When starting up a new web project, one of the first questions that come to mind is what programming language should be used. There are many aspects that are taken into consideration like speed, cost, security, performance, compatibility, and availability of resources. Keeping all these things in mind, PHP comes across as the most suitable language that helps consistently deliver the desired results.
PHP is a flexible, open-source dynamic server-side scripting language that does not only help develop web pages quickly but also supports a variety of programming techniques.
PHP was first released in 1995 and the long name is Personal Home Page. Later it was renamed to Hypertext Pre-Processor which is a recursive acronym for PHP. PHP 7 is the latest version released in December 2015. All the versions starting from PHP 1 can be downloaded from museum.php.net PHP has become so popular over the years that it was called Internet English by VentureBeat.
Popularity and high availability of resources
According to W3Tech, PHP is the most widely-used server-side programming language with 82.6% of web servers deploying it. Popular sites like Facebook, Wikipedia and Twitter are powered by PHP. It is fairly easy to learn and implement hence creating a larger pool of talent. It is easy to get a PHP programmer to develop or modify projects developed in PHP.
Less expensive and platform independent
Besides popularity and availability, one of the primary reasons to choose PHP is it’s cost. PHP is freely distributed under open-source license and is packaged with other free databases, web servers and operating systems. PHP can be run on all major operating systems like Unix, Linux, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. It has support for variety of web servers including IIS and Apache and can be integrated with major databases like Oracle, MySQL, SQLite etc.
PHP 7.0 version is twice as fast as it’s previous version 5.6. PHP is fast in development and execution. It improves development as well as execution speed with 100%+ performance gain on most real-world applications.
Flexibility and scalability
There are no hard and fast rules to build features in PHP as it is a dynamically typed language. Programmers are given more flexibility to solve problems using different methods. PHP code is scalable to an extent that new languages can be developed by extending it’s core features. Facebook’s HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) language called “Hack” is derived from PHP to meet the increasing needs of it’s giant content management is one such example.
PHP is the foundation for a number of content management systems which provide users with ready-made libraries, plugins, widgets and themes that reduces time and effort to develop smaller scale websites particularly blogs, galleries, rating websites, portfolios, shopping stores or any sites with dynamic content.
A decent CMS allows users or business owners to control and update their website by performing basic operations of adding, deleting and modifying content and media without completely relying on developers. Fastest growing content management system built on PHP are WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.
Frameworks offer ready-to-use libraries, components, modules, ensures separation of model view controller code (MVC architecture), provides security with built-in functions for encrypting and protection against vulnerabilities. Some of the most popular, actively maintained frameworks are Laravel, Symfony, Zend Framework, CodeIgniter, Yii Framework and CakePHP:
Huge Online Library and Documentation
PHP has a huge standard library with plethora of built-in classes and methods. It is backed by a huge community that provides help and assistance. Information is well documented and maintained online for developers. PHP has a wealth of learning resources in the form of tutorials and examples all over the web.
PHP has been there for quite a long time and has a vast growing community of developers and professionals supporting beginners and addressing problems faced by the web development community.
Support for PHP is widely available even outside of PHP’s own community pages. Other major community portals where PHP is popular include GitHub and StackOverflow:
GitHub – PHP is the fifth highest rated programming language on GitHub.
StackOverflow – PHP is the fifth most popular technology among developers according to stack overflow’s Developer Survey 2016
Desktop Application Development
PHP is best suited for web development. It is not the best language to create desktop applications with Graphical User Interface. PHP-GTK is designed specifically to address the needs of PHP desktop developers. PHP-GTK is an extension to PHP with advanced features that enables developers to write cross-platform applications.
Mobile Application Development
Google’s open-source Android mobile operating system allows developers to build Android applications in PHP. PHP is the preferred language of most of the android developers for backend development for its ease, speed, and simplicity. PHP’s Zend framework provides an end-to-end mobile application solution that helps create mobile applications faster, and deploy them on an elastic, fault tolerant cloud application platform. On the other hand, Apple’s iOS does not give flexibility of innovation for the developers.
PHP with it’s ever increasing technological sphere with new and updated frameworks, content management systems, and new releases has opened up a world of opportunities for job seekers, students, developers, and researchers.
PHP is going to be here for a long time to come. For the reasons listed above, it is clear that choosing PHP as the dynamic language for your website will help you reduce development cost and effort and greatly save your time.