Just the Gist
While many are contributing to PHP, there are a few core developers with knowledge and expertise that we are relying on. But there are initiatives to incentivize more developers to contribute their expertise to the language.
We are many developers who love to work with PHP. But there are also many designers and website owners using the power of PHP to create beautiful and functional websites. Considering that there may be about 80% of websites (where server-side language is known) using PHP, we may be mislead to believe that there is a strong core of PHP developers. While there are many people contributing to the PHP language, some core features are beholden to just a couple of persons.
One feature that is integral to PHP 8 and giving it such a performance boost is the Just-in-time compiler. According to the post Avoiding busses by Joe Watkins, there may now be two people understanding the integral parts of this system. Now, seeing one of these people move on to other projects, we are swiftly made aware of some of the challenges we face as a community.
Not only are there few people who currently understand some integral parts, but there are also few who have a full time job to orchestrate the development of the language. Since it's an open source project, there hasn't been the mission for one single corporation to drive the development. Despite this, many individuals, companies, and organizations has made some significant contributions. But this is not enough.
It's not all dark though. We have a foundation being formed to help the community. And the more people who are aware of what is known as the bus factor, the more are willing to help. C is the building block of PHP, and perhaps this is something you would be interested to build with. Get to know the internals from PHP Internals Book.
Have you thought about who builds the core of PHP? Would you like to contribute? Are there other critical internal features you would like to highlight? Comment below and let us know what you think ✍
- Joe Watkins about the bus factor: https://blog.krakjoe.ninja/2021/05/avoiding-busses.html
- Exploring the PHP JIT compiler: https://www.zend.com/blog/exploring-new-php-jit-compiler