Interview with a Dedicated PHP Developer

Today we are talking about coding in one of the most popular programming languages and the one with the big history behind, about PHP development. This language was first released on June 8, 22 years ago (1995). The amazing thing is, that despite all the problems and obstacles it had, the language is still one of the most popular and holds the 6-th position, according to TIOBE. For all these years PHP has gathered an astonishingly big community and had improved in many ways. It is considered to be one of the best languages for web development. Let’s take a closer look at this “veteran” with our Senior PHP Developer – Yevhen. So, here are some questions for him to answer.

Interview with the Senior PHP Developer

Why did you choose to learn and code in PHP?

PHP developer YevhenI’ve decided to enter the road of development and programming relatively late (I was 25 back then) and PHP seemed to be the easiest and the most appropriate way to dive into development, software development in particular. I didn’t really like PHP, yes, I’ve got my stereotypes and I was rather discouraged to start with PHP. But I didn’t have time to learn Java or Python. I really liked C++, but I didn’t have any commercial experience like developing real software. Thus, I’ve decided I would start with PHP and then continue or proceed to another language more appropriate in another time. Eventually, I’ve discovered that the problem is not PHP, not a language, the problem is the developers, who are doing it wrong.

Why was PHP loosing its popularity in past and what change helped PHP gain its popularity again?

PHP developer YevhenWell, PHP had and still has significant problems compared to other languages. One of them – lack of support for UTF-8 (Unicode). The support for Unicode is provided by some extra extensions like Mbstring and others. This led to some complexities and inconveniences, while developing some serious applications, there are quite a lot of really expensive applications to develop. For example, if you take Magento, you can’t say that it’s bad because it’s written on PHP, no, Magento does the trick, it’s really awesome in many ways. There were a lot of other concerns from the developers like inconsistent object model of PHP, constant changes in common with different patches and versions like Ruby features, traits from Ruby, Lambda functions, that don’t actually act like Lambda functions in other languages, the syntax which is really, really obsolete ($ sign for every variable). So there were quite some reasons for serious developers to stop using PHP. The most serious issue was the performance and PHP lost some positions when stable Java 8 was released. Then Python 3 came out, it wasn’t really smooth, but still had a better performance than PHP.

JavaScript with PHP – this is the combination most web developers used, so you would have to know at least two languages. Then, in 2009, Node.js has appeared and developers from this point can do front-end and back-end with only JS. PHP became obsolete and they tried to release PHP 6 to make it, at least, support Unicode out of the box but they have failed. Instead of releasing PHP 6 they came up with PHP 5.6 naming. All these complexities and the mess made many people turn away from PHP. Though, when PHP 7 was released, it had strict typing, significant performance increase, a lot of extra features like better Lambda calculus and strict types. It’s very useful when you develop something like enterprise-level application just like I do currently. This is something PHP had have been benefited from.

Why is Laravel the most popular PHP framework?

PHP developer YevhenWell, I’m not sure if Laravel is really the most popular, probably it has become more popular later. I can tell you why it’s popular, because it uses Symfony components and Symfony is really proficient in developing a flexible application and releasing independent utilities. So Laravel allows you using the best features of Symfony framework without using the framework itself. Laravel is oriented on rapid development and when you develop with Laravel you don’t think too much about how the framework works, you have a lot of tools, you have a lot of utilities, you have a lot of call-generators and things like that. The most reliable point of the Laravel is the fact that it has the biggest community. Currently, as far as I know, Laravel has a bigger community even compared to Symfony. When you have a big community, you have a big variety of open-source extensions like pre-configured applications like with Symfony, but it took too long for Symfony to release version 3, cause they got stuck with the previous one and thus became obsolete. As for now, they have released the 3rd and the 4th version is coming up so the situation is a bit different. I’m not most of the Laravel, but as far as I know, it’s really handy in usage. On the other hand, you can not get through the Laravel framework really fast, as you can with Symfony. Right now I’m developing with Symfony 3 and I’m able to really easily migrate from this framework to another framework like Falcon, Laravel or YII in a couple of hours and it won’t be an issue.

Is it possible to use Laravel and Symfony together?

PHP developer YevhenAs frameworks, I doubt. It must be two separate services like two separate web applications. Though, if you use Laravel you are free to use Symfony components and, as far as I know, Laravel encourages to use Symfony components in their applications.

Thus, Laravel took the best from Symfony and added something from themselves.

Why would you advise to choose PHP for Web development?

PHP developer YevhenPHP is much more secure than Node.js and especially than JavaScript. PHP is a bit faster to develop applications with, compared to Python, despite Python’s good performance at some point. You can consider PHP as a rapid application development tool. It has some history, a big community and quite some serious applications are already built with PHP and they have their experience to share with you, it’s probably already shared somewhere on Wiki or other sources. If we are talking about PHP, it’s much cheaper, so you benefit from the cost of development. The resource management is much easier as well, you can find developers much easier and if their development skills are promising, having a good leadership you are able to get a senior from a middle level in like no time.

What future is there for PHP as a technology?

PHP developer YevhenI can’t say much as the last version (PHP 7) was released just recently. Though from the point of performance, PHP is not the best one again. On the other hand, it has a lot of nice features and currently, PHP allows developing much more secure and efficient applications than PHP 5 did. As for me, the future of PHP is not certain at the moment and they have to prove it is still on the cutting edge of the technology. Only the time would show.

What would you change about PHP?

PHP developer YevhenI would like it to be more authentic, because currently, PHP is more like a Frankenstein: built from parts of other languages. The object model is taken from Java, the model of traits is taken from Ruby, the model of Lambda functions is stolen from JavaScript or ECMA 5, the syntax is Perl+C and it doesn’t actually have something really authentic. What I would add to PHP to make it more authentic are better packages or better name spaces, better access management like with C++ you can have public, private, protected access modifies. I would do the same and go further and make some namespaces private for better security and application “sliceablility”, so you can slice your application into microservices easily. Usually you start developing microservices application with monolith, then you distinct the parts in the monolith and start moving these parts to separate microservices and having private namespaces would make it much easier to prepare for microservice, so we still can have a monolith, but with private namespacing to imitate separate services and easily move them away to the separate application like move it basically to another server, this would help a lot. I would also go for a really popular Lambda functions declaring like in Swift or C# or in ECMA 6. I would also go for methods overloading, cause currently, this is something PHP really lacks.

Build Your Dedicated PHP Development Team with Mobilunity

So, after this conversation, I can surely tell that PHP, despite all its disadvantages, is a great solution for profitable and efficient web development. The number of PHP Laravel developers is outstanding, so it’s not too hard to build a team of experienced specialist. After all, the time has proven the reliability of this particular language. Click below to hire PHP programmers at Mobilunity.

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