November 26, 2019 at 8:30 am #81153ChinomnsoParticipant@chinomnso-ugwuanya
In my career as a software developer, I have seen memes and posts mocking PHP developers. The software development community often makes PHP appear to be a language from a prehistoric era that’s struggling to compete with modern languages, a language on the brink of extinction. Other languages have had their share of mockery. Java, for example, is seen by some as old and out of fashion.
PHP is open-source
PHP is open-source in the true sense of the term. It is absolutely free. This cuts down on costs for development. Hosting services for PHP are low in comparison with that of other technologies. And when you use PHP, you don’t have to pay for software licenses.
PHP has been around for long
PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, and version 1.0 was released in 1995. Therefore, it has robust documentation that fully explains every feature of the language, from basic to advanced. The userbase is also huge. Solutions to virtually every problem a programmer might encounter using the language overflow from blogs and forums. With PHP, you can hardly get stuck. The release of version 5 in July 2014 saw the inclusion of support for object-oriented programming, allowing PHP play in the same field with the “big boys”.
There are frameworks and libraries written in PHP for virtually every backend task. Laravel, CodeIgniter, Zend and Magento have full support for the MVC architectural pattern, and cover everything from regular websites to authentication, blogging, e-commerce and RESTful web services. Free and open-source classes have been written for developers to pick and use in their projects.
PHP’s performance is great
With the release of PHP 7, speed has been reported to more than double that of 5.6. With current workloads in mind, PHP 7 was built to support more concurrent users without the need for additional hardware. It goes without saying, therefore, that PHP 7 requires less system resources. Support for systems with 64-bit architecture has also been added. There are lots of features, including just-in-time compilation planned for PHP.
PHP is relatively easy to learn
The fact that a language has a mild learning curve should not be a reason to poke fun at developers who use the language. the problem is that because it’s somewhat easier to learn than other languages like Java and Go, rookie programmers can easily soup up code that would work, but is insecure.
Not all developers are like that. there are senior developers who understand software engineering and programming to the very core. These developers can build scalable and secure software that have been used for robust systems that handle millions of hits on a daily basis.
PHP is secure
Each language has its own vulnerabilities. For many languages, they are as secure as the expertise of the developers using them. The release of PHP 7 has seen the language receive security patches. PHP now has cryptographically secure random number generator functions and a filtered unserialized function. According to php.net, this function “seeks to provide better security when unserializing objects on untrusted data. It prevents possible code injections by enabling the developer to whitelist classes that can be unserialized.” You can go ahead and use PHP without fears about security. If PHP were really insecure, it won’t be used by whitehouse.gov – a site that needs all the security it can get for obvious reasons.
Big companies use PHP
Big companies influence the technology world. Some of them have sentimental attachments to the technologies they’ve chosen and find it hard or expensive to switch. When companies have invested huge amounts of money in server infrastructure, software and training staff. Note the statistics presented in this section and see how viable PHP is. The statistics in this section are from 2017. Apart from sentimental attachment or anything along that line, PHP is serving the big companies and delivering intended results. Therefore, there is no point reinventing the wheel.
Foremost among these is Facebook. With 2.4 billion monthly active users and 1.6 billion daily users, Facebook leverages on the Hip-Hop Virtual Machine (HHVM) to deliver content to such a huge user base.
Tumblr, a PHP-based social networking and microblogging website boasts over 400 million monthly visitors and has over 320 million blogs. After upgrading to PHP7, it was reported that their developers noticed a 50% drop in CPU loads on their servers.
Etsy is an online marketplace for vintage and handmade goods. With over 29 million items on the marketplace, 54 million registered users, 1.4 million active sellers and 19.8 million active sellers, their upgrade to PHP7 gave them remarkable results in terms of CPU usage, page speeds and a drop in hosting servers.
Perhaps most significant of those reaping the benefits of PHP7 is Badoo. A dating social network operating in 180 countries, they boast a user base of over 300 million. After migrating to PHP7, they reaped huge gains as they were able to free up about 300 servers. That translated to $100,000 a year in hosting costs. And their overall response time saw a 40% boost.
WordPress is built on PHP
The vast majority of content management systems are built on PHP. Scripts and content management systems for virtually every type of website abound – WordPress (the possibilities are endless), Moodle (e-learning), Open Cart (e-commerce) – the list goes on.
WordPress, according to kinsta.com accounts for 61.8% of the CMS market share. This represents 34% of the web. It’s interesting to note that this growth has been steady and fast. As of early 2017, WordPress powered 27.3% of all websites. But now (November 2019), we’re talking 34%. This represents 6.3% of the web and approximately 23% growth.
WordPress powers almost everything – from high-traffic blogs and forums to e-commerce stores, business listing, government sites and even mobile applications. Yes, even some CNN and Yahoo blogs use CNN.
Because of its popularity and architecture, WordPress has created a whole new sub-industry for PHP developers. Themes, extensions and plugins have to be built. These must be built by developers. There is a huge marketplace around WordPress which is ever-growing and shows no signs of slowing down. For the sake of making my point clear (if it’s not yet clear), and to throw in a bit of sarcasm, and to troll those trolling PHP and its developers, let me state again that WordPress is built on PHP. It is not built on Node, or ASP.NET, or Python, or Java. It is built on PHP.
With the diverse applications of WordPress, and how easy it is to use, it becomes one of the major determining factors of the longevity of PHP. Here’s something about WordPress: it’s super easy to set up WordPress, even without knowing how to write a single line of HTML. Therefore, many WordPress users are not techies. Developers have to keep writing complex code that translates into elegant, functional, yet easy-to-use solutions for non-techies who rely on WordPress for their online presence.
Some developers have even taken WordPress to another level by using it as a web application development framework, although it is not built using the MVC pattern. It may be safe to say that as long as WordPress is around, PHP would remain a strong contender in the backend development market.
For its simplicity, efficiency, popularity, support, security and much more, it is obvious that WordPress will be with us for a long time. Feel free to learn it if you’re looking for a backend programming language to learn.
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