What is the difference between a platform and a framework?

What is the difference between a platform and a framework?


A framework could be compared to a skeleton which needs to get some flesh attached to it. This programmatic flesh is usually provided by a specific application that links to and uses parts of the skeleton. So the actual work, ie. filling the holes and connecting the dots, is done by the application.

In programming, frameworks allow programmers to concentrate on the actual tasks they are faced with rather than to waste their time reinventing the wheel. Usually, frameworks are shipped with a set of predefined functions and classes. When using Spring (Java) or Symfony (PHP) for example, programmers do not need to think about things such as persistence, routing and session management too much because the work is done by standardized framework components.


A platform, on the other hand, provides both the hardware and the software tools needed to run an application – be it a standalone program or one which has been built on top of a framework. Mostly, it comes in the flavor of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), meaning that the code-basis of the platform software itself is not distributed or licensed. Rather, it is part of a hosted solution running in a cloud which can be accessed via APIs or GUIs.

Typically, platforms are built as scalable multi-tenancy systems, providing access to many users at the same time, thus using economies of scale to be able to offer services with an affordable price tag. Developers can then use platforms such as force.com or Google App Engine to build and run their own applications. In many cases, these applications are more light-weight than standalone programs because most of the business logic is contained in the platform.


What is the difference between a platform and a framework?

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