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PHP in 2017, holding strong..

PHP emerged as a popular server-side language all the way back when Oasis dominated the charts here in the UK, over 20 years ago now. Initially developed for simple personal websites the language was later adopted by developers of online juggernauts such as WordPress and Magento and other content management systems. PHP now powers several hundred million websites and remains the most popular server-side solution and approximately 83 percent of data-driven web properties are using it according to w3techs.com.

Trends in the relative popularity of PHP can be ascertained using data from sources including GitHub, StackOverflow and LinkedIn. PHP has seen its market share eroded in recent years by the explosive growth of Node. A high percentage of startups are opting for the younger and arguably sexier JavaScript-based technologies as they criticise, sometimes fairly, flaws such as unusual type casts, confusing/old semantics and error forgiveness.

However I argue that PHP in its latest form, and associated progression into Hack and HHVM offers a sustainable and robust option for the development community.

PHP 7, the latest iteration, offers faster execution and substantial improvements in memory usage with a decrease in RAM consumption of more than 50 percent in some cases. PHP libraries such as Icicle allow for asynchronous execution.

Ultimately PHP is an agile language. The fact that you start each request with defined state means,we get a kind of a more ‘real’ or natural error identification. Furthermore while concurrency may seem restrictive at first, it is lower risk than the locks /distributed slate of competing languages.

However, probably the greatest strength of PHP is the broad community of developers who support its future and are available for it’s utilisation. Coding in PHP is relatively easy and painless (as simple as save and load) which allows for the rapid development of a minimal viable product.

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