IS IT OVER FOR PHP?

A bit about premature conclusions

Since it's inception way back in 1994, PHP had a healthy run as one of the most popular programming languages worldwide. This prosperous longevity brought along a bunch of rumors on the wellbeing of the platform. Some say it's still in it's prime, others mourn its former glories. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

As of the first half of 2019, 75 % of websites are built using PHP, or some incarnation of it. Isn't that a substantial figure to call the time of death? Even if considered, that 34 % of websites are powered by WordPress (an offspring of PHP), and another couple of percent belongs to the Drupal, Joomla and Magneto each, it is still quite telling. The numbers don’t lie, you know.

Given that every website built on PHP requires further maintenance and improvement, it means more jobs on the PHP slice of the market. More websites equals more work. More work equals more PHP expertise. And the river keeps on rolling.

PHP is easy to use. Almost too easy. It doesn’t take much time to master and a great deal of prior knowledge to get started on. Most of the developers had either started on PHP or used it at a certain point. And that’s where the problems arise.

It is not hard to trace where the "PHP is dead" rumor stems from. Being around for so long, it became cloaked with obsolete elements and coding tools. Which, combined with the simplicity of the language, gives enough rope for bad coding from inexperienced programmers. 

The search for a solution led to the release of Symfony, a free open source web framework, flesh and blood PHP. Bringing along more speed, better error handling, and improved memory usage, it allows newer websites to load faster than before. Another popular framework Laravel came to life in 2011, and still is extremely popular. Finally, in 2015 PHP7 has seen it’s release. 

Unlike other programming languages, PHP does not emphasize on code readability and maintainability. The PHP frameworks simplify web application development and maintenance by supporting model-view-controller (MVC) architecture. Developers can take advantage of MVC architecture to divide a web application into models, views, and controllers. They can use an MVC framework for PHP to keep the application’s user interface and business logic layers separated.

In addition to promoting rapid web application development, the PHP frameworks even simplify web application development by providing a basic structure. The features and tools provided by these web frameworks even enable development to add functionality to the web application and perform common web development tasks without writing lengthy and complex code.

Web developers even have the option to choose from a wide range of PHP frameworks. Most of these frameworks are open source and can be used without paying any licensing fees. Some of these PHP frameworks are full-stack web frameworks, whereas others are microframeworks.

So, what would the conclusion be? It is not that obvious. On one hand, PHP is still the best career option for a starting programmer with countless job opportunities. On the other, it's a pretty old language, that needs recurrent updating to stay afloat. Let’s put it this way if you want to build a website from scratch – PHP is your best deal.

Well, the rumors can rest. For now at least.