PHP Versus The World

Open Source PHP Web development May 22nd, 2008 by Eran Galperin

php vs worldApparently PHP has a lot of functions starting with the letter A, and people find it offensive (Read a pro-PHP response to that article here).

I never knew it had so many to be honest. You know why? because I never bothered to go to the function index... PHP.net has a strategically located search bar in the top-right corner. Every time I needed to find a function I got to it from there or google. And it was always easy finding the right function (I guess the names aren't that bad after all).

Why is function diversity bad? While I agree that the naming conventions could be better, how should this be a problem to anyone? Unless of course you want to browse the function index...

It seems to me non-PHP developers are much more prone to deride PHP than PHP developers are to do the same for other languages. I guess it's because most PHP developers have no experience in other languages (expect maybe C/C++, which are not very relevant for compaison), so they don't have credentials to offer such criticism. Further more, it's more common to hear non-PHP developers complain about their own languages.

I have always maintained that the server-side language is irrelevant in the end. You can implement any web-based service / site / application in any of the modern web languages, it all depends on your development team skills. The user doesn't care what runs on the server, only what he is getting in the browser. And for all you detractors, yes you can build maintainable, secure and elegant applications in PHP quickly if you know what you are doing.

Having said that, in praise of PHP - It's open source and free, easy deployment (low-dependencies, simple packaging), great community (that has produced many professional-grade open-source packages), great documentation, available on most servers, dynamically typed and is easy to use. Also, from personal experience a PHP-dev in general has better command of client-side markup (HTML and CSS), as PHP blends easily with the markup and such blend is shown often in basic tutorials.

I liked this account by a guy who went back from ROR to PHP, as it puts the emphasis on the developer's skills instead of the language choice. Let everybody pick their favorite, why can't we all just get along? ;)

(And by the way... RoR is a framework for Ruby, would people stop comparing it to languages? Thank you.)

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