern.
Yii has many built-in widgets to validate or output data quickly with Ajax support. Yii was designed to improve the website performance and loading time is faster comparing to Laravel. The clear motivation of Yii makes it easy for users to create themes and skins to extend the Yii core component.