I think this is a very challenging topic in the regards that it’s hard to compare things that were designed and operated in different eras. Putting aside the frameworks for a sec, lets think of it in terms of say vehicles.
How can you compare a vehicle that’s released say a year ago, to one that was released 5 years ago? The features would be different and the newer car would most certainly have everything that the older one did and more. This makes the newer car the improved one but not necessarily the better one.
Now you could compare how well the cars sold within the first x months or w/e and that’s a good way to determine popularity however different cars have different purposes and as such, at different times different ones will be more popular. 20 years ago, trucks, sports cars, all those fancy purpose cars were what people bought. 10 years ago, more and more people went with vans and cars for storage and passengers and economy. Now you see a lot of people going for fuel efficiency, so when demands change, obviously what becomes popular will also change.
Now going back to frameworks, to compare how Yii holds up with other frameworks is hard to say, especially with communities because they’ve had x amount of years to build theirs and we’re still building ours. But if you were to take a look at how well documentation, how well code structures were and how well the features applied to the demand within the first year of their running and compared it to Yii well now you have something a little more valid to compare. It’s still not perfect because a lot of things were perfected in between the time that they ran and Yii started. But those little ways of comparing are how you’ll get accurate results.
If you look to compare final products as Qiang said, then you’ll see Yii is on top because as a whole, it is a very effective and useful framework, among the best if not the best.
When I see these sorts of topics, I remember that everything is just someones opinion and personal choice. I mean when I checked into Yii what settled the score was it’s goals and implementation of security. I’m a student in a network security program (computer hacker sort of deal) so that information appealed to me and not just that it was something I was looking for in my coding practises. So you have to remember that whole key on demand, different frameworks are good for different purposes that’s why there are so many. Yii has a lot more to it than security, but when compared to the rest it stood out.
And that’s how you have to evaluate the frameworks, what they offer, and how they stand out compared to that.