Will creates nice web-things, builds awesome ideas, and collaborates with other creative types.

The PHP Singularity

by Will on Oct 1st 2012, 16:54

Jeff Atwoods the php singularity  and all the other PHP sucks posts  have caused a bit of a stir and the odd response defending old faithful.  

Why the hate?

  • 82.37%* of the web is running on what from even a casual purists point of view is a bit of an ugly language.  Thats upsetting. 
  • thousands of web developers have to work with php every day  - for a percentage of thousands of web developers - thats annoying. 
  • If Jeff  (or you) wants to make a deployable-anywhere app he has to seriously think about using PHP.

what isn't the problem

Availability of web application frameworks that use stylish, well designed modern languages people love.. If your clients want something bespoke, or you need to make a complex corporate app or you are making yourself the next big thing online and  you want to use a nice language, then you can use one of any number of awesome languages.  The problem is more too much choice than anything else.

I'm not sure I buy that PHP makes it easy to do bad. There are tons of excellent frameworks that encourage proper structure.  If Symphony / Cake / Laravel aren't encouraging you to use good practices then you will probably do it wrong in python too.  you will just get to go to cooler meetings. Some of the older PHP projects were designed before modern best practices were widespread.  Plenty of new php projects are well architected 

Whats not to be done.

Critiquing  PHP is sort of ok up to a point.  No need to hate.  PHP has some wonderful people and projects. through products like wordpress it has enabled millions of people to express themselves online. Through Symfony and cake development best practices  have been taught , enabled and encouraged.  Wikipedia, facebook; The results speak for themselves.  Tons of good, stable functional websites for happy and successful clients run on PHP.  That said, the shoe  vs glass jar analogy was pretty funny. 

Help Those that want saving

Some people would like to have a change.  They look at ruby or python and think - cool!  They want better tools and to be better developers.  They even do some of their bigger projects in Rails or Django. But for 80% of their work, its very hard to justify using anything other than php.  

Agency devs are the front line of PHP dominance.  Give them tools and hosting for the small stuff.  Comparable hosting options, Content management systems, ecommerce platforms etc. 

The future is now.

So what are we / Jeff looking for? An accessible feature full stylish modern language. A language that can you can use for the most complex tasks with a web application framework.  A language that has a well architected CMS , an eCommerce framework , fantastic learning resources, documentation, books , community, training and an improving hosting landscape


Surely thats Ruby.


* invented statistic.  Who cares, its more than the haters would like. 





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