I have to admit I change my mind a lot. I started out rolling my own sites in PHP and MySql. Then I spent a lot of time with Wordpress and various Ecommerce platforms. For a while it seemed quicker to do things that way. A when sites became a little more complex, I started using Drupal, which this site runs on. And now I'm using frameworks. I spent a little time with Lithium, a lot of time with Zend because my job required it and then I found Phalcon. Although I hate the bulkiness of the Zend framework, it is the time I spent developing in it that I learned the value of using a framework for PHP.
Some type of websites fit easily into Wordpress's structure and some require a little more finessing with plugins to get things to happen the way you want them to. Drupal allows for a little more complexity with less modules. But in developing custom applications that don't really fit the "website" definition, true applications that do work, both Wordpress and Drupal add a lot of overhead. No matter how slow Zend was, chances are that Wordpress and Drupal were slower. Which brings me again to Phalcon.
I do really swear by rolling your own application when you have the time instead of using a CMS. But sometimes you really just want to get down to work on what your application will do. No need to reinvent the wheel. Things like routing, MVC patterns and authentication methods have been written and stand the test of time. You might as well reuse those and get down to the real work of your application.
The Phalcon Framework adds another advantage. It is written in C. So not only are you saving some time writing code, you may boost the performance of your application at the same time. In fact, I bet you will. So I decided to give Phalcon a try. I had a few ideas for applications and wanted to see how fast I could write them in Phalcon. Long story short, I like Phalcon. Here are some of the open source projects I have used Phalcon in
And I ended up writing a book on the Phalcon Framework for Packt Publishing. It's a short one, about 140 pages, but I tried to hit most of the features in the Phalcon framework while developing a simple blog. A blog is a boring application to build especially when there are things like Wordpress and Blogger out there. Why roll your own blog in a book? I figured a blog is one of the most well know web application's out there, with features that people are used to. And surprisingly, I could cover most of what Phalcon could do in a blog. Phalcon is not a huge, bloated framework. It does what it needs to do well and fast. You can use other PHP libraries if you want extra functionality.
Anyway you can find Getting Started with Phalcon here.