When comparing Play Framework vs Symfony, the Slant community recommends Play Framework for most people. In the question“What are the best backend web frameworks?” Play Framework is ranked 8th while Symfony is ranked 17th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Asynchronous Core
Pro Interoperable with Java
It's like Java, but more Haskell-y.
Pro Good documentation and a great community
Play has quite a large community which provides numerous tutorials and videos related to developing with Play.
The Play official documentation covers many things, such as the framework itself but also specific stuff such as Akka, SBT and Netty.
There are also many big companies that base their main sites around Play, one of them is LinkedIn which provides third-party documentation on a regular basis.
Pro Simple for beginners
Play is very simple to get started. The documentation is very helpful for beginners and advanced users alike and the official website has a great "Getting Started" tutorial to begin developing with Play.
Pro Play is an extensive ecosystem
Play uses Akka for concurrency, Scala for a templating engine, Netty as a client-server framework and SBT (Simple Build Tool) for building. And they all come out of the box.
Play also comes with the option to scaffold your applications. Play is an all-embracing ecosystem designed to increase developer productivity and shorten development times.
Pro Readable code
Play framework's convention over configuration methodology makes most Play projects have a very similar structure. This means that the code written for the framework is very readable. This enables a developer to switch between applications without having to relearn the ecosystem for every project. The built-in templating system also helps with code and makes it possible to have a very low count of lines of code.
Pro Good Websocket Support
Pro Can use Java, one of the most widely known languages
Java is one of the most widely known languages, so people coming from that background can jump right in and not have to learn a new language syntax.
Pro Open Source
Symfony is open source and released under the MIT license.
Pro Great plugin ecosystem
One of the greatest strengths of Symfony is it's amazing and large plugin ecosystem, which comes as a result of it's large and dedicated community. Having a large number of plugins means less development time and more productivity.
Pro Easy debugging with a built-in debug toolbar
Symfony comes with a built-in toolbar that helps developers debug their applications during the development phase.
The toolbar is also extendable and new components, called panels can be added if needed to help with the debugging process.
Pro Powerful event system
Symfony has a powerful built-in event system that allows you to add flexibility to applications and makes it easier to maintain the codebase down the road.
Pro Highly active community
Symfony has one of the most active communities out of all the PHP frameworks. This is shown by the high number of commits made every day in the GitHub repo.
Pro Teaches you good practices
Symfony makes you be a better programmer. You have to deal with the latest object-oriented design patterns such as service-oriented architecture, dependency injection, interface abstraction, and so on.
Pro Uses Doctrine ORM
Symfony makes use of the Doctrine ORM to add an abstraction layer over the database in order to maintain flexibility without having unnecessary code duplication.
Pro Great templating engine
Uses Twig, which is a simple and easy to learn templating language that can also be used as a standalone engine, outside the framework.
Pro Uses YAML/XML/PHP/Annotation
Symfony makes use of XML, YAML or PHP annotations to create configurations in order to tell Doctrine on how properties of a certain class should be.
Con Backward incompatibility
The jump from Play 1 to Play 2.x caused a lot of confusion. While it is important to have some kind of evolution, sometimes it causes backward incompatibility which can create some problems. It makes tutorials or modules made for the old version obsolete. This can make it hard for beginners to find useful resources. The template engine which used Groovy now uses Scala.
Con Not as many resources to learn
Other languages and frameworks have countless tutorials, books, moocs, etc. Java and Play does not have nearly as much.
Con Promotes bad development practices
Such as annotations via comments.
Con Very hard to install
Setting it up on webhost without a console is difficult.
Con Doctrine ORM
Symfony Standard Edition, which is the most widely used distribution, comes integrated with Doctrine, the most resource hogging ORM library.
Con Bad documentation
The documentation is poorly written, so learning Symfony can be difficult, especially for beginners.
Con Low performance
Probably the slowest PHP framework out there.
Con Somewhat high overhead
Symfony can add overhead in terms of CPU and RAM usage as demonstrated by many benchmark tests.
Con You need a lot of files to display a single page
For a simple hello world page you need about 5 files.