As steady digitization proliferates our lives, the way we study, work, play and even interact with our loved ones is dependent on trending technologies. The field of software development in Sri Lanka (or even elsewhere, for that matter) is no different, since changing technologies demand an equal shift in the way digital products are created. No matter how rapidly technologies change, the objectives held by most businesses stay constant, at their very core; any change is only subject to a shift in consumer trends, if at all.
Even though the arena of application development (and technology, in general) may be abuzz with much discussion at any given point in time, building a digital product that can meet bottom lines is what’s truly important on a business level. This is also one of the key reasons why certain complex technologies have still survived. Albeit being intricate, their resourcefulness is well worth any challenges faced in due course.
In turn, this is also why PHP has gained popularity as a programming language for developing high-performance websites. In spite of being a tougher language to learn in comparison to other languages, PHP has thrived in the wake of its many complexities. From being a server-side scripting language to having fluid cross-platform capabilities, it has given rise to extensive resource libraries which offer a plethora of supplements for even the novice developer. From leading websites to website builders that offer capabilities of self-creating your own web presence, PHP has been at the forefront as the programming language of choice for a significant number of developers today.
In spite of losing some popularity during recent times, PHP is still here to stay owing to the many great qualities it still massively offers for websites of all shapes and sizes. As a dynamically typed language (which is basically a programming language that verifies variable constraints during run-time, as opposed to compile-time), errors are more prevalent. But then again, ensuring well-written code that is clear and concise is also possible with PHP – especially after its many version updates.
Here, we’ll outline the most important aspects of PHP; starting from what it fundamentally is, and over to its many advantages and use cases.
In layman’s terms, PHP is a server-side scripting language that is used to develop websites. Although PHP is popularly used for building websites, it is still a general-purpose scripting language. This means that other types of digital applications can also be built using PHP.
This has to be one of the first things that may come to mind for many, when thinking about the many advantages of PHP. Backed by leading frameworks such as Laravel and Symfony, PHP is abundant with code libraries, plugins and other resources to create the most customized websites. With an extensive array of resources available for development, developers continue to choose PHP, in spite of certain syntax-related drawbacks.
Additionally, leading cloud support services offer hosted solutions to build, deploy and operate digital applications, and PHP-based applications are no exception. This provides greater convenience for both developers and businesses. While developers need not worry about sourcing and maintaining equipment, businesses enjoy the usual cost-savings associated with cloud services.
PHP is compatible with most leading database management systems, which range from relational to non-relational counterparts. From MySQL to MongoDB, PHP’s high-level communication tendencies with database management systems across the spectrum makes it a good proponent for building data-driven websites which depend on constant streams of input and output.
PHP is particularly popular for building e-commerce websites – and this is possibly a good reason why. Requiring a stringent flow of data with every user request and transaction, e-commerce websites are heavily reliant on their database systems just as they are to their flagship web platforms. With PHP able to smoothly bridge the gap, this proves to be highly advantageous for using the very same to develop e-commerce platforms.
After PHP 7.0 was released, the language has delivered better speeds, even surpassing comparatively faster languages such as Python. This has been highly beneficial for many reasons. For one, sites using PHP now enjoy faster page load times, which can be a boon for e-commerce platforms that need to retain visitors as well as process large amounts of data.
Secondly, fast page loads also help from an SEO standpoint. This then elevates sites at a higher search ranking, since sites which load faster are interpreted as quality options for users. The SEO benefits in this regard also extend over to AMPs, which is an open-source project by Google to provide users with fast-loading mobile webpages. Many leading CMS/website builders such as WordPress already offer relevant plugins to create the AMP version of a website. With WordPress being a platform that has been developed by PHP, it suffices to say that PHP is an integral foundational component for the creation of AMPs. On the other hand, custom-developed PHP websites can also be given their AMP versions, by creating a custom version per se.
While numerous popular examples exist when it comes to PHP-powered web platforms, these three examples are great for understanding the scope that PHP possesses across the web.
