Jul 15

The Future of PHPIf you are a fan of language “X” and think it’s better than PHP, here’s your chance to convince me. After some discussion with colleagues, I’m very interested to find a general consensus as to which web development language (server-side) is the true “future of web development”. My research reveals that PHP is the most popular web development language currently. Even though it’s clear that PHP is widely accepted, how long will that be true? Is PHP dying?

Now please don’t get me wrong, PHP is a great language that I use daily. It’s powerful, widely supported, popular, and pretty darn stable. Recently, I’ve even had even more success with PHP by supplementing it with CakePHP, a powerful PHP framework that makes development a bit more painless.

Still, even with frameworks and new versions of PHP coming soon, how long can the trend last?

Are you wondering why I care so much?

The reasons are fairly mundane: job security, stability, trends, and money.

I value my career and work as a web developer. We (web developers) provide content to the voracious users of the web and I love being a part of the “internet revolution”. I also enjoy keeping up on the latest trends… I tend to prefer being near the bleeding-edge at all times. Why? Because it’s more fun. Also, I’d say that having a grasp of where the future is headed in web development can be very valuable indeed.

Back to my point: I’ve played with a few alternate languages outside of PHP, but I’m not convinced of their long-term popularity… they just don’t offer anything revolutionary. Maybe I’m expecting a revolution that isn’t gonna happen. Or, maybe I missed the revolution boat already.

So, you tell me; what’s the next revolution? Has it even been invented yet?

63 Responses to “The Future of PHP: The Death of a Giant?”

  1. Zahasman Says:

    My bet is that PHP is still going strong for the next decade, and growing even stronger. There are lots of hyped up languages out there, but the hype will eventually cool off and people will then go back to where they come from. Remember Java? C developers who adopted Java have gone back to C. ColdFusion died off miserably despite the hype that it gets few years ago.

    To me, it doesn’t matter what new languages pop up in the next few days, they’re simply *just* another language that uses a bit different syntax and slightly different approach to variables and functions, but they all accomplish the same thing. Now if a new language comes up with a unique cool function that no other languages offer, I bet PHP will quickly catch up and come up with their own version of that function, maybe even better. Ruby came out with Rails, the MVC framework, and then PHP suddenly came with two similar versions of their own MVC frameworks out of nowhere (CakePHP and CodeIgniter, and I heard there are more now).

    So to be frank with you, I don’t see the need to adopt to another language when you’re already strong with PHP. But then again it’s no harm to be adventurous a bit and study other languages for fun if you have that spare time, apart from adding value to yourself ;)

  2. Web Biz Says:

    [...] The Future of PHP: The Death of a Giant? | The Weber Report [...]

  3. David Says:

    I’m interested, when you said “My research reveals that PHP is the most popular web development language currently.” – how did you research that, and what were the top 10 languages used currently in Web Development?

    Cheers,

    Davo

  4. Timothy Haroutunian Says:

    I agree with Zahasman and PHP will stay strong for a while until something new is developed, but I don’t think that there is another language out there that is more popular. I know that around 40% of the websites use PHP, but I don’t know what the other percentages of languages are out there. I use it everyday and I hope that it doesn’t die because I love working with it.

  5. Dustin Weber Says:

    @ David

    Call it an overall trend I’ve gathered from reading lot’s of articles over the past few years (both print and on the web). However, I tend to consistently rely on Google Trends (trends.google.com) to see the popularity and movement of comparable things such as web languages in this case.

    Check it out, it’s pretty cool.

  6. Jim Kane Says:

    You know how much I love Ruby now, but I think I can offer a practical example of why as well. Ruby (and Rails) is the first language where I’ve felt comfortable and capable contributing my changes back to multiple projects. I have found that the code I’ve read from others has been easy to grasp in a short time, so I can make the changes I need to make and package up those changes for submission without a lot of fuss. Isn’t that what we always talk about — maintaining someone else’s code? I’ve certainly had to do enough of that over the years, and now I’d rather do it in Ruby than in any other language.

