I've been coding in PHP for a few years, but I've never been exposed to any of the PHP frameworks. I've been curious about Code Igniter and Symfony for a while, but I haven't had time to play with either of them. Until now.
I decided to pick up Symfony first. One of the biggest reasons is that Netbeans has a Symfony plugin to help ease development. Secondly, there is an on-line (and print) book that walks a new user through developing a full application. Symfony has some pretty cool things, like the ability to use different ORMs, an MVC design pattern, and different environments. The different environments feature is really neat -- if I'm developing an application, I can enter the development environment by calling my app through a different URL. This different URL will still call my app, but it will also enable logging, disable caching, show me all exceptions, etc, etc. If I want to see how it acts in production, I can simply call the same app through a different URL. Pretty cool!
There have been a few different apps that I've wanted to write for a while. I'm not too far into the Symfony documentation, but I'm starting to think that developing some of these apps would be a good exercise. I'd talk more about my ideas, but I want to be able to flesh them out before they get stolen :p.