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PHP For Enterprise Application Development: A Definitive Guide

  • October 10, 2023
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In this fast-paced business world, entrepreneurs need applications that are not only efficient but also offer great scalability to meet the rising demands of the ever-growing market.

To adapt to the emerging digitized business environments, you need to know the best methods of developing robust, dynamic, and faster applications that can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Adopting a collaborative approach to enterprise app development ensures that it aligns perfectly with your specific business needs.

PHP is a popular programming language that can help you achieve this! With a wide range of PHP frameworks and a flexible nature, it has become a top preferred choice for enterprise application development.

Read on further to explore the PHP language better and understand its benefits, features, and frameworks! Let’s begin!


 

 


1.  Introduction

What is PHP?

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, more commonly known as PHP, is an open-source server-side programming language most widely used for web development and enterprise application development.

In 1994, PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf as a general-purpose programming language, mainly used by web developers to build web pages. This includes professional company websites, eCommerce marketplaces, and more.

The best part about using PHP is that it is executed on the server and can be embedded into standard HTML. This allows for dynamic content and interactions on the web pages.

Further, PHP syntax can also be used to create Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) and web applications. Its latest versions, PHP 7 and PHP 8, are object-oriented and this allows developers to build secure and dynamic frameworks that are reusable.

Definition Of Enterprise Application

Enterprise applications are software solutions or systems designed and developed to meet the specific needs of enterprises or organizations, irrespective of their size.

Unlike other software, enterprise applications are complex to build and are equipped with multiple features and functionalities to cater to unique business requirements.

These types of applications are mostly large-scale and mission-critical and need to be integrated with business processes and systems within an organization.

Importance Of Efficiency And Scalability In Enterprise Application Development

To race through the cut-throat competition and emerge as an absolute leader in your industry, you need to streamline your business operations, enhance communication, and improve collaboration. This is where Enterprise applications can be of great help!

Since, enterprise applications need to handle a significant number of users and large volumes of data, efficiency and scalability hold paramount importance in its development process. An application must scale easily when the user base expands and the business grows.

Unlike other applications that are built for end users or customers, enterprise applications are made for the people involved in the operations of a business. These are meant to overcome critical business challenges, solve complex problems, and streamline workflows.

Since business needs are different and cannot be met by a universal off-shelf application, the need for custom software development becomes more apparent.

Most importantly, custom enterprise application development enables enterprises to seamlessly integrate it into their existing systems and databases.

 

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2. Types Of Enterprise Applications You Can Build Using PHP

Organizations employ a wide range of enterprise applications in PHP to fulfill their business-critical purposes such as optimizing operations, gaining insights from data, interacting with customers at various touch points, and managing company staff.

As per a Statista report, the global spend on enterprise software development by companies was around USD 783 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 856.O3 billion by this year’s end.

Types Of Enterprise Applications You Can Build Using PHP

Image Source: Statista

Let us see now what types of enterprise applications are used by organizations to manage, streamline, and automate their workflows.

Business Intelligence (BI) Apps

Business Intelligence (BI) is the process of collecting business data and analyzing them to extract meaningful insights and draw conclusions that aid in better decision-making.  BI apps make this process easier for business analysts by offering them a unified platform in the form of an enterprise application.

Business intelligence apps come with a wide variety of features like dashboards, graphs or chart creation, and data visualization reports, which help business leaders gain insights into the key business metrics at a glance. Whether it’s tracking sales, checking revenue growth, monitoring inventory, or analyzing customer behaviors – BI apps have got you covered.

Business intelligence applications built using PHP offer great scalability to organizations and help them boost their profitability. By predicting market trends and identifying opportunities, they can stay ahead of the competition.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Apps

As the name suggests, CRM apps are particularly meant for managing customer relationships and tracking interactions of the company with its customers.  CRM ensures that no lead or prospect is missed.

CRM apps allow organizations to maintain records of customer interactions and customer information such as purchase history, preferred mode of communication, contact info, etc.

