Is PHP programming dead?

A recent study on found that 78.9% of all websites use PHP. That’s about one in every eight websites.

Although some programmers prefer Java or Python, PHP still remains the most widely used language for the web.

And, it’s certainly not dead if the majority of the market uses it.

Is PHP a Programming Language?

You may have heard people say that PHP isn’t a programming language. Is that true? It depends on the person answering the question.

Software purists would say “no” because it is not compiled code. However, most people include PHP in a list of programming languages.

Programming languages such as C++ must be converted to native machine code before they can run.

Compilers perform that function. A compiler attempts to translate source code to a runtime executable.

If the compiler identifies errors, it will not compile the code.  It produces a list of errors that must be corrected before the program will compile.

A Scripting Language

PHP is a scripting language, meaning it does not require a compiler. Instead, scripting languages are interpreted each time the code runs.

Because PHP does not compile, some programmers do not consider it a language. However, that is more of a theoretical difference.

Most people consider PHP a fourth-generation programming language.

PHP is used in web applications to add functionality to websites. It is a server-side scripting language that runs under a web service on a server.

Scripting languages such as JavaScript are client-side languages because they execute in customer-facing environments.

What Is PHP Used For?

As a server-side language, PHP is used in static and dynamic websites and in web applications. It resides at the server and is sent to web pages when needed.

PHP is not tied to a specific operating system, and it can operate under a number of web servers such as Apache and IIS. It functions as a software module or program and as a tool for processing computer-generated images.

Web-Based Environments

PHP is designed to operate in a web-based environment. For example, WordPress, which is the most popular website builder, uses PHP.

Facebook uses PHP, as does Wikipedia. Although today’s programmers may see PHP as outdated, it continues to operate on many heavily trafficked websites.

A woman using PHP programming language.

PHP supports HTML and XML, but it also supports images, documents, videos, and databases. The language has support for internet-based protocols such as LDAP, IMAP, and POP3.

It can open sockets and interface with databases such as MySQL. Here are a few reasons why PHP is a web favorite.

  • It is open-source with a large community of users.
  • Most web-based servers support PHP.
  • Manipulate server files and interface to databases.
  • Provide user access-control and encrypt data.
  • Manage cookies and collect form data.
  • Encrypt data.

With its built-in features and industry-wide support, PHP is a crucial language for web-based programmers to know.

Even in organizations that use more current tools have plenty of PHP programs that need to be maintained and enhanced.

Server-Side Scripting

PHP was designed for server-side scripting. The language was created to provide functionality that HTML could not.

All PHP code is run server-side, so no code ever resides on the client computer. The web server must support the PHP environment.

A PHP parser is needed to translate the source code into HTML for delivery to a web browser.

Command Line Scripting

Using command-line scripting, programmers can develop a PHP script that does not require a complete environment. Only the PHP parser is needed.

The command-line scripting enables programmers to schedule tasks at preset times or execute simple processing tasks.  It only requires the PHP parser.

Command-line scripts run faster than server-side scripting as there is no environment for the code to pass through.

Writing Desktop Applications

PHP was not designed to run on a desktop; it was designed for the web. Trying to write a graphical user interface (GUI) poses challenges.

Several solutions have been developed to create a PHP environment for desktop applications. Once the environments are installed, a few additional resources are required.

Although few desktop applications are written in PHP, it is nice to know that it is available.

How to Start PHP Programing

Learning HTML is a prerequisite for learning PHP. These two languages are codependent, so it’s best to understand what HTML can and cannot do.

That way, you will not write PHP code expecting HTML to do something it can’t. Once you know HTML, you can look at learning PHP.

PHP is one of the easiest languages to learn; however, it can produce some of the worst code. Why? It’s flexible.

Flexibility is one of the reasons PHP is popular. For example, It doesn’t burden programmers with large numbers of syntax rules.

At the same time, it doesn’t take much for PHP code to become spaghetti code that makes it more difficult to troubleshoot.

Careers in Web Development

If you are interested in a career in web development, PHP is an excellent place to start. There’s plenty of existing code that needs to be maintained.

The need for new or enhanced web development will continue to grow. The need for PHP programmers isn’t going to disappear.

No matter what programmers say, PHP is far from dead.

If you’re looking for a career that gives you the freedom to find meaningful work, learn PHP programming.

Discover the web development program options powered by Woz U. It may be the first step to a new career!

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