However, that doesn’t mean the world is suddenly too grim for PHP of late. A huge share of code base of PHP is not migrating anywhere and still serves up a good bulk of text that we read every day. Around 40% of pages you view starts with PHP. A major reason behind this is continuous evolution of PHP. Recently, guts of PHP-run systems have been rewritten completely; the PHP code you find today isn’t the same as the ones used in the 90’s websites.
PHP’s just-in-time, zippy compiler is able to deliver answers way faster than ever before, courtesy the very same techniques which have powered Node.js. In that light, at present, HHVM and PHP 7.2 offer a good lot of the very same smart on-the-fly optimizations which V8 has introduced to Node.js and Chrome. Besides, HHVM has got the clever PHP dialect Hack which extends complete support for cutting-edge programming features, like generics, lambdas as well as collections.
Now, nobody knows what the future holds. While one part of the coding world is ga-ga over the youth and purity of Node.js as well as the classic simplicity of Java- there are others who hail the long-term stability and deep coding base of PHP. So, would the new kid in the block topple down PHP’s long-established stronghold? Or, is it that our good old PHP will continue to hold strong footing like the yesteryears?
Let’s have a comparison study on the strengths of both PHP and Node.js to have better clarity on the scenario.
Let’s draw in a hypothetical situation. You are typing content for your site and suddenly you feel like adding some if-then statement (based on certain URL parameter) to leverage the appeal of the content. Or, it could also be that you wish to add in some data or text from a specific database. Now, all these modifications with content is always a breeze with PHP. The language giant enables one to write code in just seconds and that too without the hassle of detailed architectures or extra files.
The web world is packed with projects on PHP code. To start with, the popular most website building platforms- Drupal. WordPress, Joomla- all have been written in good old PHP. These platforms are open-source which implies they are open to modifications and upgradations easily. Not just that, a fair share of their very plugins are open-source too. In other words, you will find PHP code just everywhere which you would be able to download or modify as per your specific needs.
At its core, PHP upholds a simplistic structure and simplicity always has its own appeal in this confusing complex world. With this good old classic, there are only some basic functions and few variables to work on the numbers and strings. You have a fine layer here which simply shifts data from the port 80 right to database and vice-versa. It’s just this only. In other words, PHP comes with the ideal level of complexity you need for task that’s not meant to be overtly complex.
Again, let’s say you are a programmer and need to do something more than just interacting with database and formatting the results. Well, PHP allows that in full glory. Mention must be made of Facebook’s HHVM here which offers support for the Hack language- a powerful language packed with advanced features such as generics, annotation type as well as lambda expressions. The coolest part is, it is extremely fast.
PHP has been developed to co-exist happily with MySQL as well as its several variants, such as MariaDB. In case, MySQL is not ideally right, one can opt for other amazing SQL databases housed at Microsoft or Oracle. You can easily switch your code with just a few alterations to the queries. And yes, the SQL world is really broad and big which means you will never run out of options. A great bunch of well-developed and stable codes would interface with SQL database which implies all that mighty power could be infused into PHP projects easily. Besides, the database space is getting even bigger these days as developers are finding avenues to add on more intelligence into database which ultimately would make things more convenient for you.
A lot of developers vouch for PHP for its unrivalled coding speed. There is no issue of deployment or compliers or preprocessors or JAR files- it’s really quick to write PHP for the web apps. All you would require here is a share of PHP files and your preferred editor. The mileage might vary but if we are talking about mugging a project fast, PHP is your tool.
The PHP world has always been extremely focused on maintaining competitive excellence and such ethos are still intact even with the launch of new players like Node.js. The Zend and HHVM teams are putting great efforts to come up with fast code to make things easier for everyone- as per the latest market demands. You will find independent benchmarks emerging of late and everybody is nudging node bases right to limit. And, that only signifies better performance.
This crazy insanity is no doubt a mammoth burden for teams that are building the static website generators (around 463 at present) as well as stripped-down website pages in AMP format. No wonder, PHP is the first choice for any programming team that focuses mostly on server intelligence to ensure clients don’t get overburdened.
Mixing of code with website content with PHP might be cool initially, say for 2-3 times. But, once it becomes a frequent affair, you might end up with an extremely complicated code base with messy logic. Pro programmers prefer to keep the logical and cosmetic layer separate and this is where Node.js comes to the rescue. Node.js-based frameworks are far more convenient to comprehend and maintain.
We have already discussed about the all-encompassing aspect of PHP codes above. But, then, PHP is an old player and hence it’s not uncommon to find decade-old WP plug-ins that no one prefers to download. A basic difficulty of working with PHP of late is that there is a huge library of PHP applications which have not been updated in years.
Now, of course nobody would prefer to waste time on codes that haven’t been updated or modified in years. That might be a fool’s errand to some extent. On the other hand, Node.js plug-ins and platforms are newer in comparison to PHP and you can work with them immediately. In fact, these new plug-ins have been built on modern infrastructure which makes them complementary to changing demands in the modern coding and web world.
It’s to stress here, there would a huge payoff if one wants to invest time to build a smooth browser-side website application. Important thing is, Node.js has been optimized to extend the data only via webs services. In other words, if your application is data-rich and complex, you can certainly expect a mighty good delivery.
Two distinct code bases might sound cool for competition but if you look at the larger picture you will realize the division soon leads to fragmentation. Now, what if the code you chose/need runs on just one among the two? Well, competition won’t be really handy when one has to waste months in rewriting of the code. This is where Node.js gets an upper hand.
Yes, Node.js had its own division a while back but things have been unified now with the release of io.js. The unification empowers it with much needed solidarity which PHP developers suffer from.
Well, it’s not always a tug-of-war between PHP and the new soldier Node.js. Interestingly, despite the myriad differences mention above, there are sectors where both the languages show an upper edge. Have a sneak-peek below to know more on this.
It might not be easily comprehensible for somebody who is beginning from scratch- however, in case one has banked on PHP for long and aspires to march forward gradually, it would make a wise compromise.
Some of the parts, especially the most stable and older parts of app, would be able to run PHP. On the other hand, the newer options would be programmed in Node.js. To conclude, the very language of GET or POST would be the language to unite both of them.
Hexadesigns is a web design company in Kolkata. We design and develop websites, custom software, ecommerce, mobile apps and do search engine optimization. This is our own blog where we provide potential tips for the common people just from our experience.Previous Post