It is difficult for so many to fathom the fact that a programming language from 1994 is still the most used one for websites all over the world. On the surface, only true evolution can be regarded as the credit behind PHP success. But there are many factors that make the server side scripting language the frontrunner when it comes to selecting a technology for both developers to work on and for businesses to host their websites on.
One of the biggest reasons for PHP’s success story is the collaboration it has made with multiple frameworks and tools that make the overall website development much easier than what it used to be. But that alone cannot survive the wrath of competition that any technology faces. The continuous evolution and adapting to new technologies like cloud computing and cloud hosting has resulted in PHP still being relevant.
History and Milestones
PHP over the years has had a clientele that is envious to most of its competitors. One of the most popular websites of our times was Facebook which used it as its default programming language. It originally meant Personal Home Page which presumably would elaborate the concept of having a website back in those days. It was later assumed that the true significance of the initials was Hypertext Preprocessor.
PHP was developed by a Canadian programmer of Danish origins named Rasmus Lerdorf. Interestingly, he wrote a few codes that could track the number of users who visited his resume that he put online. Much like any other invention in the history of the web, it too was meant to do something other than what it eventually ended up serving.
When these codes were put out there for people to see or use or even improvise upon, it started getting a lot of attention. The rest as they say is truly history. Here are some milestones that PHP encountered in the beautiful journey it has had:
Journey of PHP
- Launched in 1994 as a set of common gateway interface binaries written in C language
- Released the source code to the public in 1995
- Was known as FI (Forms Interpreter) for a brief period
- Got a complete makeover on 1996 as PHP was now a proper programming language evolved from a suite of tools
- By 1998, a survey indicated that nearly 60,000 domains had headers “PHP” which was 1% of all the domains on the internet back then
- An entirely new version, now known as 3.0 was released in 1997 where Rasmus did collaboration with 2 Israeli developers named Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski
- This new version supported Windows, Macintosh & Unix computers.
- PHP 3.0 accounted for approximately 10% of the web servers on the internet back then
- PHP 4.0 was powered by ‘Zend Engine’ which was derived from developers Zeev & Andi
- Released in 2000, PHP 4.0 supported third party databases and APIs, HTTP sessions, output buffering and many more features
- PHP 5 was released in 2004 with advanced features powered by Zend Engine 2.0
- Versions 5.3 and 5.4 were launched to test the features developers at PHP wanted in 6.0 back in 2009
- PHP 7 had some sort of confusion among its users as due to issues in compatibility, PHP 6 Unicode experiment was never officially released
- In 2014, WordPress based benchmarks showed 100% increase in performance
- The latest major version update PHP 8.0 was released in November 2020 and includes notable changes to the JIT compiler and syntax based changes
Top 5 Reasons for PHP Relevance in 2022
All the legacy aside, PHP had to still offer a lot of modern day features to stay relevant among new age developers. There are no alternatives to innovation. One of the biggest reasons why PHP remains relevant is because the control over the changes is down to the core developers and community. This makes this language approachable to developers who have fallen in love with it.
Here are some of the other reasons why PHP remains largely relevant even in today’s times.
WordPress when it was launched was to assist bloggers who wanted to put their content and relevant data like images and videos on a platform. Websites were much like personal spaces where people kept their data for others to see.
WordPress then emerged as a tool for developers to not just build blogging websites but to power all kinds of different websites. Since its inception, WordPress has used PHP as its de facto programming language. The beauty of WordPress is that it comes up with intuitive tools that make website building very approachable and convenient. Along with WordPress’s progress, PHP too had a long relevance over the years.
Just like WordPress, there are so many other frameworks that have kept PHP in the loop over the years. Popular frameworks like Laravel, CakePHP, and Drupal etc have offered many exciting features that make website building very easy and fast. Due to these frameworks’ nature to offer convenient website building experience, the overall project lifecycle of any website is shortened by a great deal.
Because of the shortened timeline, projects are delivered faster and that saves a lot of money as well. The eventual progress and evolution of these frameworks too provided PHP a lot of relevance across different generations. For new developers, building websites or web applications becomes a less complex experience when they use these frameworks. This is also one of the reasons why PHP and its core features remain relevant and popular among new developers.
PHP in its core is a very simple language compared to many others out there. It is object oriented and server side but with a very approachable syntax. Its easy-to-learn quality has also made it the best choice for new developers. Core team developers at PHP have always responded to the queries and suggestions that the users have put forward.
PHP has always remained open source. This makes it widely available and approachable for developers to build websites at low costs. This also enables frameworks to deploy futuristic features without having to worry about subscriptions for its core programming language. PHP is highly scalable and uses its own memory to execute commands which results in faster responses. This is the reason why PHP is regarded as one of the fastest responding programming languages out there. Because of these versatile features, skilled developers prefer using PHP and its network of frameworks over any other technology.
Third Party Integration
It has a plethora of libraries and SDKs that are very easy to implement. These resources make it very comfortable for developers to work on PHP. PHP also supports another very rapidly growing concept of APIs. It is very much possible to build APIs and deploy them in your website which is one of the fastest growing trends among developers. Another very futuristic adaptation PHP has made is to offer compatibility with cloud computing services like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Services. This is a futuristic concept where instead of permanently renting a storage space at a remote or local server, your website uses a cloud space which charges you on your usage and sessions.
PHP has a huge community of core developers, users and businesses who are all associated with each other. Because of this large community, PHP is able to address user queries and feedback in a very quick manner. Since the control of the technology is with its core developers, the innovation and updates take place very seamlessly.
The popular nature of this language also makes it a favorite for business owners as the development is cheaper and the support is strong. The sheer availability of php web development services makes it very popular among businesses. The official support is also very fast and updated. Apart from that, having a wide range of libraries, dependencies, SDKs and APIs also make the overall development of a website on PHP very easy. The resourceful nature of PHP is one of the key reasons behind its relevance.
Conclusive Future of PHP
We live in a world of third party integrations today. So anything that is not done by a core technology can be added with the help of third party integrations. These integrations are all highly compatible and work wonders in terms of offering features. It is only because of this that PHP has not had to roll out numerous updates. If the core of any programming language is simple and strong. All you need is some frameworks to offer intuitive assembling features and third-party integrations to build a strong website. With curated collaborations with frameworks and with the help of its core developer community. PHP looks pretty much future proof at this point.