Besides, using CRM software, you can gain useful details about your customers like their choices and preferences, which you can use to improve your business-customer relationship.  By providing better customer service, support, and personalized interaction, you can increase customer retention and loyalty.

Simple Customer Relationship Management System is a CRM built using PHP.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Apps

HR Management Apps

 Human resource management (HRM) apps are developed to provide organizations with a better and more effective way to manage their employees or human resources.

HRM apps aid in the automation of crucial HR processes like candidate screening and shortlisting, employee onboarding, training, and performance management.

Besides improving the efficiency of HR teams with less paperwork, HRM apps enhance communication between employees and the HR team. It also lowers HR operational costs and boosts employee satisfaction.

Accounting & Financial Management Apps

 Tracking expenses and managing finances are two core responsibilities of an enterprise. Finance management apps are equipped with advanced and automation features that help businesses easily track and manage financial data like expenditures, revenue, taxes, and invoices.

Besides saving a lot of time and money, these enterprise applications eliminate the chances of errors in calculation which are quite common in manual processes.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Apps

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a vital system for businesses today. It acts as the central hub and brain for the organization by keeping data organized and accurate.

It creates a centralized database that is accessible by everyone in the organization which ensures consistency in information sharing within the organization.

Supply Chain Management (SCM) Apps

 SCM apps are particularly demanded by the retail sector to optimize and streamline their supply chain operations. With the help of SCM apps, you can track the journey of your products from origin to endpoint.

This helps in effective planning, managing inventory, and lowering transportation costs by optimizing the supply chain process.

3. Benefits PHP Offers For Enterprise Application Development

In today’s world, PHP-based applications have a strong foothold in the market, having its fair share of advocates pointing out all the significant advantages it offers to enterprises.

PHP offers businesses an opportunity to develop a full-fledged and feature-packed web application that delivers a rich user experience.

In this section of the article, we are going to explain all the plus points of PHP as a server-side programming language, highlighting all its capabilities and exceptional functionalities.

Flexibility

The reason why PHP is the top choice for enterprise applications is because it is compatible with all the major platforms i.e. Windows, iOS, Linux, and Unix. It also supports popular databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.

PHP is highly flexible to make changes in applications as per specific business requirements. Besides, it allows for seamless integration with other scripting languages such as JavaScript and XML.

Because of its versatility and flexibility, PHP is used for cross-platform applications to make the most of their existing IT infrastructure.

Faster Development

PHP, with its diverse range of frameworks, offers expedited development with heightened security. Being an object-oriented programming language, it requires developers to put less effort as components and code are reusable. This drastically reduces the time of development.

Moreover, PHP allows easy integration into pre-written HTML codes and in-built functions which speeds up the overall development.

Scalability

Businesses need scalable solutions that can easily grow with their demands. PHP, a popular language for websites, supports scalability with many free extensions and expands website capabilities without stress.

Furthermore, PHP provides clear documentation which saves developers time by allowing them to swiftly understand the code and speed up the development process. It’s like when you have the right tool; your website, software, or mobile app development becomes smooth and efficient.

Cost-effective

If you are seeking a budget-friendly solution for enterprise app development, PHP is the one! As it is an open-source scripting language, it is available to everyone free of cost. This means no downloading or licensing fee is required for you to spend.

Besides being an affordable option for businesses, PHP has a large community that offers tremendous scope for PHP developers to access a large pool of information and promote knowledge sharing.

Security

In comparison to other programming languages, PHP offers better control and security to enterprise apps. PHP’s secure ecosystem offers advanced control features and fool-proof security which make it a highly reliable language to use in business application development.

Needless to say, the 24/7 steady support by the PHP experts of web development companies ensures that they always have your back whenever you need them.

Hosting

PHP is a top choice for hosting providers due to its versatility. It supports many frameworks, works well on different platforms, and seamlessly connects with databases. This makes it ideal for website hosting services.

