10 reasons for developing web applications with PHP

Posted: November 9, 2009 in Technology

1: Free, experienced support from a 1000 php communities
Actually, there are probably many more than 1000 communities that can provide you with php help. There are literally hundreds of dedicated PHP web development forums and hundreds more that have php sub-forums. Help for the php beginner is literally a forum post away. Generally speaking you’ll find an answer to your problem in a very short time. Getting help from more experienced php coders is a great pleasure because it can remove a lot of the uncertainty accompanying learning something new.

2: The cost of an open source application is nothing
Unlike other propriety coding languages (notably Microsoft’s aspx language) you don’t pay a cent to get started with php programming. In fact you don’t need to obtain or download any php software to begin. Simply use an open source editing tool and start coding. Upload your code to a cheap hosting account and you are away. You can readily obtain open source editors from a variety of sources. A search on Google for “php editors” returns hundreds of possibilities. As you progress you can download packages such as LAMP or WAMP so you can see php in action in a live server environment.

3: Open source has better security – because everyone knows what is in it
Again, unlike propriety web serving systems, everyone can see what php is made of. Some people will argue that this makes php less secure because everyone knows what php specific exploits exist. My view is that the open nature of PHP literally “forces” the php developers and community to keep abreast of security issues and to respond to them as soon as possible. Be aware however that it is easy to make simple security mistakes with php – and all languages suffer from this characteristic – you just need to do your research to keep your web applications secure.

4: Hundreds of existing php code examples
In addition to forums that provide advice and experience for free you’ll also find hundreds of examples that will help you get started and move ahead as a PHP Programmer. From simple code to connect to a database, more complex examples that allow you to grab data from an external website or a full-blown example of AJAX and php integration it is all there for you to study, take apart and build upon.

5: Scores of existing code frameworks
Frameworks are a relatively recent development and they can save you heaps of time and heaps of heartache. Simply, frameworks are like pre-fabricated houses. A team of developers have combined their efforts to solve the problem of repetitive programming tasks. Frameworks allow you to get up and running with both simple and complicated web applications in a matter of hours. There are scores of php frameworks for a wide variety of tasks. Again a simple search on Google will provide you with a large array of frameworks to choose from and explore.

6: Interoperability with web 2.0 applications
Modern web 2.0 applications are largely characterized by mashups and desktop style user interfaces. php is an excellent choice for interacting with other websites and providing rich user experience. Simple php commands like curl or fopen allow you to grab data from other websites with relative ease. Php works well with javascript so you can provide your end users with modern, responsive interfaces that are way beyond the old static interfaces of days past.

7: Many content management systems use PHP If you decide that you want to be a website designer or programmer then php is an excellent choice. Many of the modern content management systems (CMS) use php. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla – these very popular CMS packages all use php. Each CMS usually has a vibrant php developer community. And if you become expert in one or more php-based CMS then you stand a very good chance of finding ongoing work customizing CMS packages for clients or website providers.

8: php is scalable to the largest web applications
Some of the most frequented and popular websites on the planet use php. PHP will scale up to meet the most exacting requirements for websites such as Joomla.org and WordPress.com. These websites provide 24X7 availability for thousands ofconcurrent users without skipping a beat. If you have the next Facebook or Myspace application in mind then php is definitely a development language worth considering.

9: Most web hosting companies support it
Most of the website hosting providers will support php. It is a standard component of most Linux based hosting accounts. Remember we talked about LAMP and WAMP earlier? Well the ‘P’ stands for php. If you want your applications to run on Linux-based (and some Windows-based) web hosting platforms then php is an obvious choice.

10: Coding with php is fun!
Hopefully by now I have convinced you that php is a web development language that at the very least is worth serious consideration. And while you consider seriously the option of developing with php I’d like to leave you with this last thought: Coding with php is fun. I have spent countless hours writing simple php applications, customizing php-based CMS packages and generally mucking abut with php. And generally speaking (not counting the odd pulling out of my hair every now and then) every hour with php has been more than worth the effort and extremely rewarding.


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