  7. Stefan Says:

    I’m porting over a bunch of online payment software from PHP to Lua right now… Why, you ask?

    Well, PHP is fine and dandy, and I was an early public supporter of it’s use in commercial applications back in the day. But it’s just getting too slow and heavy for certain applications (mostly a scalability concern). I live and die by metrics in my field, and the numbers say PHP has issues. I think the core language itself might have certain limitations relating to speed and memory use. So, companies are faced with a simple choice: buy more hardware to handle the load, convince customers to live with slow services – or use something faster and lighter.

    Lua might be kinda, well, weird at first. But it’s FAST (jeez it’s fast), and the ability to whip up modules for it in Lua/C/C++ quite rapidly give it an interesting edge. It’s kinda like the Java that never really arrived…

  8. PHPer Says:

    At the end of the day, I think programming languages are only just a tool to help us achieve the goals of software development. Programming languages are disposable, but programming skills, practices and patterns will alway stay with us. E.g. flowcharting and pseudocoding skills should be equally as important as knowing any particular language.

    If you are using language X, and it dies, it should be pretty easy to switch over to language Y, because you already understand the programming concepts and switching over should be something rather trivial.

  9. bananas Says:

    Yes and no…you can learn new langs, but without the ability to show competence in said lang (and often some REAL code samples), job opportunities fizzle. Some programmers say you should learn a new language every year. That’s not a terrible idea. But having shallow knowledge of languages creates shoddy code. That has been a primary problem with php….too many amateurs try to write things in php and muck it up. Then people blame php. There used to be a lot of shoddy perl back in the cgi days, but you don’t hear about it as much these days. I am guessing there will be a lot of noobish ruby on rails code as well. Everytime the code takes you further from the metal, optimizations fall to the wayside. I think overabstracting the db layer is a huge mistake as that is where optimizations matter most.

    When I hear people talk about Ruby on Rails I cringe. Nobody EVER talked about php that way. Php has always been an underdog. Even now, running half the web and tons of MAJOR enterprises like flickr, digg, facebook, youtube(frontend), people still complain about it. That’s fine. I like it that way. Php has always been refreshingly free of hubris…the RoR crowd on the other hand are like the Scientologists of the programming world. Reminds me of all the myths java promised and failed to deliver.

  10. Atul Says:

    What i think is there is bright future for PHP,Just simple test in google search by typing any technology name and hit search button then u will notice that search results for “php” is much more than that of any web technology.

  11. mileidys Says:

    PHP is the best… I like because is open source and because has so many resources and a big community!!!

  12. fahed Says:

    Web Developers wana work. And if we wana work so doesn’t matter there is PHP, Ruby On Rails or ASP. Never depend on tools, don’t forget that PHP also need programming sense atleast. Customer need a chair of wood. You use which tool; doesn’t matter.
    :)

  13. Dustin Weber Says:

    EVERYONE

    This post is very old at this point. CakePHP has changed immensely since I wrote this article and things have gotten much much better. I would recommend you learn version 1.2 (it is in RC2) and you’ll get to learn the best php framework by far.

    Thanks,

    Dustin Weber

  14. Marcos Says:

    I work at IBM.com and I use PHP in my everyday work. I think PHP will only get stronger and stronger.

    I never heard nothing here about “ASP”, “C#”, wherever. We use some Ruby and Pearl also … but PHP rules in Server Side Scripting.

    Even Python can´t catch it up in practical usage. People here simple goes PHPing and forget about every else.

  15. Dan Says:

    ASP.NET is amazing, anyone who truly enjoys web development should embracement the robust framework that is .NET. Really is a powerful and fun to use framework.