And what is the best part about this? Using PHP usually comes at no extra cost for hosting providers, thus, making it an attractive and budget-friendly option for enterprises.

Easy Maintenance

Regular updates to business applications are essential for engaging users or customers effectively. Enhancing features or improving existing functions involves coding expertise and a deep understanding of the programming language.

PHP codes are easy to maintain due to their clear and understandable syntax. The consistent syntax simplifies the maintenance of PHP-based applications. Hence, organizations can easily modify the code with the help of any PHP professional, not necessarily needing the original developer.

4. Must-Have Features Of PHP-based Enterprise Application

Enterprise applications are designed to meet the specific needs of a business. To ensure its effectiveness in solving business problems, it should have the following range of features.

  • Scalability – Enterprise apps need to easily expand to handle increased users, transactions, and data volume as a business grows, without causing any performance lags.
  • Integration – Seamless integration with other systems like ERP, CRM, and SCM is a vital aspect of enterprise app development to streamline operations.
  • Security – Enterprise applications must incorporate robust security measures to safeguard sensitive information from cyber threats and unauthorized access.
  • Customization – Tailoring the software to suit specific organizational needs is crucial. Whether it’s adding features, modifying existing ones, or altering the user interface – you should be able to do that in a hassle-free manner.
  • User-friendly Interface – Creating an intuitive and simple user interface is essential in enterprise app development because it reduces the learning curve for employees and boosts productivity.
  • Mobile Compatibility – You need to ensure that your enterprise app is compatible with mobile devices.  Anyone from your organization should be able to access the system anytime, anywhere.
  • Reliability and Availability – Enterprise apps should be dependable with an uninterrupted 24/7 operation to minimize downtime and maintain productivity.
  • Collaboration and Communication – Facilitating effective collaboration and communication among employees, departments, and teams is key to the company’s growth. This enhances productivity, reduces errors, and promotes teamwork.

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 5. Top PHP Frameworks Used For Creating Enterprise Applications

Selecting an ideal PHP framework for your enterprise web application can be challenging with a large pool of frameworks with varied levels of features and performance.

While each has its own set of pros and cons, we are here to make your choice easy by listing the top 5 most popular frameworks.

This quick comparison guide can solve all your confusion and help you make a well-informed decision.

5.1 Laravel

 Laravel was created by Taylor Otwell and has stood out for building powerful web applications since 2011. This widely-used PHP framework is known for its user-friendly language, great guides, and supportive community. Many developers prefer Laravel application development for its efficiency and speed in crafting web apps.

Key Benefits of Laravel

  • Laravel Homestead – The official pre-packaged Vagrant box offers a top-notch development environment without requiring PHP installation.
  • Laravel Valet – It supports Symfony, CakePHP 3, Slim, Zend, and WordPress, expanding its versatility.
  • Packalyst – It is a collection of 15,000+ Laravel packages that enrich project functionality.
  • Security: Laravel offers a variety of robust features and methods to enhance application security.
  • Development Speed: Laravel speeds up development by automating repetitive tasks and enabling rapid skeleton code generation.
  • Useful Tools: This framework provides essential tools like Mix for asset compilation and Socialite for OAuth authentication.

5.2 Symphony

Symfony is another most favored PHP framework that excels in building web apps due to its strength and adaptability. It offers a wide range of components that simplify integrating common features like authentication and routing. The framework’s clear documentation ensures a quick learning process and makes it ideal for enterprise application projects of all sizes, from small to large.

 Key Benefits of Symphony

  •  Scalability – Symphony is ideal for building scalable websites and apps.
  • Modularity – It offers a highly flexible modular component system.
  • Database Support – It is compatible with the most popular PHP framework databases.
  • Easy Debugging – With Symphony, you can streamline debugging with its built-in toolbar for Symfony projects.
  • Commercial Support – It is supported by Sensio Labs which provides commercial backing.
  • Community Engagement – Symphony boasts a massive community of 600,000+ active developers.

