Latest Trends in PHP Development
2015 was a huge year for the web community: the long-awaited PHP 7 was finally released to the market. Since 2004, no version of the language contained so many cool features for better performance and interoperability! What trends will shape its future throughout 2016? Why use PHP in web development? Read on to find out!
Latest dev trends in PHP
- The language keeps getting better. Tough competition among programming languages surely drives innovation. PHP 7 has a lot of improvements, including faster code execution, memory usage optimization and new interoperability features. Since December, 2015, the version has been updated four times (with heavy focus on security). The dev community also continues to improve earlier versions of the language (the fifth one in particular, since it still powers 98.5% of all PHP solutions). However, IT experts think the PHP 7 adoption rate will grow throughout 2016. It is already supported by WordPress, Magento and Symfony, so the forecast is more than realistic;
- Flexible use of PHP in web development. Interoperability is one of the major web application development trends. Here’s what we mean. You run an e-commerce website on WordPress & want to expand its functionality. There are so many frameworks out there; can you possibly “borrow” certain features from other libraries? Well, yes, but you need middleware (a piece of soft that functions as a bridge between an OS/database and applications). With the launch of Zend Expressive and Slim 3 middleware solutions, developers can access any package or component of any PHP framework! The feature has already been adopted by Drupal, Symfony and Lavarel;
- IoT solutions. By the end of 2016, the number of connected devices will reach 6.4 billion units worldwide. The Internet of Things is a complex system which consists of 3 layers (smart gadgets, infrastructure and apps). Due to its dynamic nature and speedy coding, PHP is suitable for IoT infrastructure solutions. What about apps that operate smart gadgets? According to Adam Englander (LaunchKey), PHP 7 is the first real step towards asynchronous programming. It means that PHP code can now simultaneously run several tasks in the same script. That’s the way connected gadgets “talk” to each other. And it’s not just a random idea: the technology is already implemented by several companies! The Watson IoT platform (IBM) allows developers to build apps that use GPS data. Temboo, a tech startup from New York, generates code snippets in popular programming languages (including PHP) for vendors to connect sensors to the cloud. The Xively Internet of Things platform offers an easy-to-use PHP SDK. And more is to come – provided the IoT breakthrough happens anytime soon;
- Enterprise applications for startups and small businesses. Last year, the global spendings on business software reached $ 149.9 billion. By 2025, 50% of US enterprises will run 10+ applications. How does the trend affect PHP? The language is certainly fit for enterprise apps, although it’s not always the best choice for fast-growing companies. As an enterprise gets bigger, it handles large amounts of data and has to compile the PHP-written code with Java and C++. However, the language proves to be a win-win solution for tech startups. With PHP, you can quickly build a minimum viable product to get your project off the ground (that’s what Facebook did – and they still have no plans to move away from PHP). The language is open-source (along with its ready-to-use bundles and libraries) and less affected by web development trends. PHP developers have lower hourly rates (there’s just too many of them). Finally, vendors can always resort to multiple guidelines and documentation to handle confusing dev tasks;
- Java and PHP. Why use business software built with PHP when there’s Java – the most secure programming language for enterprise apps? That’s a reasonable question indeed. In 2010, PHP dominated the web application market with 40%. A lot of business apps were written in PHP some ten years ago. In order to meet security requirements & high standards set by the industry, today businesses either rebuilt the whole enterprise software ecosystem with Java or…use both languages to cut dev expenses and upgrade the soft in a shorter time. Java solutions (like Quercus, a program implemented by the LiveProcess healthcare company) compile the old code and increase application productivity;
- Outsourcing PHP development. By 2019, the Global IT outsourcing market will grow by almost 6%. While most US/EU enterprises outsource PHP development to reduce costs, the real advantage of working with offshore vendors is the access to a larger talent pool. Eastern Europe has become the second most popular outsourcing destination (right behind Asia). Companies from former USSR countries (Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, etc.) cut their teeth on PHP development and offer reasonable hourly rates ($ 35 on average).
In case you doubt the use of PHP in web application development still makes sense, here are some facts to reassure you. The language has been around since 1995. Currently it’s ranked sixth by Tiobe Index. It has a vast developer community and excessive libraries. Over 80% of all websites (including Wikipedia and Facebook) are built with PHP. And the language is getting better. Provided you outsource PHP software development to a reliable vendor, your acquaintance with the language will be most pleasant.