Two years of symfony
This is a great day. We are all very excited that symfony is at last shown to the public. After months of development and tests, it is finally time to deliver it to the community of web developers.
Back then, the future of a new open-source MVC framework written in PHP5 was uncertain. Even if we were very confident that our code and documentation quality could make a difference, we were not the first ones to do that , and we knew that it would require a tremendous amount of work to become broadly adopted and well-known.
Today, when we look back, it seems that we had no idea of the amount of time we would dedicate to the project, of the fantastic feedback we would get from the community, and of the adoption that symfony would get. Today, symfony has become one of the best open-source web application frameworks out there. Today, we want to celebrate with you and tell everybody about this beautiful piece of software, this wonderful community, and this extraordinary personal experience that symfony is.
Hurrah for the symfony website
Where to look first? Let’s talk at the symfony website. It already gathers more than 100,000 unique visitors each month, and they come from all over the world. These visitors have already published more than 37 500 posts in the forum, where we have 3,800 registered users (not to mention the 1,000 people registered to the users mailing-list). All that makes Google Trends tell that symfony is among the most popular PHP frameworks out there.
After two years, the website hasn’t changed much (Fabien tried to turn it into a website-for-blind once, but the community was stronger). We recently switched to a stronger server, but that’s only the first of a series of more dramatic changes. With the upcoming of symfony-forge.com and symfony-project.org, and a new design, the organization of information will improve greatly.
Hooray for the symfony community
Developers from 80 countries of the world write symfony code every day. And the great thing is that they don’t just do it alone in their cubicle, they share it. What’s fantastic is that the open-source spirit of symfony continues to live among its users.
See for yourself: more than 200 plugins contributed in the wiki, 230 snippets, hundreds of wiki pages, translations of the documentation in Spanish, Italian, Polish, Chinese, Russian, French, Tcheck, Portuguese, German, Dutch and Japanese… And of course, you can find a new article every day in the blogosphere with dozens of weblogs posting regularly about symfony.
As while we speak of plugins, did you know that you can now create an application almost exclusively made of plugins? With complete functional blocks supported by sfGuard, sfSimpleCMS, sfMediaLibrary, sfLucene or sfSimpleBlog, it should not take you too long to build up a shiny web 2.0 application. We also address our warm thanks to the sfDoctrine developer team, who work really hard to provide a good alternative ORM layer to symfony.
Kudos for the symfony-powered applications
Those who work with symfony don’t just code for pleasure, they also publish websites that work.
When we learned about it, we couldn’t believe it ourselves: Even Yahoo! uses symfony for their applications. Not only Yahoo! Bookmarks, but also del.icio.us, the most emblematic web 2.0 service, was completely rewritten to work on the symfony platform. If these guys are willing to spend time and money to rewrite that much code on a framework, it sure shows that the framework is rock solid.
But that wouldn’t be fair to mention Yahoo! and not the hundreds (thousands?) of symfony-powered web applications. Thanks for trusting us, and we hope that choosing symfony was a bottom line for your businesses.
So symfony has created a new ecosystem, with job offers pouring in, and an increased salary for the developers who know the framework. Downloading and using symfony is free, but it may actually lead you to make a lot of money.
Yippee for the documentation
Open-source projects seldom propose as much (free) documentation as symfony. We published a whole book with Apress and released it in GFDL for your reading pleasure. We also wrote a 24 hours tutorial that made beginning with symfony a much easier task. A cookbook with some functionality-focused tutorials waits in a dark corner of the documentation page that you ask the right question.
The documentation is not only made of words. Today, explanations pass better through images than words, and that’s why symfony published screencasts right from the beginning. And if you really want to learn fast, Sensio gives workshops later this year, where you can learn in three days a month worth of knowledge.
Overall, English-speaking developers have access to more than a thousand pages of documentation online. Translations in other languages are ongoing, all by kind volunteers who spend hours doing this on their free time. Thanks you all for that.
Of course, the documentation work is not over. Fabien has many surprises for you symfony fans (a new advent calendar? New screencasts?) and you will soon realize that you still have a lot to discover about the true power of symfony. I also have some good tutorials in the works, that you might see published in the near future.
Thumbs up for the symfony code
The heart of symfony is the code that runs the applications. After 5500 changesets, its has been almost completely rewritten (twice) and is now better than ever. Some projections give to the codebase a value of almost ten million dollars . Symfony 1.0 was much more stable and faster than its predecessors, and since then we have worked a lot to improve it over and over. Code with confidence, for symfony is really a good piece of code.
This was made possible by the incredible work of Fabien, of course. Yet there are many more developers to thank, who took the time to dive into the code, understand its inner mechanisms, and contribute patches or enhancements.
In fact, Sensio, the company that sponsors symfony, has committed to maintain the 1.0 version up to 2009 so that you can start coding now without fear that future updates will break all your applications and leave you in the wild. Almost every month, a new release comes with its load of patches. Usually, this kind of regular service comes at a high price. With symfony, you get it for free.
Still a lot to come
We cannot talk about the symfony code without teasing you about the future of symfony. The 1.1 milestone is closer than ever, and the number of improvements that this version will contain is absolutely amazing. Object oriented CLI? A new form sub-framework? A new event system? A rewritten plugin system? That’s only a tiny share of the surprises that we have for you.
Celebrate, spread the word, have a drink, for today is a great day.
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