5.3 CodeIgniter (CI)

CodeIgniter is also a PHP framework, known for building dynamic and fully-functional web applications.  Especially for beginners, CodeIgniter is a great pick because it is very easy to install and has reusable components that make the development process easy.  Also, the configuration requires minimal effort and developers can start working on it immediately. The framework comes with clean and simple documentation with illustrations to help developers understand better.

Key Benefits of CodeIgniter

  •  Scalability – CodeIgniter is highly scalable and flexible which makes it an appropriate choice for both small-scale startups and large enterprises.
  • MVC-based system – CI is based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern which allows seamless integration with JS frameworks and accelerates the speed of development.
  • Built-in security – It has comprehensive security mechanisms to safeguard against CSRF and XSS attacks and prevent unauthorized access.
  • No-installation – CI is preferred for enterprise app development because it requires no installation and boasts a small app size that extends up to 2 MB.
  • Hassle-free Migration – Database update and migration from an existing server to another is quick and simple.

5.4  Cake PHP

Cake PHP is an open-source PHP framework used for creating web applications faster. It is also referred to as a “rapid development PHP framework” because it allows developers to craft applications in a structured manner in less time by providing a foundational structure. Hence, enterprise applications can be built faster with Cake PHP with less coding.

Key Benefits of Cake PHP

  • Streamlined coding – This framework supports conventional-based development with easy-to-understand and consistent code.
  • Scalability – Cake PHP framework is designed to manage complex and demanding applications and hence, most suitable for enterprise-level app development.
  • Stability – It is the most stable framework among all other PHP frameworks with easy testing capabilities.
  •  MVC Pattern – The MVC architectural pattern allows developers to fragment the web application into three components – Model, View, and Controller.
  • Built-in Security – This security component in Cake PHP offers developers an easier way to integrate security features into their applications.

5.5 ZEND Framework

Although introduced in the year 2006, this PHP framework gained momentum later due to its large community of developers and modular architecture. Zend is an enterprise-ready object-oriented framework, known for great scalability and reusability of components. It has extensive component library support which enables developers to optimize application performance and eliminate unnecessary burdens. Laminas is the new and upgraded version of Zend that aims to revamp the codebase while retaining the framework’s reliability.

Key Benefits of ZEND

  •  Easy Customization – It is a flexible framework where developers can easily integrate templates and third-party libraries and customize the components as per business needs.
  • HTML5 Compliant – With Zend, it is easy to create a front end supported by HTML5. It supports easy input data like URLs, searches, contact information, etc.
  •  Enterprise-level development – Zend is suitable for the development of big data applications that are large-scale and enterprise-level web applications.
  • Large Database support – The Zend framework supports many of the leading databases such as MySQL, IBM DB2, and Oracle.

6. Key Consideration While Selecting the PHP Framework for Enterprise Solutions

Selecting the right web application framework is instrumental in determining the success of your project.

Suppose, you have found a framework that offers incredible features, inherent capabilities, and a fast learning curve. Still, the success of your application, in the long run, relies heavily on the fact of how well it meets the needs of your business.

 Let’s take a look at the factors that ensure long-term success and meet business requirements.

 Scalability

The enterprise application must be easy to scale as the business grows and the number of users increases. Modular architecture, pre-built and reusable components, and database integration are some of the considerations for improving scalability in applications.

Faster Development

As mentioned earlier, most PHP frameworks come with a broad range of in-built components, features, and functionalities, which accelerate the development process. Hence, selecting PHP for your enterprise application can never go wrong because it saves the developer’s time and the company’s cost.

Security

There is no iota of doubt that PHP strengthens the security of your application. With its exclusive security features like input validation and user authentication, PHP boosts security and safeguards your web application against cyber attacks.

