Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What Makes PHP Better Than Other Scripting Languages?

Given that you are reading this post suggests that you belong to the web development industry. In case you do, you would certainly know about PHP. It is a server side scripting language that has received unparalleled popularity in the last few years. It is most commonly used for web development, but it can also be used as a general purpose programming language.

According to statistics by Netcraft (also available on php.net), there were over 240 million active sites using PHP in January, 2013. This is a whopping number which suggests that PHP has outdone most of its counterparts. A part of it can be attributed to the ‘Open Source’ nature of PHP, but there are many other features that make it better than some of the other scripting languages.


Before we compare PHP with some of the other renowned scripting languages, let’s spend some time in decoding the real advantages of using PHP. 

  1. Open Source : The very first thing to note is that PHP is free. Anyone can download the source code from PHP’s website and start programming.This reduces the risk involved with using PHP. Whether you are a novice or an industry stalwart, you always appreciate ways in which the associated risk can be curtailed.
  2. Speed : PHP is easy to use and that means that the coding can be done much faster.  By shortening the web application’s time-to-market, you introduce yourself to many opportunities.
  3. Scalability : PHP is scalable. Therefore, it allows for future extension of functionalities. Experienced programmers can easily add more functions to the code.This is a great feature for all kinds of development needs. We are living in a dynamic world, and we should be able to scale our web applications up or down at all times.
  4. Support : There is free support available for PHP. This is not just pertinent for new programmers, but sometimes experienced coders need help with a few aspects too.  In those cases, such free and extensive support can always come in handy.

The first comparison that we wish to draw is between PHP and ASP.NET. Both of these are extremely popular scripting languages and many programmers swear by them. It shall be interesting to note which language outscores the other:

  1. Cost : This is a no-brainer. PHP is completely free and ASP.NET isn’t. Firstly, you need to Windows as ASP.NET development can only be performed on Windows. Moreover, all ASP.NET apps need Windows hosting - which in many cases is more expensive than Linux. Hence, PHP scores over ASP.NET in this aspect.
  2. Scalability : In terms of scalability, both scripting languages seem to be on the same pedestal. Top websites of the world make use of these scripting languages and they love the scalability that these two offer.
  3. Support : We mentioned above of how extensive support is available for PHP programmers.  On the other hand, ASP.NET doesn’t lag way behind either.  There are many forums that offer support for ASP.NET developers. However, the support for PHP does certainly outperform that for ASP.NET.
  4. Learning : Given that ASP.NET is written in C#, it can be difficult to learn for beginners.  On the other hand, PHP can be learned with ease. Many novices love PHP simply because of this reason.
  5. Performance : Both these scripting languages fare equally well in terms of performance. They have their own positives and negatives that need to be kept in mind.
Therefore, PHP seems to be a clear winner in this case. It is cost efficient, offers more support, is easy to learn, and is a robust performer.


Java is another power web development language. Some of the top websites make use of Java. Following is a comparison between PHP and Java:

  1. Learning : Like ASP.NET, Java is a little complicated to learn and fathom. You need to be well experienced in using Java to be able to make the most of the platform. On the other hand, we already know that PHP is extremely simple to learn and use. 

  2. Server Independence : Java isn’t exactly server independent. On the other hand, PHP is server independent and works equally well across different servers.

  3. Range : Finally, PHP can be used to build a wide variety of applications by programmers with different abilities.That range also helps PHP come on top in this comparison.
These are some of the reasons that help PHP get the better of Java.

Why I Use PHP?

Some of the above information would have certainly told you why I like to use PHP. Let me still take this opportunity to highlight and recap those features of PHP that I love the most:

  1. Easy : It is extremely easy to use and saves a significant amount of time for me. The language rules are not as strict.

  2. Integration : This scripting language integrates smoothly with HTML, CSS, Javascript, Jquery, and Ajax.

  3. Community : We mentioned about the kind of support that is available for PHP. That is because of the large community that makes use of this scripting language. 

  4. Updates : There are regular updates for the language and those include new features which are generally very useful for web development.I always look forward to these updates in the language.

  5. Cross-Platform : The applications done on PHP are cross-platform.This is extremely crucial for me as most of my clients need apps that can work seamlessly across different platforms.  They don’t wish to spend time and money on developing different versions of the app for different platforms.

  6. Free : Finally, the language is free.This reduces the cost involved in development and the risk associated with it.
In short, PHP is one of the best scripting languages available to modern-day programmers.  The various features of this language outdo the ones available with other popular languages. I use it frequently and I recommend it for other programmers too.