This is a question that I get asked often, and it is frequently asked at our events and on our webinars.
As I said right at the start of this article, the short answer is no.
A better question to ask might be “Is PHP outdated?” or “What’s the future of PHP?”
79% doesn’t sound like a dead language to me at all. It’s important to note though, that 79% of websites isn’t the same as 79% of the web (CMS sites may alter these results).
The historical trend of PHP is also a great indicator of whether PHP is dead:
I think the image speaks for itself.
The number of PHP developers applying to jobs on our website has seen a steady increase over the past 5 years
So developers are at least keen to learn the language and want to work with it.
The question “Is PHP dying?” might keep coming up because of the hype around new technologies.
The hype around other languages may push PHP to the back of people’s minds.
So can it really be dying?
This means that there are a lot of talented PHP developers out there, with fewer jobs to apply to:
The data tells us that businesses are using it less, but this hasn’t stopped the demand from candidates to continue working with it. There is clearly something here which developers love.
If freelance web development is something you’re interested in, then PHP is a great language to learn. There are over 75 million websites running WordPress, and somebody needs to build those custom plugins and provide technical support.
That’s a pretty strong case for PHP.
The future of the frontend side of web development is also uncertain due to advances in the artificial intelligence industry.
We know that developers and some huge companies are still using PHP, so the question is:
What are the biggest benefits of PHP?
We’ve concluded that calling PHP a dead language is probably a bit premature. A lot of people are still using it, and some major companies have committed to using it for the foreseeable future.
So why is that the case? Why do so many people swear by this language and what it can produce?
“One of the biggest benefits is that it is readily available almost everywhere. If you are working a small project on some hosting or a server and you say you need a language, PHP is always an option. Integrate it with a web browser and you can just start.” says Henrik.
“One of the strong points of PHP is that it has so many mature systems that you can use as a company – especially as a company.” Says Johannes. “You need to have systems that you can rely on and you can only rely on stuff that has matured. If you use 0.1 software, then you put your company at such a high risk. In three years’ time (if you still work at the company), you’ll see issues which could have been avoided by using a matured system”.
They recently launched their first SaaS, Pulse, a developer-focused server and site monitoring tool.
All their apps use Laravel for its simplicity and ability to build applications quickly. The rest of their stack is fairly traditional – MySQL, Redis, Vue and TailwindCSS.
“I don’t actually write PHP on its own, as all development is undertaken using Laravel. I think the main benefit is speed, but the comprehensive ecosystem, continual development and focus on easy testing also make it very attractive.” Says Matt.
Again, this comes back to the “hype” around certain technologies. For whatever reason, the technology industry loves to pit programmes and languages against each other (when there’s no real reason to).
The following diagram tells us a lot about where PHP is compared to its competitors. It shows the market position of PHP in terms of popularity and traffic.
How to stay relevant in the PHP market? (and what companies want to see)
There’s very much a consensus of ‘we don’t care how you do it, as long as we can read your code and see how it was done’. It’s important to have solid documentation and commitment to good code that others can understand over ‘fancy code for the sake of being fancy’.