> I’m really interested in hearing from startup companies today why they would pick PHP instead of…

Thanks for the lengthy reaction. First of all ExpressJS is a server side framework build on top of Node.js and Meteor is a mixed client and server side framework. You are right about React and Angular though, but I’m not sure how often they are combined with PHP. Angular is for example part of the MEAN stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, Angular, Node.js).

PHP was my first programming language when I finished high school ten years ago. Nowadays I’m a server side JavaScript fan, which I think shares many benefits with PHP (like having a gazillion of experienced developers available) as well as some of its downsides (like the lack of static typing, even though both PHP and JavaScript have solutions for that). One of the benefits of JavaScript to me is the ability to easily write code which has a server side component and a client side component and easily wiring both together. I’m for example working on a web application using ExpressJS as back-end, a front-end using KnockoutJS and Socket.io for communication between the client and server. It has been very enjoyable to me.

One of the reasons I do think it is fair to compare PHP with the frameworks I mentioned is that when I started as a PHP developer I did not use a framework (at that time however there weren’t any established frameworks such as CakePHP and Symphony available yet). I started by embedding PHP in my HTML pages and later replaced the HTML pages by PHP pages which used HTML templates. Meanwhile I think most novice Ruby, JavaScript and Python web application developers actually start with a framework. They are kind of forced to as developing a web application without using a framework in any of those three languages involves a lot more work than with PHP.

I guess many people including myself are worried about PHP exactly because it is so easy to get started with. This comes back to my point about idiomatic code. Most Python web developers will have experience with Django, most Ruby web developers will have experience with Rails, most (server side) JavaScript web developers will have experience with ExpressJS, however for PHP I think you have a lot more diversity in the experience people have working either with their own custom solutions or one of the many frameworks available.

I’m happy to hear that PHP is still a good language to choose for new projects. Perhaps one day I will try it out again.

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