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Ed Link III
Ed Link III

Posted on • Updated on

Why Not PHP?

I started tinkering with HTML in 1996. It was simple and I liked that I could make web pages that looked better than 90% of what was available at the time. Back then "Webmaster" was the coveted title. I actually did move into a webmaster role for a while - HTML, a little CSS, and Photoshop - for the company I worked for at the time. It was actually a pretty sweet gig.

After a while, I let it go to take a supervisor position in a different department.

The guy who took over for me was asked to do more with the site and was handed a book on PHP & MySQL. Eventually, they decided they needed a team and I was able to move back to doing web stuff with the stipulation that I learn PHP. So I did!

It was the year 2000 and I bought a copy of PHP & MySQL for Dummies (because I knew nothing of programming languages at the time) and went through it page by page, eventually building a personal blog system (that ran for quite a few years). I was a web developer! I held that position for 13 years, during which I learned jQuery (because JavaScript was weird and required), which landed me the job I have now as a front-end developer.

That unnecessarily long intro brings me back to today... I'm relearning PHP. I was approached about an opening in another company doing PHP development a few months ago, so I started looking at it again.

I am really having fun relearning it (and learning a lot of other stuff along the way). Did I get the other job? No. No one wants a 6+ years rusty developer. Am I okay with that? Sure. Am I still playing with PHP in my spare time? Oh yeah!

I am building exactly what the world needs - another social networking site. I am building it with the mini framework I built as part of Brad Traversy's Udemy course (TraversyMVC) and Vanilla JavaScript.

It's so nice to have a project I'm excited about working on.

I've read a lot of terrible things about PHP, although most of them are quite subjective. I don't know why someone should avoid PHP... There are still jobs out there and it still powers A LOT of the web. I've studied Java and worked a bit with C#, but I have to say I prefer PHP to them both.

I'm not writing this as an invitation to have you convince me to learn Python or {insert-hot-new-programming-language-here}. I do still plan on spending some quality time digging into Node/Express/MongoDB... Just not this month.

No one knows what the future will hold, so I am entertaining myself during this time of social distancing with a not-as-trendy programming language, getting back to my roots, so to speak. Again, I'm having fun, and there's nothing wrong with learning something marketable that no one else wants to learn anymore. 😎

Discussion (13)

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davidbonachera profile image
David Bonachera • Edited

I will add that Facebook helped a lot, first with HHVM, then hacklang. And it forced PHP to modernize itself.

Several companies are digging into switching from PHP to hacklang.

I would say that PHP isn't the script kiddy language it used to be anymore, with some deep OOP principles inside of it since PHP7.

Keith Adams (chief architect @ slack) wrote Taking PHP seriously.

More about hacklang vs PHP, and performance-wise

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Manuel Ojeda

The issue with devs arguing that PHP should not be used anymore thinks in the issues PHP 5 had.
Since PHP 7 and even before with Laravel things are going for better.
Of course following the PSR PHP has become a great backend language.

So, saying PHP is bad is not valid anymore.

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José M. Cornelio

I had the same argue with a partner at the job (before the covid) because all the issues with PHP that he mention, are the ALL THE PHP 5 things that PHP 7 fixes.

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Ben Overmyer

PHP is still a popular language, and it'll be around for a long time to come. I was a PHP developer for quite awhile - about ten years. There is plenty about it that frustrates me, though it has come a long way since I first started working with it.

I prefer working in Go now, but that doesn't mean that everyone else should join me. There are plenty of good reasons to continue working with PHP. I'm just tired of it.

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Joe Sweeney • Edited

I'm a bit biased, as I've built my career on top of PHP, but it seems to me that the language is going up. Not in terms of popularity maybe, but definitely in cutting-edge technology. Laravel is a rapidly-evolving framework that is even pioneering serverless deployments for PHP. PHP8 will have a JIT compiler which will improve performance. There is a websocket server that can handle 15K concurrent connections on a single, cheap DigitalOcean droplet.

PHP is still an exciting, evolving space and there's still a lot of excitement around it, while being familiar and productive. I try other things and have some misgivings with Laravel and PHP, but I always come back to them and trust them to get the job done.

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edlinkiii profile image
Ed Link III Author

Are there any resources (websites, video tutorials, books, etc) you would recommend for learning Laravel?

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jcs224 profile image
Joe Sweeney

Nothing beats laracasts.com. Some of the lessons are free but it's totally worth it if you decide to buy a subscription.

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r2d2 profile image
r2d2

totally agree!
laracasts is awesome resource for learning laravel, as well as php basics, vue and other stuff

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SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

It's far from accurate to say no one wants to learn PHP anymore. Thanks to the v7 improvements & awesome frameworks like Laravel & Symfony... PHP is having a fresh surge of popularity.

I had my own stint away from PHP when my career went to .Net for about 5 years. Frankly it was a relief to return to PHP.

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vlasales profile image
Vlastimil Pospichal

PHP is a modern programming language.

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bovermyer profile image
Ben Overmyer

That depends on your definition of "modern."

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Tyler Smith

I like PHP. I think it's a little hard to write elegant PHP without some hackiness, but at the end of the day it's all software and none of it is perfect.

I think PHP's biggest strength is WordPress. It's the killer app for PHP. In my experience, WordPress is also one of the biggest reasons people dislike PHP. WordPress has 15 years of tech decisions, and not all of them are perfect. That said, it's a platform that powers 35% of sites on the Internet!

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aminukano profile image
Aminu Ibrahim Abubakar🔥 🇳🇬

Digging into Node/Express... When that time comes, I highly recommend fullstackopen.com/en for you :)