PHP needs to die

About 2 min reading time

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Great article on why PHP must go, and what the alternatives are – if there are any at all. PHP is a pretty neat language. It's available on almost every web host around the world. It's really easy for beginners to setup, write code, and publish it. Still, PHP is starting to become dreaded, unwanted and hated among serious new-era web developers. The familiar C style syntax is becoming old, there's a lot of noise in the code, and a lot more pet peeves which are forcing developers to other languages, such as Ruby, Python, and in recent days Javascript.

I can knock out a good website in an hour in PHP, and an excellent one in a day or two. Its performance characteristics are well-known and understood, so I can make it scale pretty much indefinitely. Every developer we'd want to hire knows it, and every system we'd integrate with has a wrapper library written in it. I am trapped by the convenience of PHP in a language that is losing its suitability for the task.

What's happened with PHP is that we've become too convenient and lazy. Everybody uses it – why change? It's an evil spiral I don't want to go down with. "PHP needs to die" is perhaps a bit harsh, but I definitely think it shouldn't be the first choice of web server language when beginners grow out of HTML and CSS (it is actually very much a de facto language). In a perfect world, web hosts (even shared hosting providers) would offer Ruby and Python out-of-the-box without any addon fees.

I want a language that assumes everything I will be building is an MVC web app, and builds that right into the core language, not just a library.

To become the Number One Web Language, it has to look on what made PHP big: drop in functionality, straight forward documentation, simple hosting, and a not too steep learning curve.