PHP is surrounded by haters and admirers all over the world. But if you hit the search button for PHP in 2019, you will see that there is a war between the two parties in full swing, and the language is being bitterly criticized. Is it a reasonable disapproval, hype, or just plain softism — discrimination against other programming languages? What we were trying to do in this article is not to prove that PHP is a terrible language or debunk this deep-seated belief, but reveal the truth about what is the current state of PHP in the software development market.
- What is PHP?
- Where is PHP used?
- Why do people still need PHP?
- What about PHP speed?
- What’s going on in the PHP community?
- What are the most popular PHP frameworks?
- Why all the hate for PHP?
- Wrapping Up
What is PHP?
To sum up everything you’ll find on the internet about PHP, the abbreviation used to stand for Personal Home Pages, but now it means Hypertext Preprocessor. It was designed in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf for his own purposes, like finding the most convenient ways to build a web application by making things faster on the back-end. But shortly after its creation, the language was adopted and modified by other programmers.
PHP is an open-source server-side scripting language that is mostly used for web development but can also be applied to other domains like, for instance, console development. The process behind PHP is quite simple — you can embed it into HTML, and it will be executed every time a user visits your page. The PHP code is interpreted on a web server and then shows the needed HTML or any other output to the page visitor.
Where is PHP used?
A lot of industries find a way to use PHP — esports, entertainment, e-commerce, retail. Many hosting companies like Dailymotion rely heavily on this programming language. It can also be utilized for various projects like social media platforms, marketplaces, email marketing platforms, personal, and commercial websites. PHP is quite good for the latter as it allows you to design a fully customizable website with real-time information to suit any business need.
Why do people still need PHP?
Let’s answer the question right now — yes, they still do. First of all, there are many websites and content management systems written in PHP: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal are all PHP-based CMS tools. Moreover, according to the information on the official WordPress website, this content management tool powers more than 34% of various online sources — from personal blogs to elaborate websites on the Internet. To create new appealing projects, one needs to have some knowledge of PHP.
Besides, a lot of existing projects that are based on PHP still require ongoing maintenance and many people are not ready to change the way they deal with support.
Secondly, many other high-load sites are written in PHP. For instance, Facebook was initially powered by this programming language, and still, this social media platform has a significant chunk of PHP code. MailChimp, Canva, iStockPhoto, Wikipedia, Yahoo! are just a few names that are among PHP adopters. However, due to its functionality, PHP is an excellent match for SME businesses, and here is why:
- Short learning curve and a PHP programmer does not require to have some extra skills in programming
- A vast pool of PHP developers to choose from
- Speed, agility, and security
- Huge PHP community
According to a report provided by Enlyft — a US marketing & advertising company — there are 3,909,573 companies that use PHP, and the average company that uses the language looks as follows:
- The language is used mostly by small companies with a workforce of 10-50 employees
- Such companies have 1-10 million dollars in revenue
- The USA, the UK, and Germany are among the leaders in PHP adoption
What about PHP security and speed?
Many developers state that PHP is quite slow. It might have been true at the very beginning, but the language has become more comfortable to use over the years, and now it is much faster than it used to be. Also, PHP contributors introduced new functionality that significantly improved the language’s performance, like data types, for instance, which help the compiler to understand what type of data is going to be used in the code.
What’s going on in the PHP community?
Many see the PHP community as its only virtue. If it were true that it was the only positive thing about the language, it would be still quite a valid point. But you can find many drawbacks within the very community as there is quite a lot of friction between PHP developers. This might be quite a valid reason behind the distaste for PHP — many PHP developers do not follow conventional standards and create a really ugly code, which other developers literally have to decipher.
What are the most popular PHP frameworks?
PHP can boast a lot of having a number of popular and widely-used frameworks such as Laravel, Symfony, Yii, which is highly popular in former CIS regions but is oblivious to other countries. We are going to highlight some points about the two most popular PHP frameworks: Laravel and Symfony. Let’s have a closer look at them.
Laravel is obviously a leader among all the existing PHP framework, which is partially based on Symfony and has the Yii data-method approach. The framework has a huge base that heavily contributes to the Laravel documentation so that you won’t experience any trouble finding the right information. If you are a newbie PHP developer, it is recommended for you to start using Laravel as it is quite easy-to-master and convenient to use.
Symfony is the second most widespread PHP framework. It is also quite easy to use, but it is more challenging to learn that Laravel because you have to know all the nitty-gritty details of PHP.
The framework does not have such a wide variety of documentation as Laravel does, but still, you can find whatever you need on the topic which is relevant to you.
Why all the hate for PHP?
As we can see from the information stated above, the current state of PHP is far from being bad. So why is there so much criticism around PHP? e. The answers might be quite a lot under the sun, and they all might be true:
- The bad old days of PHP. It might have been not that fast, agile, and performative in the past, but currently, everything is far from the truth. It is a perfect solution for small and medium companies as it is quite fast, secure, and you can find a suitable and skilled PHP developer quite promptly.
- Frictions in the PHP community. Some developers might give PHP a bad name because of the way many programmers run projects without proper use of code standards.
These are the main reasons behind the negative hype over PHP, which is quite unjust.
Despite all the negative controversy over PHP, as you have seen which are mostly wrong, there is no denying that the language is easy, fast, secure. Furthermore, it has a short learning curve and a big community even if there’s quite a lot of misunderstandings among PHP developers. It is a perfect technology for small- and medium-sized businesses. PHP also has wide-spread frameworks, the most popular of which are Laravel and Symfony.
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