What do PHP and Latin have in common? They are both dead languages – at least that’s what many web development experts will have you believe. The truth isn’t however quite so simple. Before exploring why PHP still has a place in the modern and fast-paced online world, it might be useful to explore some of the reasons why some people think PHP is dying, or worse, dead.
The Case against PHP
PHP as a server-side scripting language has reigned supreme since 1995. New programing languages including Lua, Python, MEAN Stack and Ruby have made a noisy entrance into the web arena and their benefits are difficult to ignore.
Aside from the competition, PHP isn’t without its faults and any serious web developer is able to recognize these shortcomings. Some of the limitations that PHP ‘haters’ love to lord over include;
- Security concerns since this is an open sourced program
- Often surprising implicit conversions due to relatively weak type
- Hard to run and maintain on large applications because of its modular-related limitations
The Statistics Tell a Different Story
The adage the devil is in the details holds up the case for PHP, and it is difficult to get more detailed than stats. Some of the notable ones include;
- PHP is the most popular server side language in 2016 (W3techs)
- Some of the most popular websites and CMS are built on PHP. These include Facebook, Wikipedia, Joomla, Drupal, Magneto and WordPress.
- PHP consistently ranks number one since 2015 as the fastest growing server-side programing language (W3Techs)
These are just some of the strong indicators that PHP is not dead, and neither is it dying. From these statistics alone, it is difficult to reach a conclusion that this programming language will be declared obsolete any time soon. In fact, the stats indicate the contrary.
There is more still to support PHP in 2017 and moving to the future. The fact remains that the scripting language is built on solid ground and it will take a lot more than flashy new languages to erode the impact that PHP has had on ecommerce and the internet in general.
Why PHP is Still a Valuable and Favored Programming Language
There are some great advantages to PHP that cannot be ignored and are the reasons why it is a preferred language for big name websites and CMS to date.
For one, PHP is very stable. Its maintenance is undertaken by a broad team of experts which means that bugs are detected and resolved quickly.
Secondly, this being an open source language means that there is a huge extension library and an abundance of support experts and technicians. Any issues can be addressed quickly and efficiently especially compared to some of the newer language that have a steep learning curve and a deficiency of experts and professionals.
The language is also fairly easy to use. Even with basic knowledge of C such as syntax, getting the reigns on website scripts is easy.
The time it takes to develop apps on PHP is dramatically reduced owing to the built-in database. This is especially useful since most websites are content and data driven. The database is easily accessible so web design if far easier than most other programming languages.
Finally, PHP runs on multiple platforms including Mac, Linux and Windows. This creates a large pool of hosting service providers and maintenance experts to choose from.
Current PHP Trends to Supercharge your Website
Now that the issue of whether or not PHP is still relevant has hopefully been laid to rest, it is useful to keep up with the current trends and apply them to your website. This strategy is especially useful to running a superior digital marketing campaign and benefits your overall web presence. Some of the trends you need to be aware of in 2017 going forward include;
Special Effects: Special effects are no longer the reserve of games and movies. Parallax scrolling that turns banners and images into 3D while scrolling is expected to be the norm in future. Getting on the special effects band wagon early on is definitely an effective way of getting ahead of the competition.
Emphasis on Presentation: Web developers who are focusing on engaging and professional images and typography are reaping the benefits of instantly captivating their audience. The average web surfer is spoiled for choice so any major difference in the layout of your website leaning towards easy browsing and captivating visuals is a definite plus.
Fixed Header Bar: The benefits of a fixed header bar are two fold. For one, it keeps your logo and brand in plain site at all times. This essentially makes your brand more memorable even on a subconscious level. Secondly, it saves your visitors time if they need to access other pages on the website. There is no longer need to scroll up to navigate to the desired page.
Anyone spreading the news that PHP is dead has a lot to learn still. The statistics and advantages of this scripting language make a strong case for it. As the above section demonstrates, PHP is not static. There are new developments hitting the market to maintain its position and improve the user experience among other benefits.
So what is the final verdict? If you are deciding on a scripting language for your website or CMS, you can hardly go wrong with PHP. The language, unlike Latin, is still alive and kicking and is not going anywhere any time soon.