I started work in PHP way back in 2003, incidentally my first dynamic website for my own purpose which was hosted at naresh.cjb.cc (now lost in space) was also developed using PHP, back then i could not afford my own hosting space and used a free host, this was right after just keeping a html  page as my home for 2 years (which was a copy of .mac feature tour website setup in 2001), it had no database (free host), i used flat files (ini) for posting data because the only thing that i could do was enable write permissions on one directory, ( I'll try to post this site at the last update in some place - if I get hold of the files), I then went into completely module development and php was only a fun thing till 2005, then I jumped into the contact center bandwagon and setup one in my own city, for outbound we used astguiclient along with asterisk, this worked great but looked bad (i mean really bad) , astguiclient used php , thus php become a primary only after development on this, I was able to collaborate with one more developer and one designer with in a month came up with a great looking version of the astguiclient and vicidial, too bad by then i was out of contact center to pursue better things, but this was made publicly available, then i got into professional php development, I developed numerous websites (and yet i don't have my own portfolio) , in all this time i had to write the same things again and again, some times i copied lot of code, but it could not always work, it always felt like re inventing the wheel, and i was afraid to try the new and shiny php frameworks because if things did not work out i would end up re doing the whole thing,  But as luck would have it i got a project for developing a website for school which was near my hometown , Jnanadeepa School (currently available at www.jdsj.org), I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try php framework and I did use one "CodeIgnitor", and i have to say frameworks are basic necessity, it saved my coding by at least 40% , and thought the framework was overkill for the jdsj website, i am sure that from now on what ever work i do will certainly be based on a php framework, i am not going to tell you which framework to use because this is your personal choice, but try one and I sure that you will ever go back, I am certainly going to point you to the page which compares all major frameworks (http://www.phpit.net/demo/framework%20comparison/chart.php), i have used cakephp, zend and codeignitor in different projects and  felt zend and codeignitor were great (cakephp is great - personally i did not feel "IT"), I saved lot of work. So hoping that you save your work time ..