Ease of use, open source, and flexibility makes PHP an indispensable programming language for developing dynamic websites. Its immense benefits have made it a considerable choice for diverse projects and PHP powers millions of websites around the world and countless web applications.
In fact, according to W3Techs, a mere four years ago, PHP was powering about 78% of all websites! It still powers 71% of the websites, claims W3Tech.
But why use PHP & why does this programming language still matter so much!
To analyze this, you must first understand: “What does a company look through while choosing a programming language?”
Many businesses today look at various factors when choosing a programming language for a project. Although time and budget are critical, other considerations should be noted when analyzing why to use PHP?
Any technology firm looking to hire programmers for your project will naturally choose one according to their criteria. If you want your application built by some of the best programming firms, you should know what they look at while hiring PHP developers.
Here are some of the crucial aspects to look for while choosing a programming language:
- Ease of Use
- Open source making it affordable
- Whether it’s Versatile & Flexible
- Speed performance
- Scalability offered
- Libraries, frameworks, & community support
- Compatibility with emerging technologies AI, BigData, etc. &
Let’s analyze how PHP performs under these criteria:
#1: Ease of Use
Some of the elements that make it easy to use are the availability of a wide range of built-in functions and the following:
- It is a dynamically typed language.
- It is case-sensitive.
- Its syntax is much similar to the C language.
- The cross-platform nature makes it easy for developers.
- Integrable with other languages like C, C++, Java, etc.
- It has a wide range of built-in functions that make development easier.
- Supports all notable servers like Apache, Microsoft IIS, etc.
#2: Open Source Makes it Affordable for Developers & Enterprises
PHP is a notable open-source, server-side scripting language that is especially suited for web development. The acronym stands for Hypertext Preprocessor because it evolved into a powerful platform used to develop dynamic and interactive websites.
The fact that it is open-source ensures it’s easy to customize. These features make PHP a favorite among developers. In short, it’s free and open-source software which means that anyone can learn, modify or redistribute without any cost.
#3: PHP is Versatile & Flexible
Rasmus Lerdorf built PHP to be both versatile and flexible. Programmers worldwide use PHP-based solutions like WordPress, Wikipedia, etc., because it’s easy to use. And because it runs on a web server, your code is stored on a computer instead of on your personal computer.
So, web programmers can make edits from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Using PHP also makes it possible for developers to write code that works with MySQL databases.
Overall, developers can create any type of project using this programming language. PHP is a good choice for many projects, whether looking for eCommerce, CMS, or mobile solutions. Since it’s such a popular language, plenty of resources are available to help you learn how to use it and build your projects with it.
The cross-platform support combined with smooth integration with other programming languages makes it one of the most advanced languages available. It’s also one of the most secure, fastest, and most popular programming languages used in large-scale websites such as Facebook and Yahoo.
#4: Speed performance Offered by PHP Language
The speed at which a software program runs can be crucial for many companies. In terms of performance, PHP is one of the very few languages that can outperform traditional server-side programming languages such as C or Java.
The processing power offered by a single thread in PHP is comparable to that provided by a web server’s operating system environment. This feature helps improve your site’s response time and lets you build faster, more dynamic, and responsive applications without worrying about slowdowns or delays.
Programmers cannot deny that PHP fails to compete with languages such as Java and C++ in processing power. However, it still offers more than many other server-side programming languages.
Hiring PHP developers who know how to cope with these aspects of the programming language. For example, the following activities can help reach high-speed performance:
- Stick to Native PHP Functions
- Using OPCache on PHP Server
- Minify Caching
- Constantly Update to the Latest PHP Version
- Inspecting performance bottlenecks
- Code optimization
#5: Does PHP Offer Scalable Solutions?
PHP is so critical for web development because you can use it to handle massive amounts of traffic and data. Facebook, which still uses PHP, hits billions of users in a single day – something that isn’t possible with Perl or Ruby alone. Using frameworks like Symfony, Codeigniter, Zend, and CakePHP can assure you of scalable solutions.
What makes PHP solutions scalable is their MVC (Model View Controller) architecture. It allows the programming team to distinct code into three parts: models, views, and controllers. This way, your website will be easily maintainable and can handle many users.
The MVC architecture is not just used for scalability – it also allows you to reuse code in a modular fashion. For example, for adding a new feature to your website, developers can use one of its existing features as a base and then modify it slightly.
#6: Libraries, Frameworks, & Community Support
When you develop in PHP, you have tons of libraries, frameworks, and even a vibrant community to help you learn more. If you’re starting with web development in general, it can be hard to navigate so many tools and resources—but if you choose to work with PHP as your tool of choice, there’s help around every corner.
Whether it’s OpenSSL or PEAR, Composer or CodeIgniter, there are many resources to get started. A few notable PHP libraries are Symfony Console Component, Symfony Finder Component, Psr/log, Monolog, Guzzle, etc.
Coming to community support, you can count on an immeasurable number of developers and development companies that have contributed to making PHP a better programming language.
So, affordable PHP web development companies are the answer to why use PHP!
#7: Compatibility with Emerging Technologies AI, BigData, etc. &
Developers using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing tend to reach for other languages over their longtime favorites, such as Java and Python. But is it time for PHP to become more like those languages to stay relevant?
The answer is that PHP needs more power-packed libraries and frameworks to become a preferred choice in AI-based projects. However, thinking that PHP is unfit for AI-based projects is utterly wrong. The very existence of Facebook’s Parse platform built on top of PHP proves otherwise.
Also, there are several open-source libraries like PhalconPHP, which makes it easy to develop scalable web applications using Pythonic syntax together with all benefits of compiled languages such as C++ or Java.
The infographic below offers insights into the preferred data types used in AI-based projects.
With unstructured texts, images, videos, etc. playing a pivotal role, PHP is being used extensively in AI-based projects. Even Facebook’s open-source platform Torch has been built on top of PHP.
Also, companies like Microsoft and Amazon are using PHP for their cloud computing services, such as Azure and AWS, respectively.
Verdict: You Decide
There is no one size fits all solution as each language comes with its strengths and weaknesses. Why use PHP? Well, PHP will not be your first choice if you want to build a desktop application that can run on multiple operating systems without having to be rewritten in different programming languages.
But when it comes to building web applications, PHP is still an excellent choice thanks to its flexibility and ease of use. It’s also free to download, install and use, so you don’t have to worry about licensing costs or ongoing maintenance fees.
It depends entirely on the requirements.