What is PHP? Will it be Gone Tomorrow?

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PHP is one of the most popular programming languages. Although the frontend of the web is powered by the trio of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, PHP has stood the test of time when it comes to powering the backend of websites.

Today, the web scripting language is receiving tough competition from NodeJS, which facilitates backend development using JavaScript, and other server-side scripting options.

Still, PHP is relevant. But for how long? Let’s know that by starting with knowing a little more about the general-purpose scripting language.

What is PHP?

PHP (short for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is an open-source and general-purpose server-side scripting language for developing dynamic web pages and apps. In 1994, Rasmus Lerdorf came up with the concept of the programming language.

According to W3Tech, PHP is used by over 77 percent of the websites whose back-end programming language is known. It’s used to create web apps for major internet giants like Facebook, as well as CMSs (Content Management Systems) like WordPress, Drupal, Shopify, and WooCommerce.

Why Should You Use It?

PHP is capable of handling all aspects of server-side scripting, also known as the backend of a website. It may be to receive data from forms, generate dynamic website content, work with databases, create sessions, send and receive cookies, and send emails, among other things.

The programming language also includes a number of hash algorithms for encrypting user data, making it a secure and dependable server-side scripting language. These are only a few features that make it suitable for usage as a server-side scripting language.

PHP is compatible with all major operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS. Moreover, it is supported by almost all popular modern servers, including Apache HTTP Server.

The programming language also supports a broad variety of databases. The most essential feature of the general-purpose server-side scripting language is that it is completely free to use and download, and anyone can download PHP from the official website.

How Does PHP Work?

In order to code well in PHP, three things are required:

  • PHP Parser: This program analyzes PHP code and generates a syntax tree that converts the source code into a machine-readable format.
  • Server: The server is the program that runs your PHP files and creates web pages.
  • Browser: The browser will let you view the PHP page through the server just like any other online page.

Features of PHP

  • It can create, open, read, write, and close files on a computer.
  • PHP can handle forms, which means it can read data from files, store it in a file, email it to the user, and return it to them.
  • Database components can be created, deleted, and modified using the web scripting language.
  • Cookies and cookie variables can both be retrieved and set.
  • It allows you to restrict visitors’ access to specific areas of your website.
  • It has the ability to encrypt data.

Benefits of PHP

The general-purpose scripting language has a number of advantages that have helped it become so successful. Consequently, it’s been the language of choice for web servers for almost 15 years. Here are its most important advantages:

  • PHP is platform neutral. It works on all platforms, including macOS, Windows, and Linux, so you don’t need a special operating system to use it.
  • It is a free and open-source programming language. Anyone who wants to build on top of the original code is welcome to do so. This is one of the reasons why Laravel is one of the most popular frameworks of PHP.
  • It is a simple language to learn for complete beginners. If you already know how to program, you’ll be able to take it up quickly.
  • PHP connects to all databases, both relational and non-relational, with ease. As a consequence, it can swiftly connect to databases such as MySQL, Postgres, and MongoDB.
  • It has a vibrant online community that is active and helpful.

Who Uses PHP and Why?

PHP is primarily utilized to run servers and produce great products and websites by a lot of well-known corporations and IT behemoths.

It is used to power Facebook’s website. As a response, the social media giant returned the favor by publishing HipHop, a PHP implementation (it is discontinued now).

Wikipedia is one of the world’s major free sources of information on any subject. It is powered by the general-purpose scripting language.

The most popular content management system WordPress is developed in PHP. Additionally, Drupal, Joomla, Shopify, and Magento are also developed using the popular programming language.

Many best web hosting services, such as Bluehost, SiteGround, and Whogohost, rely on PHP to run their servers.

Is PHP on its Last Leg?

There’s a lot of discussion these days about whether PHP is on the decline or not. This is due to the introduction and growing popularity of other server-side languages such as JavaScript (Node JS), Python, and Golang.

Is the popular scripting language really on its way out? No, that is not the case. Despite considerable criticism and predictions of its demise, it is still utilized to power the servers of most websites.

On the job search platform Indeed, PHP rates higher than several other programming languages in terms of job availability. Every year, a large number of PHP developers earn a nice career creating WordPress themes and plugins. A typical PHP developer in the US earns $86,000/year.

What is PHP’s Role in WordPress?

WordPress is powered by PHP. The information on a WordPress website is stored in a MySQL database. This information includes everything from your blog name and article content to your plugin settings and user profile information.

PHP takes data from a database and puts it together into an HTML web page. Also, it allows you to restrict visitors’ access to specific areas of your website.

The majority of the files in a WordPress zip file are PHP files. Each of the files includes the code that enables WordPress to carry out its functions.

PHP vs. The Rest

Here are a few of the most popular alternatives to the general-purpose scripting language:

  • JavaScript is the most widely used programming language of the web. The emergence of Node.js and JS frameworks allows developers to construct server-side scripts using JavaScript. It is largely a client-side language and hence not directly similar to PHP. Both languages are incredibly versatile and have a wide user base.
  • Python is now one of the most popular programming languages on the market. Though it lags behind PHP in terms of web development usage, it has the potential to be used as a server-side language using Python frameworks, such as Flask.
  • Ruby is another open-source language from the 1990s that is utilized in the popular web development framework Ruby on Rails (RoR).

Finally, the language you select will be influenced by the project you’re working on and the characteristics you wish to emphasize.

Conclusion

In web development, PHP is still a useful and commonly used language. Despite the ridicule and argument over whether it is still valuable, developers continue to earn well using the server-side scripting language.

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