We are about to start a big new project, and it's time to look after the best MVC PHP framework currently available on the market. We don't only need a strong and stable framework, but also a framework that do have a future.
What is, today, the best framework available ? Zend ? CakePHP ? Code Igniter ? Which one do you use and why do you think this is the best ?
Is it better to use an existing framework or to develop our own ?
First: I've never used Cake or CI, and I've just started using Zend, so I don't have much experience with any of them. But I saw a speed benchmark somewhere that showed that CI was much faster than Zend, with Cake finishing last. (Plain old procedural code outblasted all frameworks...)
Zend seems to have the largest number of plugin type classes, such as things to connect to Google or Amazon APIs. One thing missing in CI is a form builder, so if building forms matters to your project, you may want to pick a different framework.
Zend requires PHP 5, the others also run on PHP 4. That may imply that Cake and CI don't take advantage of the new features of PHP 5 or spend a lot of energy on backporting. IMHO it's a bit silly to still support PHP 4 by now.
As for the future: Zend and CI are built by companies, whereas Cake is a community project. That seems to result in Cake releasing new minor versions every week or so, where the others only release major new versions once in a while. Difficult to predict who will live longer, company or community project.