With the release of PHP 5.3, PHP released the most significant capabilities in years. Specifically the addition of Late Static Bindings, Lambda Functions and Closures, and Namespaces has changed everything. These new features open new doors for solutions previously impossible. As a result in recent months there has been a flood of new frameworks and libraries taking advantage of these new features. Effectively we are approaching the third wave of PHP frameworks.

The first wave included Seagull and Zoop Frameworks back before frameworks became a buzz word.

The second wave followed the massive buzz factory Ruby on Rails generated. CakePHP,SymfonyZend and a slew of others followed. These frameworks were developed after PHP 5 became standard and took advantage of the new OO features provided.

This third wave is largely due to the release of PHP 5.3 and all the new languages features and structures that accompanied it.

The space is really heating up. Here’s what’s happening…

Zend Framework just announced a fork for ZF 2.0 strictly 5.3 and above.

The former lead developer of Cake PHP has started a new framework for 5.3 and above called Lithium.

Doctrine 2.0 is in the works and is 5.3+. It is a significant upgrade from the 1.0 branch and takes advantage of the features provided in PHP 5.3.

Zoop Framework has a stable but not feature complete 2.0 branch which is 5.3 and above.

Symfony just announced their 2.0 alpha release which you guessed it, only runs on 5.3 and above.

Fat-Free Framework is a brand new framework which, as the name indicates, is very VERY light. It is further along in development than all the other frameworks listed (read stable), but also far less ambitious in scope. If you are developing a small application FFF would be a solid choice, though I have doubts that without a lot of external development it would make sense for a large application.

While all these frameworks/libraries are rather early in their development process, many are quite usable and show really smart design. It’s great that the community has embraced this and is willing to re-engineer existing solutions to utilize the benefits of PHP 5.3.