  16. @r13f Says:

    I used PHP for daily works here in my company. I dont know if i’ll go for another language. Ruby on rails is good and i felt better while trying on it. I really want to learn something new other than PHP, ruby on rails maybe, but i dont feel that it will useful for short distance since there is no significant reason to migrate from PHP to Ruby. One reason why i’m still stick with PHP is the availability of human resources. It will be easy to get PHP expert than Ruby expert since it’s still rather new here. In my opinion, everything is depend on the situation.

  17. shashi kanth reddy Says:

    helloeverybody…..

    ya php is a very good scritpting language….i got recrutied to one of the companies when php was adopted for their current work …due to economic recession…everyone is planngin for cost cuts…so they are tryign to reduce maximum amount which has to be spent for software developement…php will be aalternative for them as its free of cost and open source …..so its getting better and better day by day many companies are adopting…php…yahoo is one of the top rands which has large scale implementation of php….google is to getting used to it these days…..

  18. Akshay Kumar Vishnoi Says:

    I love PHP. Nowadays it is the heart of most of web sites.

  19. The Coder Says:

    PHP future is secure but we must ready to any thing and prepare ourselves to adopt new technology ASAP.

  20. Saboo Says:

    PHP is the most popular language for web development. It is better than any other server side scripting language, in my opinion. LONG LIVE PHP!

  21. rahul jain Says:

    i am a engineering student, loves php learned php’s fundas on my own, once anybody understand the heart of it, you will never get out of it…..its future should be superb according to me

  22. Farid Says:

    i like to ask that for what time the PHP wil remain in pakistan and what is the future of the php programmers all over
    please and me at my e- mail address that is shaheen_e_iqbal786@yahoo.com

  23. martin Says:

    Please go on http://www.cookphp.blogspot.com will will get better answer and kool stuff of php

  24. iongion Says:

    @Farid

    Because you are in a poor country, like my country is (well i am from eastern europe), i suggest you to focus on what brings you money.

    Currently, unfortunately, PHP is the most used technology for the web. But this is mainly for quick and dirty solutions (i am not putting here that php could not be used for serious apps).

    Learn it well, use it, earn your money but in the same time keep an eye on other technologies like Pyhon-Django, Ruby-Rails and why not .NET, Groovy-Grails

    (PHP will remain in Pakistan for the same amount of time that it will “remain” all over the globe)

    Cheers, may you have an easy programmer life!

  25. Waqas Badar Says:

    Is there any fear to PHP from Python? I hear that now a days lot of PHP developer are moving to Python + Django.What do u think python can replace PHP?

  26. Albert Says:

    I’ve worked for 9 years on Java, and about 2 years on PHP.

    PHP is really lagging behind in much of the innovations, IoC, AOP, choice of Persistence frameworks, build tools, mocking frameworks etc ….so yes, while its the fastest way to build a web app, i dont find it to be complete and hence not my language of choice. But for sure its going to stick around for some more time, while functional programming starts maturing.

    Someone just commented about java developers going back to C, wonder how much that guy knows about the java and its community!

  27. Lyrics-Jenn Says:

    the same here.. if you are really good in PHP… you wont have any problem.. i guess

  28. Leon Brown Says:

    PHP will certainly have a long life – the sustainability of any language always remains in legacy code and this is why Cobol is still in use and why Windows has had the success it has had. Taking time to rewrite code to do the same thing in another language is only taking steps sideways and in general will not provide any major benefits provided that the original code was developed to a good standard.

  29. reslie ong inovejas Says:

    I believe that PHP is the best programming language at all times because of it’s active community.. PHP is number 1 here in philippines… I can’t Imagine life without PHP

    Cheers…

  30. A Naveed Says:

    Well, I have done some good work in ASP and JSP and in PHP. I see PHP’s future very bright. And I think it is because of its open-nature and the amount of developer support and libraries available. PHP has proven itself and has been at the top for the last 4 years.
    I see markups like Ruby and Cake adding to the whole PHP aura but PHP has and will rock. For a compnay, it gives value. For a developer, it provides ‘plug and play’ libraries and easy skill-porting from C and the likes.

