Is PHP on Life Support?

Is PHP on Life Support?

PHP 7.2 goes end of life (EOL) on the 30th November 2020 meaning known security flaws will no longer be fixed and sites are exposed to significant security vulnerabilities. It is important to update them to a newer version.

Schrodinger’s cat. That is the first thing that comes into my mind when I get this question. If you are familiar with the thought experiment, you will agree with me that the answer to this question is relative. Muttering out the word “PHP” these days in a group of developers can get you the ugliest stares or the loveliest smiles. For some, it is like a curse word. For others, it is the reason for their existence.

The fact that PHP is a simple back-end language to learn and use should be enough to keep it on the map, but somehow it still gets a bad rep. What do I mean by that?

  • Most coding boot camps (at least the reputable ones) are no longer teaching it.
  • The language has terrible documentation compared to others.
  • The chances of getting PHP internships and jobs are getting slimmer every day. If you are lucky enough to land one, the pay is not that great.
  • There are no modern resources to learn the language and reputable educators on platforms like YouTube, Udacity, Udemy, Skillshare, and the like are not championing the language.

Truthfully, PHP is no longer a first-class citizen. It almost seems as if the market is going out of its way to phase it out. So what keeps it relevant?

According to statistics, PHP powers 78% of the pages on the internet. Seems pretty undead, right? But here is the thing: A big chunk of that is thanks to content management systems that are based on PHP, like WordPress, CodeIgniter, Drupal, etc. The rest (in my opinion) comprises legacy projects that are in their final stages of life or reincarnation. By this, I mean most of the PHP-based projects that have managed to stay alive are migrating to different modern technologies like Node.js and Django.

I am well aware that there is still some development and maintenance on PHP, but it is no longer the first choice for developers. I have seen many job posts on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour for migration from PHP to the new technologies. Many developers out there dislike PHP because of its disadvantages over the advantages.

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