Modern PHP: A New Hope

For many people, PHP was their first language. For many people it still is. What makes PHP so great, is that it provides a large standard library. It’s easy to make things. It allows you to be productive quickly. There’s a lot of people out there who haven’t looked at PHP in a while. Sound like you? If so, it’s time for you to look at PHP again. Learn it anew – this time with fresh eyes. Much has improved with modern PHP, yet people are missing out.

Many people under value PHP. Their understanding of PHP is out-of-date, based on what they thought they understood at the time. However, the language features have matured, the tools have improved, and the culture and the community have grown. In the late 90s and early noughts, there wasn’t a strong, universal, idea of what good PHP development was. The concepts of coding standards, and design patterns, weren’t popular then – or that well understood. Some people moved on to other languages. Some of them moved on with PHP, and corrected their mistakes, and their early perspective on development. Back then, when people started out with PHP, everyone was focused on “making things work” and being productive. They weren’t aware of higher ideals like developers are now. Things like the DRY principle, writing clean code, or the SOLID principles weren’t known. It wasn’t really until we started building Frameworks and CMS in PHP, that things started to improve.

Modern PHP

Modern PHP is modular, autoloaded, version-controlled, and has tests. It despises the NIH Syndrome, and uses Composer to pull in 3rd party code. It’s primarily object-oriented, with some recent efforts to include aspects of functional programming. It’s crafted by developers who are continuously learning. Modern PHP complies with PHP Standard Recommendations (PSR), which are designed to maximize inter-operability between projects.

Wrap Up

Much has changed in the PHP world. On the surface, you might think PHP hasn’t changed. The base syntax and function names are still the same. But it has! With each subsequent version of the language, features have been added – some of which are namespaces, traits, short array syntax, generators, and closures. Extensions have been deprecated and removed, while others have been added. PHP7 came with a significant performance increase. It’s twice as fast as PHP 5.6. The community has adopted the PSRs to improve code quality, and compatibility between projects. As you can see, not only has the language improved, but the PHP community itself is professional and skilled developer community, with a culture of continuous improvement. It’s time for you to look at developing with PHP again. Won’t you join us?

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