Since it was launched, PHP has grown to a largely used programming language. In fact, 78.9% of a server-side code of software development projects is written in PHP. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all in software development niche. While PHP programming language suits well some types of software projects, it turns out not the best choice for the other ones. Let’s explore the types of software projects that PHP technology suits the best, and compare it with the other popular back-end development language.

PHP programming in statistics

PHP vs Node.js vs Go

The study mentioned above shows that PHP is losing its position to other modern languages. Currently, Node.js and Go are among the most trending backend development technologies.

Node.js is an open source JS environment running on multiple platforms (like Linux, Mac OS, and Windows). Now, it is considered to be a strong competitor of PHP.

Go is a compiled programming language created by Google to increase the development productivity and resolve issues of other languages like C++ and Java.

Let’s compare the major strengths of these three languages:

PHP programming infographics

As we can see, the three technologies can handle multiple types of applications.  However, the ones which PHP fits the best are the following:

  • database-related software solutions
  • online communities
  • content-based web pages (news sites and blogs)
  • enterprise-specific software (CRM solution, CMS)
  • e-commerce software solutions
  • social networking websites
  • one of the best options for dynamic websites (together with Java, Python, .Net).

If you’re still in doubt about the best technology for your particular project, feel free to ask your software development service provider. Experienced experts will study your business needs & requirements, helping to choose the best language for reaching your goals.

PHP Frameworks and Laravel

Among the other strengths, PHP has a number of strong and industry-specific frameworks. These powerful tools ensure fast & well-organized software development process. In other words, they keep you from having to reinvent the wheel, making the code reusable. Here are some of the most popular PHP frameworks:

  • Symphony – often used for creating large enterprise projects. By providing developers with reusable code components, it saves your time and reduces the number of bugs.
  • Laravel – the most popular choice for building e-commerce websites
  • WordPress – commonly used for creating blogs & business websites.
  • CodeIgniter – a great choice for beginner programmers, as it is simple to use and fast-functioning.
  • CakePHP – the best fit for business-oriented web applications & solutions.
  • Zend – the most popular choice for developing middle-size applications.
  • Slim – a lightweight framework, commonly used for creating RESTful APIs & services. It’s also great for building small web applications.

From the above, Laravel is among the most often preferred frameworks by software engineers today. Thanks to its multiple features, the application development becomes a smooth & well-arranged process.  These are the common reasons why you might want to use Laravel for your webshop project:

  • Laravel PHP development allows fixing critical security issues & vulnerabilities
  • it makes web applications faster
  • Laravel simplifies the creation of authentication systems
  • the framework eases routing and caching tasks
  • it allows automating the software testing
  • reduces the server overhead
  • Laravel framework saves hours of work to developers

Long story short, Laravel simplifies the development process without neglecting the app functionality. It will be extremely useful for simplifying and securing the web development process.

Is PHP the right choice for different-size projects?

An important question is whether PHP is good for building large & complex applications as well as for small software products. It is commonly known that many large websites were created using the PHP language. To mention a few, Facebook, Wikipedia and Yahoo.  Why did such famous companies choose PHP instead of other, more modern technologies?

Most importantly, they could benefit from a higher development speed, fast functioning and easy integration with other technologies.

PHP doesn’t require significant system’s resources, which is extremely important for large & complex applications. This eliminates the risk of slowing down the app functioning. As a result, the app is high-performance and the turnaround time is very prompt.

Moreover, by using PHP you can make a corporate website more accessible. For example, you can easily incorporate Google Maps into a website, which greatly increases its visibility on the Internet.

Another important factor is that PHP runs on multiple servers & platforms. So, instead of writing multiple code versions for various platforms, you create only one codebase, cutting yourself great amounts of work.

Moreover, there is a huge PHP coding community, which can help to solve even serious project-related problems. Even if you’re stuck with some issue in your web development project, you can easily find a solution by screening through online forums & communities.

Last but not least, PHP programming provides results which are easily measured. As a result, you can analyze project results, ROI and improve your positioning on the market.
Use PHP programming for large & small projects

What are some of the possible issues when using PHP for large-scale projects?

Meanwhile, developing large-scale PHP projects include several pitfalls. Thus, you should be aware of them in order to avoid potential problems. The key risk factors to consider are the following:

  • Maintenance. Maintaining large applications might be difficult since the PHP language is not very extensible compared to other coding languages.  Thus, managing a large number of applications can be challenging for PHP developers.
  • Security. Taking into account the open-source nature of PHP, hackers can easily use the bugs in a source code to access the valuable data or to break the system.
  • Debugging. PHP has a poor error-fixing method. This can directly affect the front-end of your application in a bad way. Proper error-handling is even more important for large-scale software solutions since bigger applications entail more potential errors.  

Is PHP a good choice for small projects?

Small projects are of low complexity and scope, and usually, they are limited in terms of budget (the costs remain under 40-50k). PHP might turn out a great option for small business owners, especially when using some of the frameworks mentioned above, since it saves them considerable time & money. With no doubt, qualified PHP developers are easier to find and hire than Node.js or Go engineers. Furthermore, the PHP app development & hosting are cheaper compared to using other popular technologies.

Another major benefit of PHP for small business owners is its simplicity. You can create a small web shop using Laravel fast & easy, which makes PHP a more beneficial solution for small startups. So, no need to spend long hours preparing for a project or learning PHP. The language is very well documented and largely supported. No matter how specific your needs are, the programming language is a robust tool, allowing to build different kinds of software according to your needs.

Will PHP be still competitive in 2019?

There is a lot of saying about PHP becoming outdated & unavailable to respond to modern market demands. Why use PHP when there are so many alternative programming languages? While it is true that other technologies offer more benefits, PHP is not going to disappear anytime soon. What about rewriting the already existing PHP applications into another programming language?

It might be worth a challenge if the benefits outweigh the expenses. Switching from PHP to Go allows to improve the app performance & maintainability. Or, sometimes it happens that a created PHP solution doesn’t meet your business needs anymore or you encounter significant growth limitations. In these cases, migrating from PHP to another coding language might be the right decision. However, keep in mind that this process is quite expensive & time-consuming, it might take from month to several years depending on the size of your app.

Types of projects PHP language is NOT a perfect fit for:

  • research & machine learning (there is no viable PHP library for these kinds of projects)
  • banking & transaction websites (Java and .Net are considered a lot more convenient and secure for this type of software).

When choosing a software development company, make sure to translate clear requirements and ideas to your team. PHP is a powerful tool only if it’s properly and timely used. So, choose between the best PHP companies in Ukraine and begin your partnership with professionals. With a properly chosen strategy and a trusted software development partner, your project will certainly be successful.