    Long live PHP, indeed!

  31. PHPsucker Says:

    Rahul Jain is EP max

  32. Mark Says:

    “There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.” Bjarne Stroustrup

    Php is far too popular to be going away soon, it been around for well over a decade. Php is a solid maturing language and I can only see the underlying engine getting more powerful.

  33. Jim Tan Says:

    I won’t be here if i don’t know PHP. I use to developed internet and localhost application. It’s awesome! You have no worry about the patch upgrade and version issue. What you people think about Ruby?

    Do you think if the Ruby stands stronger? or the PHP always the one.

  34. Subham Says:

    East or West PHP is Best.

  35. niyas Says:

    PHP is s good but salary pakage is too short

  36. Sashi kanth Says:

    PHP stands long than any other language like Ruby or Java. The innovation of new frameworks in PHP deliver more power to the web standards and iam sure its the PHP thats going to lead the software field in the future.

    Long live PHP !

  37. Bob Says:

    Has anyone ever thought about the real role of Zend in the context? How do they make their money? Would we know about any “back-door” which they could be planning to use in the future?

  38. Deepak Choudhary Says:

    Hi friends,
    I am a student of MCA final year from India,
    I wana to know about the future of php,
    Is there good money on php if i master it.
    Or should i move to any other programming language.
    Please suggest me i m serious taking my future.
    Please help me and mail me at
    deepak.csjm@rediffmail.com
    Please

  39. Emerson Says:

    I am using PHP on a daily basis as well but have been learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails over the last year or so in my spare time.

    I’ve found Ruby to be an amazing programming language. It has beautiful syntax, an amazing community, and is just plain fun to work with. Add Rails into the mix and it’s a tough combo to shy away from. About the only thing that remains annoying about Ruby and Rails is deployment, but this is changing quickly with options like Passenger.

    Just my 2-cents :-)

  40. Sukhjit Says:

    I have been programming in C/C++/VC++ for the last 15 years. After Investigating all the facts like productivity, easy to learn and do core programming, I decided to learn PHP. For same productivity it is much easier to learn PHP than Java Script or C# .NET

  41. kaka Says:

    coldfusion died of totally

  42. pandorum Says:

    Every language has it´s pros and cons, and like every tool in the world, in the right hands PHP is quite powerful.

    My advice is don’t learn to write code on X language and wait and see if it dies the next year…, simply learn to Write Code, learn the concepts right, the tricks, tips, and craftsmanship of software development, that will help you jump from any language to another in a short time, and making money along the way :) .

  43. martins Says:

    php – originally designed for simple web applications, like websites and no doubt internet users grow every year and so as the total amount of websites. And with what we make websites ? of course with the tool, that was originally designed for that – PHP. Yeeey PHP live long and grow strong. PHP seems to be the best tool to develop them with. I assume that because of popularity. But for more complex tasks I think other languages are suited better than PHP. No doubt PHP will be near us for a long time. In the end the old saying, choose the proper tool for certain task.

  44. bob Says:

    Languages evolve or have evolved to meet a specific need.

    PHP will be around for a long timne, who knows what it will morph into.

    The language that’s rising steadily and surely is Python. Nice language, lots of libraries, scales from teh small and now in the HPC domain.

    What amazes me about Python is that it’s not being pushed by large companies with money – it’s ground up expansion which means the base/core of people use with because it’s actually useful – not because the use of the language was mandated by someone else.

    PHP will undergo changes to accomodate the limitations it has since it’s inception. Python on the other hand keeps expanding slowly and surely based not on it’s limitations but new marlets/areas the language is being adopted in.

