In 2016, the Slack Engineering team published a blog post titled Taking PHP Seriously, which discussed the merits of PHP and argued for its continued relevance. Since then, the language and its ecosystem have experienced further improvements, addressing many of the concerns raised in that post. This article explores why developers and businesses should take PHP seriously as we delve into the various improvements and advantages of the language and its thriving ecosystem.
The Evolution of PHP
PHP has come a long way since its inception in 1994. Thanks to the dedication of its developers and the open-source community, PHP has evolved through several major versions, each bringing significant improvements in performance, features, and security.
PHP 7, released in 2015, marked a pivotal point in the language's history. It introduced a new engine, performance improvements, and modern language constructs. The subsequent releases have built upon this foundation, refining the language and keeping it relevant in the rapidly changing tech landscape.
One of the most significant improvements in PHP is its performance. PHP 7 introduced the Zend Engine 3.0, significantly reducing memory consumption and improving the speed of PHP applications. Benchmarks show that PHP 7 is twice as fast as PHP 5.6, translating to better response times and reduced server costs.
Modern Language Features
PHP has adopted features from other modern programming languages, such as type hinting, anonymous classes, and null coalescing operators. These enhancements have made PHP code more expressive, readable, and maintainable.
PHP 8 introduced the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler, further improving the language's performance. The introduction of attributes and named arguments have made the language more versatile and easier to use.
A Mature and Active Ecosystem
PHP boasts a mature and active ecosystem with many open-source projects, libraries, and frameworks available to developers. Composer, the dependency manager for PHP, has made it easier than ever to manage and share packages, fostering collaboration and innovation within the community.
Popular PHP frameworks such as Laravel and Symfony have streamlined the development process by providing reusable components, robust security features, and efficient ways to structure and maintain projects.
Reading tip: Performance tips for Laravel
Big Companies Rely on PHP
Many well-known companies have chosen PHP for their web development needs, showcasing its versatility and reliability. Some notable examples include:
- Facebook: Originally built on PHP, Facebook has continued to utilize the language and even created the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) to optimize its performance.
- Slack: The famous team collaboration platform uses PHP for various parts of its web application. In the 2016 blog post, "Taking PHP Seriously," the Slack Engineering team highlighted the benefits of using PHP, such as its performance, ease of use, and thriving ecosystem. Many of the concerns raised in that post have since been addressed, further strengthening the case for PHP.
- Wikipedia: The world's most giant encyclopedia runs on PHP, utilizing the MediaWiki platform.
- Mailchimp: The email marketing service relies on PHP for its web application, serving millions of users worldwide.
A Growing Job Market
Despite the rise of alternative languages and frameworks, the demand for PHP developers remains strong. According to the TIOBE Index, PHP is consistently ranked among the top 10 most popular programming languages. Companies in various industries, including e-commerce, media, and education, rely on PHP for their web development needs.
PHP has come a long way since its early days as a simple server-side scripting language. Its evolution, performance improvements, and modern language features make it a serious contender in web development. With a mature and active ecosystem, a solid connection to significant companies, and a growing job market, PHP deserves your serious attention. Don't underestimate the potential of this resilient language in today's technology landscape.