Today, one may often come across the disputes about the feasibility of applying PHP in the development of IT products and services. And, after reading several publications stressing out the drawbacks and limitations of PHP, you may also start hesitating if it is suitable for a serious business project. Is the situation really so bad? And if so, why 83 % of all web services are still being written in PHP? And why is it the choice of Slack, BlaBlaCar, Spotify, and other market leaders?
Well, the first thing is that, due to its open-source nature and an outstanding community, PHP is constantly upgrading. Its performance is really getting better with each version and with the progress of its frameworks. This forms the ground for other advantages which make it such a popular choice for business software development. From websites to e-commerce solutions, from shiny new startups to solidly established businesses, PHP is chosen solely or partially as the programming language for IT projects for the number of practical reasons.
1. PHP’s Open-source Nature Saves Budget
The most favorable thing that wins developers’ and IT decision-makers’ loyalty for PHP is that it is freely available. PHP requires no download or licensing fees. It is open-source and is distributed under General Public License.
Added to evident budget savings, it also results in a large and active international community. This leads to continual enhancements in its functionality and in the impressive pool of resources and facilities. There are hundreds of PHP-based solutions whose viability has already been tested, so one doesn’t need to invest resources in reinventing the wheel.
Though, to be objective it should be mentioned that this main advantage of PHP can sometimes become the main threat for the project. Easiness and availability significantly lower the threshold for career entry, which in some cases leads to reduced quality. So, the choice of a professional team with a proven expertise is an issue.
2. Development in PHP Is Less Time-consuming
PHP is a partially object-oriented language. It makes code reusability possible. Reusable PHP components save much time and effort in the process of development. There are lots of PHP frameworks, like Symfony, CodeIgniter, Laravel, Joomla, WordPress etc. Each of them carries its own functionality and offers fast and secure development in specific fields. PHP was deliberately optimized for making various web applications quickly. It has such built-in functions as accessing the GET and POST and working with HTML and URLs. For businesses, it means that the time (and, respectively, money) spent on the development decreases and the IT product or service built on PHP can start bringing ROI earlier.
3. PHP Code is Flexible and Integrative
A great advantage of PHP is its versatility and flexibility. PHP code is compatible with all major platforms from Windows, Unix, and Linux to MacOS. It supports most of the servers (including Apache, Microsoft IIS, Netscape, iPlanet, Caudium, Xitami, Tornado etc.) and more than 20 databases (for example, MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and others). THat’s why PHP is often chosen for creating cross-platform applications: it allows businesses to leverage the existing infrastructure with minimal expenditures.
Projects normally go through functionality changes at some point or another. With PHP, due to its dynamic nature, it is possible to implement them irrespectively of the stage of development and without time-loss.
4. PHP-based Services are Easily Scalable and Well-documented
In terms of ROI, businesses often win when the IT solution is built in iterations. It allows launching different modules of the software progressively and making necessary amendments in the course of the development. With PHP, it is possible to develop and support scalable IT projects and continuously generate multiple pages with various settings.
PHP code is characterized by transparency and excellent documentation. So, it takes less time to understand in detail what is going on in the code — of course, when it is well-written. And you can safely organize iterative development with minimal risks of foot-dragging in case you need to change the programmer or the entire team.
5. PHP Software is Easily Maintained and Updated
Due to easily decipherable syntax, PHP code can be freely modified and changed. It means, there are no problems with maintaining and updating PHP-based projects. They can be quickly and cost-effectively adjusted to innovative apps that enter the market and to the new business requirements. And due to open-source contribution, new functionality meeting the emerging needs of businesses pops up regularly and costs nothing. And since PHP code is written in a consistent and distinct manner, maintenance and support can be provided by any team, not obligatory the one which developed the project.
6. PHP Ensures Great Opportunities for Hosting
PHP’s versatility makes it a popular web hosting option for the most of the hosting providers. Any reliable web hosting provider supports PHP in their website hosting services. Usually hosting packages come with PHP support at no extra cost — including either free web host plans or inexpensive shared plans with an unlimited resource allocation and a free domain name.
7. Good PHP Website Performance Helps to Retain Customers
Fast website loading is crucial for audience retaining. Human attention span is 6–8 seconds, and if the website is slow, the users quickly leave it and never return. PHP ensures quick turnaround time due to its fast data processing features, outstanding customization potential, and seamless integration with various custom management systems.
PHP was initially created for the generation of dynamic web pages, that’s why its scripts solve this task much quicker than other programming languages. PHP code is easily embedded into HTML, and developers can convert existing static website code into dynamic just by adding their PHP code into HTML. Actually, this is the best language for the creation of full-fledged websites on the base of HTML standard.
PHP provides 1–1 correspondence between URLs and files by default, making it easy for designers, programmers, and other team members to edit and create web pages. This is especially useful in the case of large, mostly static content sites with hundreds of content pages, frequent one-offs, and different templates.
To Sum Up:
The growth of PHP and its frameworks in the recent years has been phenomenal, and its popularity in the industry is still growing. The main business virtues of PHP include cost-efficiency, scalability, compatibility, simplicity, and user-friendliness. Solely or (more often) in combination with other technologies, PHP is suitable for the development of IT projects of any type: from simple websites to CRM solutions and large marketplaces.
At the same time, we have but agree that the popularity of PHP cuts both ways and attracts quite a few low-skilled developers succumbed by language simplicity and prevalence. That’s why the choice of the team in the case of PHP development demands extra scrutiny.
Stfalcon.com is known for its deep expertise in the development of IT projects in PHP, and especially its framework Symfony. We are proud of being the golden partners of PHP Fwdays, the largest Ukrainian annual conference for PHP developers.
Originally published at stfalcon.com.