    My pick is PHP will be around for a long time but Python will keep growing

  45. Sandeep Rajput 007 Says:

    php is realy a good language.it has active community, which help not let down. i think not any other language has supported such a big community as compare to this through out the world.because of it helping world to build large web applications, i says that php is “PROGRAMMING HELP PUBLIC”

  46. AU2650 Says:

    Everything has to –> DIE <– one day
    and be replaced by sumpin better

    It will be up to the PHP (the community) to continually morph into a world beating language…

  47. Rajesh Nanda Says:

    Thums-up PHP!! It’s the best language to work on.

  48. Kamran Says:

    Quoting from Mark above:

    [quote] “There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.” Bjarne Stroustrup [/quote]

    Excellent and very true by Bjarne!

  49. abhijeet jadhav Says:

    I think your suggestion is right php is most useful role in web application. But my question still client should use core php. I thnk we need we want client should use open source software in php like joomle, Drupal etc.

  50. DEEPAK KASHYAP Says:

    i think php is a great scope in future because its a platform independent language and dont forget it is widely using now and less complicated then other language. It is used in web development mostly. ………….

  51. neha Says:

    hi, i have been working as php developer i found that there is no stability of PHP .

  52. Zoran Vulanović Says:

    Every programming language is a good programming language as he does his job. In most languages ​​is present object orientet access, which enables better and faster development of large projects. Some of the more difficult languages ​​to learn and some do not. The difference is that the programming language used for WHAT. So much for the programming languages. In my recent projects I’ve worked for two firms engaged in contracting and purchasing of agricultural raw materials and for the first time I used the get method in ajax (JavaScript), where I called the customer through the php file to execute. And much I liked this approach as a web programming business. My point is that the future is definitely in the web client programming, and his name is php, javascript or …….

  53. venkat Says:

    I am working as a php developer.
    now i want to learn some new platform or want to contuine learning concepts in php like durpal,jommla……

    if u suggest me to learn anew platform. which platform is relevant to php can any one help…………!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  54. Zoran Vulanović Says:

    You can tray some framework like Zend or Smarty.

  55. Irfan Says:

    Love live PHP, the best web can have…

  56. Jayesh Says:

    @Venkat

    Try learning MVC frameworks like Kohana, Codigniter or cakePHP. You can also try to write your own small MVC framework to actually learn how to write better web applications. You can always learn CMS like Drupal, Joomla, WordPress very quickly but they don’t give you deep knowledge until you really spend so much time into the core of the framework.

  57. Pablo Says:

    PHP never died.
    Most important sites using php.
    byeeeee

  58. Bhuvan Rikka Says:

    It has been 5 years since 2007(when this article was posted),and even now PHP is a giant in web development…I’m a web developer working on php and i’m proud of it !! Don’t bother about its death..just relish the moment

  59. Deppdog Says:

    I recently got into PHP and put it to use in some of my web projects. I have to say it has been simple to learn when compared to others. It is not as financially rewarding as other languages but there is much less educational requirements to become a PHP developer. In my opinion PHP has only just begun and will continue to evolve and gain new features that will overcome the competition in time. PHP is becoming the facebook of programming languages. Because its popular and cost effective more people are investing and its becoming a web standard with roots too deep to remove. Job trend data… http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=Java,+PHP,+Perl,+.Net,+Python&relative=1

  60. Absar Khan Tabish Says:

    I works on nearly every modern day language but the level of confort on PHP is really very high,there are son many CMS and Frameworks available that you can found your solution easily and options are so always open.The easiest life among developer is to be a PHP developer

  61. Richard Says:

    i think PHP has a bright future this cannot be contended more than 50% of the web is on PHP and this is not going to change any moment from now. Anyway for programming i think the language does not really matter that much what really matters is the programmers ability to write good code that makes that software works pure and simple.

  62. Deborah Vallon Says:

    PST Accelerator- The reporting looks awesome… Will check it out…

  63. Emerson Rose Says:

    PHP is also one of the oldest programming languages available in the market. With its long going development time it has consistently remain in the market and that too at the top position.

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