For entrepreneurs, the current market is much more dynamic and unpredictable than just a few years ago. It can’t be denied that without the IT industry, many companies wouldn't even exist. What is more, many wouldn’t be able to conquer in such a large market. In the 21st century, even a small company has systems to manage customer relationships (CRM). Medium and large companies often have their own IT teams, available as part of the company's external services. Behind every such IT teams, or a company stands specific technology, containing programming languages.
Programming language is the most important element of any technology. There are currently several dozen languages that can affect your business. But only a few of them lead in day-to-day use. In my article, I'm going to show you why PHP should draw your attention and what you can gain by using it.
The main accusations against PHP are:
- It's slow - yes, if you equate it to Java or C #, I agree, but remember that it is a scripting language, it is not like Java which has own JIT (it allows this mechanism to significantly speed up the application), although PHP receives this option in 2020. However, looking at Ruby or Python, PHP is a much more efficient and stable language.
- Nobody uses PHP - 75% of applications in the Internet are written in PHP, more and more large-scale projects are created in this language. Facebook had originally been written in PHP. Also, many large start-ups use this language.
Stability is important
Very important factor that shows the value of a programming language is its stability. To determine this criterion, we can ask ourselves the following questions:
- Does the language have strong community support?
- Has the language been on the market for a long time (a minimum of 10 years)?
- Is its popularity at a stable level? Were there any major drops recently?
- Is the future of the language possible to determine for the next few years?
For each of these questions, if I think about PHP, my answer is yes. The language has been developing very dynamically for two years. Its security is at a level I haven't seen in many years. The main members of PHP core development don’t allow long support for a version, and in addition, moving to a higher one is not a big challenge. Thanks to this approach, technological debt is significantly being reduced here, and the possible language errors caused by language are negligible.
Looking at the history of PHP, just a few years ago there was a crisis, which quite strongly influenced the fact that many companies decided to choose another technology for implementation. Probably, if they found the language in this form as it is today, they wouldn’t hesitate too long in choosing one for their project.
It is worth mentioning that each version of the language introduces changes related to the way the code is written, in such a way that it is safer and enforces correct programming techniques. Currently, PHP is a language much more pleasant for a programmer and even better for business.
Language changes can be reported by any programmer in an open and PHP-friendly community of PHP developers. Each of them can give feedback on the changes, but voting on the changes themselves is already carried out by dozens of the most experienced people who have been supporting language development for many years. Due to this solution, we know what changes will occur in the upcoming months or years, and what this will mean for the language itself, the technologies associated with it, and for customers who based their business on this language.
For several years I have been following the rankings of programming languages in which PHP is at the forefront and, it doesn’t radically change its position. This means that its popularity among programmers and clients is at a stable level, it is safe for business and its development is not threatened.
In my opinion, the cost of creating a project using PHP will be still competitive in other languages for quite some time. It is influenced by many factors that increase the cost of working with other languages, such as:
- Using the language in industries that have very large budgets (for example, in fintech industries such as banks and insurance), JAVA and C # are most likely used. Often these projects last even over a dozen years, so their maintenance increases every year It is also difficult to find programmers who would like to work on such applications because they can’t develop their skills - it is a dead spot for them. The only possibility for such clients is to raise programmers' salaries as a motivating factor. It is also important to let customers get used to the above languages, which have been proven for so many years of use.
- Using a language for solutions that help in data analysis and security - I mean languages such as Python and R. Nowadays, these are the main languages that allow you to create analytical systems in a simple way (you do not have to be a programmer with years of experience to master these technologies and be fluent in using them). These languages are mainly used to predict possible results based on a data set and then to present them to clients. According to data, both institutions such as banks or marketing companies can better reach clients' needs and thus earn even more. Python's growing importance in creating artificial intelligence increases the programmer's value, and thus the cost of maintaining it. These solutions also allow us to improve network security more and more, what is becoming increasingly important in the current digital world.
- Using language to cloud solutions, i.e. to be used by DevOps to write scripts automating the operation of the architectural environment they are taking care of. Python and its simplicity also appear here.
- It is difficult to find programmers for a project when they abandon given language and there are no new ones who would like to work with it. An example of this could be the Ruby language.
These elements make the cost of a Python, Java or C# Developer even 3 times higher than the cost of a PHP Developer. I don't mean that PHP is better to use in ML (due to the lack of frameworks intended for it and bigger difficulty to learn the language) or in DevOps. It is also not as efficient as JAVA or C #, but you can write applications which creation will be much cheaper and they will work as stable as those written in other languages and meet the requirements of most businesses.
What is this PHP for?
If I wanted to determine the purpose of the PHP language, I would list three main applications:
- Creating browser solutions: Simple solutions - websites, Content Management Systems (CMS) Complex solutions - online stores (e-commerce), Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), intranet systems, dedicated internet systems (payment systems, invoice, storage, etc.)
- API creation
- Creating parsing scripts, I mean mainly scripts that download data from websites, files, and other sources, and then save to a specific format, for example, XLS, XML, CSV, etc.
Recently, the language is increasingly used for IoT solutions. Thanks to such asynchronous frameworks as Swoole and ReactPHP, it is possible to write very efficient solutions. More and more projects in this technology are being created, which can easily be an alternative to solutions in NodeJs.
The power of language often depends on frameworks that allow faster and safer application development. Two great frameworks like Laravel and Symfony allow you to write large, scalable solutions faster and cheaper than in other languages.
Let's summarize the main advantages of this language:
- PHP is one of the fastest scripting languages
- From programming languages, PHP develops the fastest and has an interesting future ahead of it
- While using appropriate frameworks, it can compete with, for example, NodeJs in terms of performance
- The cost of maintaining a development team is lower compared to other languages
- It’s very good to use for creating APIs and Web solutions
If your business wants to choose a programming language that will give it security and stability for many years, then PHP is a great choice. This language can be great for start-ups, and especially when creating MVP, when you don’t have full funding to implement your idea yet. It is also a solution that allows you to create both medium-sized applications and Enterprise projects.