I have always tried to get in the whole MVC shebang, but have not found a framework that appealed to me. Just a few years ago I was looking at micro-frameworks and found Lumen. It seemed powerful, yet easy to learn. Then I found out that Lumen is basically just stripped down Laravel, so I jumped on the opportunity and developed a first website in it.
Although, Laravel has steep learning curve, I like the concepts it uses. I know its based on Symphony framework, so I would probably like that one, too.
The few concepts I really enjoy working with:
- Collections (kind of like arrays, but a bit more clever)
- Eloquent ORM (nice talking to you, eh? Definitely pain in the ass sometimes, though, but there is always DB Facade or whereRaw)
- Service Providers (need to plug in some API or just create a common component, a service provider you make)
- Routing and Middleware (routing is so easy and I totally dig parametrization in clean URLs; moreover it takes few moments to make a custom authentication model via middleware)
Furthermore, the community is really strong and there are plenty of packages on Github just waiting to be plugged in.