As of today, there is a lot of debate going on about whether it is advisable to use PHP to develop IT products and services. All over the Internet, one may find lots of emotional publications by (mostly) developers describing the deadly flaws of PHP and its frameworks. No wonder that business owners and IT managers are beginning to have their doubts. Let’s check Quora and see:
So the question is: should business owners use PHP for their projects or it is better to choose something else? And…if it’s that bad why on Earth this programming language has been chosen by companies like Slack, Spotify or BlaBlaCar? Or what about the global leader in terms of CMS platforms – WordPress – which accounts for 33% of the overall number of sites on the Internet? Here’s the chart illustrating the use of PHP for websites:
And in terms of PHP versions:
Well, firstly, due to the fact that PHP is the brainchild of open source, it can boast of a large community that contributes to its development. Therefore, with each version, both the language and its frameworks are really getting better. This situation creates a good base for other benefits that make PHP popular when developing business solutions. From websites to large marketplaces, from newly-minted startups to solid business players, this language is chosen for a number of practical reasons.
The most attractive feature of PHP for both developers and managers is open access. There’s no need to pay for a license. In addition to money saving, there’s a large and developed PHP community, which continually improves and complements the functionality. Hundreds of ready-made PHP solutions have already proven their viability. Just take it and use it – don’t reinvent the wheel.
However, this main advantage of PHP is its main threat (if I may put it this way) at the same time. Its ease and accessibility significantly reduce the threshold of entry into the profession, and this inevitably leads to a decrease in quality. Therefore, the choice of a professional team of PHP developers is simply critical.
PHP is a partially object-oriented language. Thus, it is possible to reuse the code, which saves time and effort during the development process. There are many PHP frameworks to choose from: Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel, Joomla, WordPress, etc.
Each of them has its own functionality for specific tasks. PHP was originally optimized for the creation of fast web applications. It has built-in functions such as using GET and POST requests, working with HTML and URLs. For business, this means that the time for development is reduced, and investments begin to pay off more quickly.
In terms of return on investment, it is more profitable for companies when development takes place in several iterations. This model allows running different software modules one by one, making the necessary corrections as you go. PHP makes possible to create and maintain scalable IT projects and continuously generate any number of pages with any settings.
The PHP code is transparent and well documented. So, it takes less time to figure out what is going – if it is properly written, of course. So you can safely implement iterative development with minimal risk of delay if you suddenly have to change an engineer or even an entire team.
The significant advantage of PHP is its flexibility and versatility. It is compatible with all major platforms: from Windows, Unix and Linux to MacOS; supports most servers (including Apache, Microsoft IIS, Netscape, iPlanet, Caudium, Xitami and Tornado) and more than 20 databases (among them MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, etc.). Therefore, PHP is often chosen for creating cross-platform applications which allow businesses to maximize existing infrastructure with the lowest possible cost.
The versatility of PHP makes it popular with hosting providers. Any reliable provider supports PHP and provides hosting services for PHP-based websites. As a rule, hosting packages provide PHP support at no extra charge — including either free or low-cost plans with an unlimited volume and a free domain name.
Fast loading is extremely important for retaining customers. According to the stats by Unbounce, “a 100-millisecond delay in load time can cause conversion rates to drop by 7%”. The speed of loading sites on PHP is high due to proper customization and integration with various content management systems.
PHP was originally designed to develop dynamic web pages, so its scripts do this task better than other programming languages. Its code is easily embedded in HTML, which makes it convenient to convert static pages to dynamic ones. In fact, this is the best language for creating full-fledged sites based on the HTML standard. PHP provides a default 1-1 correspondence between URLs and files, allowing designers, programmers, and other team members to edit and create web pages. This is especially useful in the case of large sites, mainly with static content, multiple pages and various templates.
Thanks to good readability, changing and modifying PHP code is easy. As a result, there are far fewer problems with support and updates. PHP projects easily and quickly adapt to new applications that appear on the market, as well as new business requirements. And thanks to the contribution of the open community, the new functionality that meets the emerging needs of the business, appears regularly and does not cost anything. Since the code is easy to understand, the support for PHP services can be carried out by any team – not necessarily the one that has created the project.
Despite some criticism, there’s been some the growth in popularity of PHP and its frameworks in recent years, and this trend continues. Let’s check the chart from GitHub report. It shows how many developers are using a particular developing language:
In a nutshell, the main business advantages of PHP are:
Alone or, more often, in combination with other technologies, PHP is suitable for creating IT projects of any type: from simple websites to CRM solutions and large marketplaces.
Now let’s return to the question in the headline: is it advisable to use PHP for developing IT solutions in 2019? The answer is a resounding “yes”. However, it is necessary to realize that the popularity of PHP is ambivalent since its ease of use attracts low-qualified developers. Therefore, the choice of the team is a crucial factor when dealing with PHP.