Don't comment with these things. What are the real plus points for PHP?

Continuing the discussion from PHP: a fractal of not so bad design:

We’ve covered all of Eevee’s “stance”. Now let’s move down into the other areas of the article.

Don’t comment with these things

Eevee goes on to mention the “counter arguments” for PHP, which he feels you shouldn’t use to argue about PHP. He even goes so far as to say, if you use them, that shows the state of PHP.

I ask. Are these really points anyone would actually bring up as counter-points to why PHP is unacceptable? If you got into a discussion about the pros and cons of PHP, what would you say (or have said) about its pros?


I personally haven’t gotten into such a discussion live and in person with anyone. But, I think I’d say this.

PHP has evolved. It is now going past what I call the “latest and greatest framework” era. We are on the crest of a new age, which I call the “Modular PHP” era. Basically, this means we will have a whole lot more code reuse, because we can put together libraries, which are framework agnostic. In other words, in a very short period of time, we can build our own “frameworks”, but only with the exact bells and whistles we really need. This offers a huge amount of flexibility.

A sign of this change is clearly the PHP Framework Interop Group and their standards. Actually, I wish they’d get rid of the “framework” in the name, but that would leave PHPIG and too many people would use it against them. LOL! :smile:

Sure, there are still some abstractions that cause lock-in in some of the libraries out there. But, the avoidance of lock-in to a particular framework seems to be the new goal of the “Modular PHP” era.

The fact PHP is going there is a new blue ocean of opportunity for PHP developers, because it means code can be better shared among all developers, not just those of a particular breed of framework.

I’ll admit, I am not very experienced in other languages. But, I don’t see the “framework agnostic” push anywhere else. Have you seen it in any other language? Can you see the same things happening in other languages? For instance, isn’t JS going through an earlier form of what PHP already went through? Is what I am saying actually a good argument for PHP in general? I think it is.


Hmm…are there no plus points to PHP?

Supports getting web application jobs done relatively quickly?
Easy to learn?
Most widely supported language in web hosting systems, meaning very low entry to start?
Has a widespread and relatively strong community?
Runs 80+% of the Internet today?

Any more?


Four years is nearly a decade in technology. Points are valid but I wouldn’t use that specific article for debate.

Not sure if that’s directed at me or not since both the Fabian article and the eevee article are from 2012. :-p

EDIT: As an aside, I’m blown away that php has had closures since 2009. The years are flying by. Damn.

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I agree. And if the comment was about the Eevee article, I am not going to be countering it point for point. I am just using it now to get the goods, the bads and even the uglies about PHP.


My favorite thing about PHP is the ecosystem is so rich with powerful CMSs and frameworks. In my opinion no other language rivals PHP in providing powerful CMSs and frameworks to facilitate agile development. I know node js is hot as ruby was a half decade ago but I don’t see how anyone can compare express to any of the mainstream PHP frameworks. Not to mention node js just seems so unstructured when compared to the likes of classic OOP. I think node js is the top competitor in the market place to PHP. However, like Ruby I think that will dwindle in time and PHP will just keep chugging along a constant state of usage. Even with the release of major new versions PHP is never going to get the press of the new kids on the block but it will excel far into the future as one of the most used web development platforms. I’m writing a Laravel app right and I think the ease, power, and flexibility is unsurpassed in the marketplace. There are just so many things Laravel does out of the box like many other PHP frameworks that other languages don’t really have. Comparing node js I don’t I understand the parallels given it takes a lot of node js code to do the things that many PHP frameworks do out of the box. With that said I don’t think in this day and age a language can be judged solely on itself. The language has to be judged based on the overall ecosystem. In that regard PHP is a powerhouse.

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As someone who doesn’t program in any real sense, though I’ll occasionally tweak things, what strikes me about PHP, is its ease of use, its ubiquity, and its ease of understanding. Whilst it may seem ‘old’ comparatively, it is still moving forward, though I’d leave those more familiar than I to comment on whether that’s in the right direction, or fast enough.

Definitely. I don’t think it will necessarily dwindle the way other languages have as JavaScript is the only language supported in the browser and so it has the advantage of people already knowing a significant fraction of the language if they switch to using it on the server as well.

I don’t think node.js is likely to catch up with PHP in the near future but I think it is likely to be around as a competitor to PHP for a lot longer than any of the others (all of which have now either gone or found themselves a niche where they aren’t competing for programming beginners).

Both JavaScript and PHP are often recommended as the first language those new to programming who want to program for the web should learn.

I agree. I’ve used enough languages by now that I don’t feel married to any specific one. But if I’m going to write a server-side web app, it will be in PHP, not because the language is so awesome but because the ecosystem is so awesome. I’d pick PHP because of Symfony and Composer and Doctrine and so forth. Whether the needle/haystack order is consistent is small potatoes compared to the health of the ecosystem.

Agreed. PHP’s ecosystem is one of its main strengths. Out of the ecosystem though, what is best about it? Things like Composer and Packagist? Or the community? Or the dev team that work on PHP and the documentation? Is it the many conferences? Or is it the group of experts supporting the community (like the nice people here)?


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