7. Best Practices To Follow To Optimize The PHP Framework

If you want to utilize the PHP framework properly and get the most out of it, make sure you have a decent understanding of the framework and its underlying concepts. These include object-oriented syntax, MVC architecture, object-oriented syntax, databases, and ORMs.

For this, you need to consider the documentation and support for the particular framework selected. Besides having a clear knowledge of the frameworks, here are some of the best practices you can follow to optimize your framework –

Easy Learning Curve

The myriad choices of PHP frameworks can make the learning process intimidating and overwhelming, especially for beginners. Choosing a framework with a well-documentation and supportive community can make the learning journey smooth for the developers.

As soon as you get comfortable with the framework and gain a basic understanding of your framework’s syntax, components, etc., you can easily adapt it to the needs of your business.

Saves Time

Time is crucial, especially when we are talking about enterprise applications! While selecting a PHP framework, you should ensure that the framework saves developers time without compromising the quality of web applications.

A well-designed and developer-friendly framework enhances the development process, boosts efficiency,  and finally results in the creation of a better digital product. Therefore, you must consider time-saving and ease of use as the two most important criteria for PHP framework selection.

Technical Compatibility

Besides ease of use, developers need to be extra careful about the database integration and technical compatibility of the framework selected. With several options available before you, it becomes essential to pick one that is relevant in terms of compatibility with deployment.

Hence, always go for a stable framework that is backed by a strong community and offers consistent support and maintenance.

Feature-packed Framework

Web development and web application frameworks have undergone revolutionary advancements in recent years. So, while selecting a particular framework, be watchful of the properties and features it offers.

Further, it is pivotal to strike a balance between the simplicity of a framework and the functionality it offers to cater to the needs of your enterprise. To summarize, choose a framework that provides all the necessary or must-have features without bringing in unwanted complexities.

Documentation & Support

The presence of clear and precise documentation of the framework plays a major role in speeding up the development process. It ensures that the framework is utilized at its full potential.

In addition to this, a full-time extensive support network is necessary to solve all your queries and provide assistance throughout the development process. Thus, during framework evaluation ensure the availability of proper documentation and steady support, as it can directly impact your project’s success.

 

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9. Security Considerations For Your PHP Application

You need to prioritize security while developing a PHP application to prevent it from becoming a common target for hackers and malicious attackers. Without proper implementation of security measures, the risks associated with PHP vulnerabilities can pose a serious threat to the sensitive information entered into a web application.

Hence, following up-to-date and proactive security measures for your PHP-based enterprise application is elementary in protecting user data and ensuring the safety of the application.

Given below are some of the best security practices to secure your PHP application.

Prepared SQL statements

One of the largest risks that PHP application owners need to be careful about is SQL injection attacks. SQL injection is the technique of inserting malicious code into your web application’s SQL statements.

To safeguard your application against these SQL injection threats, you need to integrate robust security measures such as undertaking measures to transport inputted values to the database. This ensures that prepared SQL statements are safely executed.

Protection from CSRF Attacks

CSRF stands for Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF) and is a dangerous hacking tactic employed by attackers, these days, to break the trust between a user and the website or web application. It forces users to perform unwanted actions by targeting state-changing requests.

To prevent CSRF attacks, you can utilize the SameSite cookie attribute which is considered useful in preventing access to unauthorized individuals to your website. With this, website administrators provide instructions to browsers to only send cookies whenever a user navigates the site directly and prevent hackers from gaining access to user information.

Binding IP address with Visitor’s Session ID

Session hijacking occurs when a hacker attempts to gain access to visitor information by stealing his or her session ID. The information mostly includes login credentials and other personal data a user provides to enter a website.

To prevent such a type of attack, PHP developers are advised to bind every session ID to the IP address or client’s properties. Using this trick will make it difficult for attackers to hijack a session as now, they need to get access to all the properties that are used in binding to make their hacking attempt successful.

Prevention Of XSS Or Cross-Site Scripting Attacks

Active execution of external remote codes in a web application results in XSS attacks which cause a page to malfunction. Hackers submit malicious code in HTML, JS, and CSS, to the remote website which generates unintended results.

