Over a million developers have joined DZone.

PHP Template Engine Comparison, Part 1

· Web Dev Zone
I’m going to face a project using a template engine with PHP. Because of that I will perform a small benchmark test of several PHP template engines. That’s not an exhaustive performance test. It’s only my personal test. Template engines have a lot of features but I normally only use a few of them and the other features very seldom. In this performance test I will check the same features under different template engines to see the syntax differences and the performance. The template engines selected for the test are Smarty, Twig and Haanga. Let’s start:

Smarty. v3.0.6
It’s probably the most famous template engine. It’s a mature project. For years it was “the” template engine and the others were the “alternatives”. It was famous because of the speed.

Twig. v1.0.0-RC1-8
It’s a new template engine developed by Fabien Potencier, the creator of the symfony framework. One of the PHP’s rock stars nowadays. It’s going to be an important part of the new symfony 2.0 framework. Twig borrows the template syntax from Django (probably the main web framework if we work with Python)

Haanga. v1.0.4-14
It’s another new template engine using the Django style. It was developed for Menéame by César Rodas.

I’ve decided to create two tests. One with a simple template and another using template Inheritance. The both cases renders one html page using one variable, filters and for loop to create an HTML table. Basically I’ve created those test because they’re the things I normally use. I will run the test with an HTML table of 50 rows and 1000 rows.

Simple template

Smarty

{* Smarty. indexFull.tpl*}
<html>
    <head>
        <title>{$title}</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h2>An example with {$title|capitalize}</h2>
        <b>Table with {$number|escape} rows</b>
        <table>
{foreach $table as $row}
            <tr bgcolor="{cycle values="#aaaaaa,#ffffff"}">
                <td>{$row.id}</td>
                <td>{$row.name}</td>
            </tr>
{foreachelse}
            <tr><td>No items were found</td></tr>
{/foreach}
        </table>
    </body>
</html>

And the PHP code:


// index.php
$time = microtime(TRUE);
$mem = memory_get_usage();

define('BASE_DIR', dirname(__file__));
require(BASE_DIR . '/include/smarty/Smarty.class.php');

$smarty = new Smarty();

$smarty->setTemplateDir(BASE_DIR . '/smarty/templates');
$smarty->setCompileDir(BASE_DIR . '/smarty/templates_c');
$smarty->setCacheDir(BASE_DIR . '/smarty/cache');
$smarty->setConfigDir(BASE_DIR .'/smarty/configs');

$smarty->assign('title', "smarty");

$rows = 1000;
$data = array();
for ($i=0; $i<$rows; $i++ ) {
    $data[] = array('id' => $i, 'name' => "name {$i}");
}
$smarty->assign('table', $data);
$smarty->assign('number', $rows);
$smarty->display('indexFull.tpl');

print_r(array('memory' => (memory_get_usage() - $mem) / (1024 * 1024), 'seconds' => microtime(TRUE) - $time));

Twig

{#  Twig. indexFull.html #}
<html>
    <head>
        <title>{{ title }}</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h2>An example with {{ title|title }}</h2>
        <b>Table with {{ number|escape}} rows</b>
        <table>
            {% for row in table %}
            <tr bgcolor="{{ cycle(['#aaaaaa', '#ffffff'], row.id) }}">
                <td>{{ row.id }}</td>
                <td>{{ row.name }}</td>
            </tr>
            {% endfor %}
        </table>
    </body>
</html>
And the PHP code:
// index.php
$time = microtime(TRUE);
$mem = memory_get_usage();

define('BASE_DIR', dirname(__file__));
require_once BASE_DIR . '/include/Twig/Autoloader.php';
Twig_Autoloader::register();

$loader = new Twig_Loader_Filesystem(BASE_DIR . '/twig/templates');
$twig = new Twig_Environment($loader, array(
            'cache' => BASE_DIR . '/twig/compiled',
            'auto_reload' => true
        ));
$template = $twig->loadTemplate('indexFull.html');

$rows = 1000;
$data = array();
for ($i = 0; $i < $rows; $i++) {
    $data[] = array('id' => $i, 'name' => "name {$i}");
}

$template->display(array(
    'number' => $rows,
    'title'  => 'twig',
    'table'  => $data
));

print_r(array('memory' => (memory_get_usage() - $mem) / (1024 * 1024), 'seconds' => microtime(TRUE) - $time));

Haanga

{#  Haanga. indexFull.html #}
<html>
    <head>
        <title>{{ title }}</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h2>An example with {{ title|title }}</h2>
        <b>Table with {{ number|escape}} rows</b>
        <table>
            {% for row in table %}
            <tr bgcolor="{% cycle '#aaaaaa' '#ffffff' %}">
                <td>{{ row.id }}</td>
                <td>{{ row.name }}</td>
            </tr>
            {% endfor %}
        </table>
    </body>
</html>

