I've been helping a close friend with her website, which is written in rails. She admits that's a mistake, now, because it shares database tables with a PHP application, and the communication between the two has always less than stellar. I've been looking into her current major problem, but while I've been at it, I've been looking for easy solutions to put her back on an all-PHP track. (This seems to be the right thing to do; PHP is the only language she knows well, and the PHP component is the only thing that works reliably.)
I looked at Symfony as an easy PHP-based route off the rails. It's not bad, but getting it to run on my box was a nightmare. Undocumented are the number of things with which PHP must be configured to get Symfony running. For the record, to get the sandbox application to run, you need not just the stock PHP, but PHP with PDO, SimpleXML, and SQLLite. None of those are stock on Gentoo (and apparently not on Ubuntu, either). Once I had rebuilt PHP (3 times!), it was all working.
But now it's up and I can play with it. Oh, and I got Drupal running, but I had to use my production box to make it so. Annoying, that.