As one of the world’s most widely used social media platforms, Facebook has been developed using PHP. However, just like most tech-oriented startups, Facebook also paved its way to the social media giant it is today through humble beginnings. What started off as a basic way to share updates with family and friends has now grown to become a media platform that is in a league of its own. From comprehensive advertising systems to video streaming, the Facebook of today offers much more than a simple status or photo sharing application of yesteryear.
As a result, the evolution of Facebook since its inception in 2004 is also a great indicator of PHP’s versatility. In other words, PHP has been diverse enough to always meet the needs of the world’s most popular social media giant, hence being the programming language of choice throughout. On the other hand, PHP has received negative feedback owing to its high complexity. However, this is something that has always turned into a strength in such situations, since highly demanding websites also require equally demanding programming languages/frameworks – something which PHP has promptly lived up to.
Similar to how Facebook dominates the social media arena, WordPress is a contender of an equally high calibre in the CMS field. Being the first choice for developers and business owners alike, WordPress has long since held a monopoly in terms of offering website layouts that can be self-assembled by someone who isn’t tech-savvy. With limitless options available for plugins, customization is never an unlikely prospect; build your very own web presence exactly as you like it, sans any compromises.
For WordPress to offer such high levels of customization, its development in PHP forms to be the core of everything the platform is capable of offering to the end user. Along with the base site being coded in PHP, its plugins are also developed using the very same.
With a leading website builder and its associated plugins all based off of PHP, this sheds light on just how indispensable PHP is. Conversely, being a PHP developer opens up the opportunity to also work proficiently with a vast number of sites and themes that originate from WordPress. In turn, this magnifies the resourcefulness of learning just the PHP language, as it provides far greater utility than simply being able to code in the one language.
Another leading contender in its respective field, MailChimp has been the go-to email marketing provider of choice for businesses of all sizes. Whether it’s for sharing static monthly newsletters, or to integrate re-marketing via email distribution, MailChimp has it all. But just like Facebook, this email marketing service has also long since evolved to offer more than just email. MailChimp is now a unified digital marketing solution in itself, offering everything from marketing automation to marketing CRMs that cover features such as behavioural targeting and data-driven forecasting.
But that’s not all. MailChimp is also home to a fully-fledged content studio that provides a repository to store images, while also assisting in creative layouts with the power of AI. Developing websites through third-party platforms and integrating them is also something that MailChimp has now offered the convenience to skip out on, since it also offers the creation of a free website, along with developing custom landing pages and executing social media ad campaigns all from one centralized location.
Once again, this reinforces the high level of versatility that PHP executes as a programming language, especially one which is well oriented towards web development. Its stringent database management capabilities further strengthen its repertoire, thereby offering clients like MailChimp a truly holistic coding environment.
The PHP programming language is a server-side scripting language that also offers seamless cross-platform capabilities. Although having lost some popularity in the midst of simpler languages, PHP has still retained its vigour, thereby being a consistent option for many a developer. PHP is an all-purpose generic programming language, but it has long since become highly inclined towards web development projects, owing to the many advantages it can offer for the very same.
As businesses seek to develop web platforms to display/sell their products and services, requirements range far beyond simply creating a web presence as a one-off project. Being a dedicated AWS partner that provides optimized technology solutions to businesses of all volumes and industries, the importance of amalgamating web applications with cloud services cannot be stressed more. PHP-backed websites offer the flexibility to remain hosted, while facilitating superior data functions. These may just seem like technicalities. But in reality, they can make all the difference to deliver a website that is truly reliable for end users.
Irrespective of the nature of digital products that are released and the technologies used to create them, businesses ultimately wish to increase sales conversions and retain customers. In an age when competition never seems to cease for even the most niche offerings, delivering a web presence that can precisely provide what target markets need is nothing short of a challenge. SEO also plays a role in determining whether users eventually see your website or not. PHP’s fast page loads and adaptability towards AMPs further leverage even the most passive of SEO efforts.
Particularly popular for developing e-commerce websites, PHP’s confluence with database management systems both relational and non-relational further supplement the potential of online shopping cart websites. While such advantages maximize the scope which PHP can offer for businesses across the spectrum, its drawbacks (especially pertaining to a fairly complex syntax) become manageable in the long run.