Data sanitization can help prevent XSS attacks. It is a process of secure and permanent deletion of sensitive data from storage media or datasets which is received by the web application.

10. Limitations In PHP Application Development

Although PHP offers great scalability and flexibility in building enterprise applications, it is not without any flaws. So, let’s explore what the limitations of PHP are and what kind of difficulties developers generally face with PHP.

Not Very Much Versatile

PHP is considered ideal for simple website and web application development. However, if your project is complicated and requires the use of new-edge technologies like Big data analytics, Machine learning, and Artificial intelligence, you need to consider some other advanced scripting languages.

Limited Debugging Tools

One of the common complaints that developers make is that its debugging tools are limited and also, the tools do not search and track errors properly. Compared to other programming languages, PHP handles errors inefficiently.

Core behavior modification is not possible

Another drawback of using PHP is that it doesn’t allow any kind of modification to the framework and hence, there is no room for creativity in making changes in the core behavior of your enterprise application.

Less Security

PHP is an open-source code that is available free of cost to everyone. Since it is an ASCII file, it is accessible to anyone. This implies that the codes as well as the bugs can be easily viewed by the public and hackers can attempt to use these bugs for malicious purposes. Therefore, security is not the best in PHP.

11. How PHP Lowers The Cost Of Total Application Development

Despite some drawbacks, PHP is still one of the most preferred choices as scripting languages by developers for enterprise applications. And, the prime reason behind this is the unexpectedly low cost of development.

Listed below are the reasons that make PHP a cost-effective solution for entrepreneurs’ application projects.

  • PHP has a large community of developers with expertise in other leading-edge web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and more. This results in the development of dynamic and intuitive web applications.
  • With its pre-built modules such as database management, user authentication, XML parsing, and data encryption, PHP makes the development process faster. It supports seamless integration of these modules into your application with minimal effort.
  • Compared to other scripting languages, PHP offers faster output with the need for compilation, streamlining the process of application development. This ability to quickly view final results is highly beneficial for developers as they can detect and fix bugs before the final launch.

12. Outsourcing PHP Development: How To Hire The Right PHP Developer

Now that you know about PHP and its framework, in and out, you can rely on it for the development of your scalable and efficient enterprise app development. But for that, you need to hire an experienced and most importantly, reliable PHP developer with in-depth knowledge and expertise in PHP and PHP-based frameworks.

Before hiring a PHP developer, consider the following checklist to ensure you have handpicked the right professional for your project.

  • In addition to PHP, the developer must know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s always a big plus point for your project.
  • He or she should have experience working with jQuery, MySQL, and Ajax.
  • Knowledge of MVC architecture, API, and Linux is a must.
  • He or she must be capable of testing web applications on various browsers and devices.
  • He or she should be able to optimize the site or your web application architecture.
  • He or she should have great communication skills and should be capable of interacting with the designers, project managers, and clients efficiently.

If you are having difficulty searching for the right person for your project, don’t worry! Webgen Technologies USA has got you covered. We have a team of highly skilled and experienced PHP developers who can help you navigate smoothly through your PHP-based enterprise application development.

Winding Up

 PHP and its framework have gained massive popularity in recent years. It has captured the web development and web application market drastically due to its versatility.

This open-source and user-friendly programming language is now entrepreneurs’ favorite because of its flexibility, scalability, massive libraries, and large community support.

With all these incredible advantages, PHP has become the ideal choice for businesses who want to streamline their operations, manage their team efficiently, and grow their online presence.

By leveraging PHP,  enterprises can develop their applications faster, boost their performance, and scale them to cater to the growing demands of their business. So, what are you waiting for? Connect with the best PHP development team and get going with your enterprise app venture.

Thanks for reading! If you have any queries about PHP or web development, or want to share your opinion with us, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, share this article with your entrepreneur friends if you found the information helpful.

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