And the PHP code:

// index.php
$time = microtime(TRUE);
$mem = memory_get_usage();

define('BASE_DIR', dirname(__file__));
require(BASE_DIR . '/include/Haanga.php');

Haanga::configure(array(
    'template_dir' => BASE_DIR . '/haanga/templates',
    'cache_dir' => BASE_DIR . '/haanga/compiled',
));

$rows = 1000;
$data = array();
for ($i=0; $i<$rows; $i++ ) {
    $data[] = array('id' => $i, 'name' => "name {$i}");
}
Haanga::Load('indexFull.html', array(
    'number' => $rows,
    'title'  => 'haanga',
    'table'  => $data
    ));

print_r(array('memory' => (memory_get_usage() - $mem) / (1024 * 1024), 'seconds' => microtime(TRUE) - $time));

With template Inheritance

With this test I use the same php file, changing template name from indexFull to index.

Smarty


{* Smarty. index.tpl*}
{extends file="layout.tpl"}
{block name=table}
<table>
{foreach $table as $row}
    <tr bgcolor="{cycle values="#aaaaaa,#ffffff"}">
        <td>{$row.id}</td>
        <td>{$row.name}</td>
    </tr>
{foreachelse}
    <tr><td>No items were found</td></tr>
{/foreach}
</table>
{/block}

{* Smarty. layout.tpl*}
<html>
    <head>
        <title>{$title}</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h2>An example with {$title|capitalize}</h2>
        <b>Table with {$number|escape} rows</b>
        {block name=table}{/block}
    </body>
</html>

Twig

{#  Twig. index.html #}
{% extends "layout.html" %}
{% block table %}
<table>
    {% for row in table %}
    <tr bgcolor="{{ cycle(['#aaaaaa', '#ffffff'], row.id) }}">
        <td>{{ row.id }}</td>
        <td>{{ row.name }}</td>
    </tr>
    {% else %}
    <tr><td>No items were found</td></tr>
    {% endfor %}
</table>
{% endblock %}
{#  Twig. layout.html #}
<html>
    <head>
        <title>{{ title }}</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h2>An example with {{ title|title }}</h2>
        <b>Table with {{ number|escape}} rows</b>
        {% block table %}{% endblock %}
    </body>
</html>

Haanga

{% extends "layout.html" %}
{#  Haanga. index.html #}
{% block table %}
<table>
    {% for row in table %}
    <tr bgcolor="{% cycle '#aaaaaa' '#ffffff' %}">
        <td>{{ row.id }}</td>
        <td>{{ row.name }}</td>
    </tr>
    {% endfor %}
</table>
{% endblock %}
{#  Haanga. layout.html #}
<html>
    <head>
        <title>{{ title }}</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h2>An example with {{ title|title }}</h2>
        <b>Table with {{ number|escape}} rows</b>
        {% block table %}{% endblock %}
    </body>
</html>

Outcomes of the tests:

(50 rows) Smarty Twig Haanga
Simple template Memory: 0.684497
Time: 0.023710
Memory: 0.598434
Time: 0.025444
Memory: 0.124019
Time:  0.004004
Template Inheritance Memory: 0.685134
Time: 0.023761
Memory: 0.619461
Time: 0.028100
Memory: 0.133472
Time: 0.005005
(1000 rows) Smarty Twig Haanga
Simple template Memory: 1.222743
Time: 0.094762
Memory: 1.033226
Time: 0.196187
Memory: 0.558811
Time: 0.043151
Template Inheritance Memory: 1.194095
Time: 0.090528
Memory: 1.054237
Time: 0.191694
Memory: 0.646381
Time: 0.044402

Haanga really rocks in the test. It’s the fastest in all cases and it’s the best using memory. The main problem I’ve seen with Haanga is the lack of documentation. When I wanted to use the cycle filter (to create the zebra style in the HTML table) I didn’t find anything about it. I had to browse the source code and finally I found it in one tests. Whereas Smarty documentation is brilliant and Twig is good enough.

The HTML template syntax is almost the same with Twig and Haanga (in fact both of them are Django style). Smarty is a bit different but is very similar. The PHP part in Smarty looks like a bit old fashioned compared with Haanga and Twig, but it’s really easy to use.

The performance of Twig and Smarty are similar. Twig is slightly better. But with simple templates i’ts almost the same.

Topics:

Published at DZone with permission of Gonzalo Ayuso, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

The best of DZone straight to your inbox.

SEE AN EXAMPLE
Please provide a valid email address.

Thanks for subscribing!

Awesome! Check your inbox to verify your email so you can start receiving the latest in tech news and resources.
Subscribe

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}