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Discussion on: Imposter Syndrome: PHP Edition

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Andrea Pavoni

I totally agree. Me neither can barely see a decent use case for PHP. It was a very good and fresh alternative to ASP ans CGI back then, but today is not, even for beginners or learning. I’ve read the whole thread of comments, and someone asked for some alternatives to be mentioned. Here’s a partial list, just to name the ones I know better:

Python (2003-2007, maybe I’ll come back to it. 2 prod apps): perfect language to begin with, even for kids. It is born with a design and a philosophy in mind and it evolved during the decades. Perfect tooling, and easy to jump into other fields such as AI.

Ruby (2007-, countless prod apps): I’ve used it for the last 10 (ten) years. Easy to use, but not that easy to learn well. It’s like a magic wand: you can do anything with it, but you need discipline to avoid big mistakes. I just mention Rails without further explanations, everyone knows it ;-)

Go (2012-, 2 prod apps): perfect for performance and concurrency. Very easy to learn and use, however it’s not the first choice for everything, especially web development (maybe excluding APIs in some cases). Sometimes it might be boring and require some more time and attention to get things done. I’d use it for CPU intensive tasks (image processing, number crunching)

NodeJS (2012-, 3 prod apps): well, Inuse it mostly for frontend tasks and I would never use it on the server side (I did it, of course) if not forced. JavaScript is well known for its flaws, but as a lot of transpilers (ES6, TypeScript, Elm just to name the ones I know most) that solve most, if not all, its problems.

Elixir/Erlang (2015-, 4 prod apps): my actual love! Relatively easy to learn (even if it’s totally different syntax/approach/reasoning), crazy fast, concurrent, distribuited (sort of builtin microservices), but not suitable for CPU intensive tasks (hello Python/Go/C!)

All the mentioned languages are pretty easy to learn, with awesome communities and fantastic ecosystems. Plus, a thing that is not so often considered: even a junior/average programmer in those languages has way more opportunities (in quantity and quality) for well paid jobs than a senior PHP one. Have a look at joab boards to get an idea.

Then there’s PHP, I’ve used it from 2001 up to 2008, I’ve built dozens of production apps (custom CMS engines, booking systems and marketing tools) mostly from scratch, then I promised to myself to never touch a PHP code again. Yes, it evolved in the last 10 years, good frameworks and libraries arised (inspired by Python Django and Ruby On Rails) but it’s still PHP (from a 360 degrees perspective) and their quality/productivity can’t be compared to the ones I mentioned.

Good developers tend to learn new languages, technologies, tools and patterns to get better at their jobs. They also tend to avoid PHP as much as possible 😉

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