The Road Ahead For PHP

The Road Ahead For PHP

Posted by: Rahul Vyas | Posted on: July 22nd, 2014


PHP was once the most popular language, but gradually it faded into the unknown alleys. However, over the last few years, PHP has gone through a transition and is making a comeback. Now the question is, why do we see a revived interest in PHP amongst the developer community?

PHP is pillared by some major improvements that hold it strong and help it thrive. Let’s have a look at some of them….

Managing Dependencies with Composer

Now managing dependencies with PHP, is just a click away. Using composer can save a PHP developer from lot of hard work. Composer is a dependency manager that pulls in all libraries and manages dependencies required on a project to project basis. A repository called Packagist, which includes common PHP apps, frameworks and components, is used alongside composer.

Making PHP Better and Faster with Hack/HHVM

PHP has evolved and become a lot more efficient and safe with Hack. Hack proposes to fix most of what’s wrong with PHP, by adding to it a lot of features that make the language better, more versatile and easy to use. For example, Hack adds features like static object typing that are not present in PHP by default.

On the other hand, HHVM enables faster execution by compiling PHP code to C++. In a nutshell, Hack is a programming language for HHVM. It is developed and used by Facebook, and seamlessly interoperates with PHP. Hack and HHVM are relatively new, however with such strong associations and the high value they offer, they will definitely have a long term impact on PHP.

Some Stellar Features Hack/HHVM Introduces Include:

Type Hinting: It makes type checking and bug detection in a PHP code easy.

Asynchronous Programming: With Asynchronous programming it is possible to have multiple activities running parallel, and there is no need to use callback functions for handling the results.

Production Ready Standalone Web Server: HHVM does not need a separate web server to run PHP web applications in a production environment.

Multithread Web Servers (that are threading safe): HHVM as a web server can accept multiple connection at the same time in separate threads.

PHPNG: Revamping PHP for Better Performance

PHPNG, is the latest development in PHP, it aims to amplify the performance and improve the memory usage efficiency of PHP. While executing PHP, a lot of time is consumed in dealing with memory allocations and this ultimately reflects in the PHP performance.

As a result, PHPNG stemmed from the need to develop improved memory management in PHP. These efforts proved to be successful to an extent, as when PHPNG was tested for a WordPress installation, it was measured that there was a 20% rise in requests per second.

Now it is a wait and watch situation, whether all PHP applications will show performance improvement, because for some operations PHP is in queue to fetch databases or cache access operations for completion. Speed improvements in PHP execution may not be of significance for such operations.


Now with all these advancements in PHP, there definitely seems to be a revived interest in the language. There is definitely light at the other side of the tunnel for PHP, and the popularity graph that started to decline in 2010 might have arrows going up in 2014.

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