PHP programming language has two faces. On the one hand, for many years it has been used in building websites, on the other hand it is an object of programmers’ jokes. It is hard for a layman to tell, whether it is a serious and common work tool, or a disliked and unused scripting language. So what is PHP? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Check it yourself.
What is PHP?
PHP is a scripting language, which is one of programming languages. Distributed on the basis of an open-source license it quickly became a popular tool used to build websites. Most languages are compiled into a computer form – it is different with PHP, which is interpreted by another program, executing the written code.
PHP is also a scripting language. It is therefore used to create scripts that connect various systems and applications. It allows to complete the necessary information and adjust the website to the user’s actions.
It is also worth mentioning that PHP works on the server side. What does this mean? A request from your computer is sent to the server. PHP inserts, embedded into the HTML code, are interpreted and replaced by the result of this operation. Only then the code is sent to your computer. Therefore, if you verify the page code, you will not find any PHP scripts in it.
In a nutshell, PHP is a server-side scripting language used to integrate complex systems and to provide communication between different elements of a website.
Strengths of PHP language
Almost 80% of all websites have some elements written in PHP language. Such a high popularity must be due to the specific benefits offered by this solution. What advantages of PHP are of most importance here?
The main advantage of PHP is that it is under a free software license. This means that not only its use is free of charge, but also its numerous libraries and frameworks. Both for private and commercial use. Using PHP on your website frequently means great savings on software purchases and introducing new functions to your website.
The language is also supported by an international community that constantly improves it and helps to find interesting solutions.
At this moment in time, PHP is one of the most secure scripting languages. Continuous development led to the introduction of protections against viruses and malware. That is why today scripts written in this programming language are considered to be among the safest, provided they are written consciously.
It has not always been so. The first open-access versions of PHP were relatively easy to hack. That is why there are stereotypes about the language and how hazardous it is. It is advisable to use up-to-date versions of PHP to avoid viruses on your site.
Websites using PHP often open much faster than those based on other programming languages. Furthermore, this language runs on any platform. It perfectly works as an integrator of other languages and various database engines.
An advantage that contributes to the popularity of the PHP language is its simple syntax. It is easy to learn how to develop your own scripts, so more users use it. The simplicity for beginners is also combined with an access to many advanced functions that professional software developers use.
The PHP language is object-oriented, meaning that it works on objects. This is a huge convenience when writing more complex scripts. It is especially appreciated by more advanced software developers.
Weaknesses of PHP
In addition to its advantages, the PHP programming language also has some disadvantages. These include:
- High variability in the names of built-in methods. Differences between older and updated versions can often introduce errors in scripts, and are an issue for the software developers.
- PHP does not support software developers and anyone can use any code layout. An improper coding style affects poor readability of written scripts.
- The final effect can be obtained in many very different manners. This means that in case of many solutions there is the necessity of testing and optimising.
- Opinion on the language. For many people this can be very discouraging. The PHP language is not one of the solutions that are most well thought and is an object of frequent jokes.
As you can see by the popularity of PHP on the Internet, the positive features far outweigh the aforementioned flaws. Although there are many competing languages for scripting programming, PHP will still be used for web development for a long time.
Is it worth using PHP?
Software under an open-source license is fully open source. This means that the community can make continuous changes and improvements to it. For this reason, the PHP language is changing all the time. At the same time, it is very popular and used both on small websites and in large on-line shops. It will certainly stay with us for a long time.
It is a good solution for people developing their own websites. PHP is simple and provides support from other users within a scope of ready-made solutions. At the very same time, it is completely free of charge. This means high functionality at inconsiderable cost.
At Global4Net one of the languages we use is PHP. Check out our careers section to see what opportunities we have!