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PHP Programming Upgrades

The New PHP 254

An anonymous reader writes "This article at O'Reilly Programming suggests that PHP, a language known as much for its weaknesses as its strengths, has made steady progress over the past few years in fixing its problems. From the article: 'A few years ago, PHP had several large frameworks (e.g. CakePHP, CodeIgniter, and so on). Each framework was an island and provided its own implementation of features commonly found in other frameworks. Unfortunately, these insular implementations were likely not compatible with each other and forced developers to lock themselves in with a specific framework for a given project. Today the story is different. The new PHP community uses package management and component libraries to mix and match the best available tools. ... There are also exciting things happening with PHP under the hood, too. The PHP Zend Engine recently introduced memory usage optimizations. The memory usage in PHP 5.5 is far less than earlier versions.'"
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The New PHP

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  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:28PM (#46403433) Journal

    I've been complaining to a friend of mine about PHP. I was an early adopter around 1.0/2.0, avid user at 3, and have fallen out with it since then. PHP was good, even revolutionary at the time because you either had C or perl PHP had a friendliness to it... Something that ended up making it second rate.

    It's always been second rate. Even the PHP devs themselves end up coding vulnerabilities. And look at MtGox. What was it coded in? PHP!

    Why in 2014, do I have to decorate variables with '$'? Why is the assiciative array syntax take two characters that look a comparison operator? Why do I need == and ===? ANd vaiable confusion between $_GET, $_POST and $_COOKIE

    No one can do a safe site in PHP, it's just too much work to 1) know best practices and 2) code it.

    Finally the web has changed. Back when it enabled a dynamic site, it was the shit. In a web 2.0 world it is shit. You've got to work with MIME, HTML, PHP CSS, JSON, JavaScript.... There is no "php" solution.

    Today, there are many ways to develop dynamic web content. My favorite two are Node[JS] and witty ( While there is no "ace of the page" the Witty apprror say SPDY2.0, approach is best, where you write your application code and it renders code for whatever browser and browser capabilities it has. If Websockets, HTML6, or SPDY2.0 comes out, you just recompile your app against the new library that just uses the new features as appropriate.

    In retrospect, there never really was a time when PHP was a "good thing".

  • Perl vs PHP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:29PM (#46403445) Homepage Journal

    Being long in the tooth I do all my web development via Perl using my own nice call back templating engine and of course Nice separation of code and html -neither of the two find themselves in the same file. Once in a while I have to do some repair work for customers in PHP and in horror find the html and code mixed to together with wild abandon and massive uses of global variable and I wonder PHP is so darn popular.

  • by MarkRose ( 820682 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:37PM (#46403533) Homepage

    Many of the problems with PHP are from the crappy language implementation. I recently came across a Java implementation of the language. It's been around forever, but as I hadn't heard of it, I figure many people reading this thread haven't either. It's Quercus []. It's certainly worth a look as a Zend alternative.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:43PM (#46403597)
    I've never done my own garbage collection, and PHP just updated it in 5.3 [].

    PHP works, it's fast as heck, and I can do anything you can do in python/perl just as well and way faster. My host for my hobby site (Shameless Plug []) gives me php and a mysql DB for $7 bucks a month, and that's probably more than I should be paying. If I want perl/python that goes up to $100/mo...
  • Still waiting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ziest ( 143204 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @08:45PM (#46403629) Homepage

    I'm still waiting for PHP to be completely case sensitive, a sane scoping scheme and real object oriented (can you say polymorphism)

  • Re:PHP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mitchell314 ( 1576581 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @09:55PM (#46404223)
    I was about to make a joke, but seriously, the only language I can think of that doesn't have some nasty gotcha is . . . . ugh . . . BASIC. Python has the whole whitespace deal, Perl code tends to be unkempt, Java is fuggin java, Ada is a secret government spy, I don't even want to talk about C++, Bash is fine as long as you never have the misfortune of using quotes or variables, C guarantees regular segfaults, Matlab/Octave will delightfully inform you of your bugs deep in system library code, SAS's userfriendliness pars that of installing Linux from scratch, you can't write more than four lines of Fortran without painting some Star Trek action figure, and just fuck Cobol.

    Honestly, BASIC's wins this round just by virtue of being so limited that it's hard to shoot yourself in the foot. I don't count GOTO, as jumps aren't really language specific. Having tutored programming for years, I can say that students are perfectly able to write speghetti code with or without goto. :p
  • Re:Inconsistency (Score:4, Interesting)

    by countach74 ( 2484150 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:10PM (#46404659)
    Also, "5"-2 yields 3, not zero. I think the fairly obvious reason for this nonsense is that string concatenation uses the same symbol in JS as adding (+). Combine with a loosely-typed variables, and it's a recipe for stupid things. The solution, of course, is to make sure you're adding numbers to numbers and not to strings, which is hardly unique to JavaScript; you wouldn't do that in C, C++, Python, or any sane language I can think of--except PHP.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:14AM (#46406585)

    I love Python, I think JavaScript is sort of OK and I did a lot of serious programming in ActionScript 2&3, both of which are quite simular to JS. I was basically forced into doing PHP by the market. I never really liked PHP but I really never hated it either. The thing about PHP is that it's so specific in its domain and such a hack that no one doing PHP development for a living will go around boasting about the greatness of the language. There is a refreshing lack of arrogance in the PHP community which, in my observation, makes it very easy for n00bs to pick up. As a result we get countless people reinventing the wheel in PHP and discovering basic programming patters anew for them selves and starting yet another Framework/CMS/Whatnot and the results often are really bizar. But the community remains alive that way.

    F.I. I'm working myself into Drupal at my current employer because it's the prime go-to CMS here. It's like a live alice in wonderland trip. A strange historically grown mess, barely tamed by sanitiy and a relentless chaotic community that all by accident seem to come up with hacks that somehow solve the problem in some way. And yet there's a solid global corporation building its business all around Drupal []. The surreal hacks with which the Drupal people solve their problems are mindboggling, and yet everybody seems totally OK with it. And Drupals track record of deployments is impressive.

    I guess with PHP it's somehow like the C vs. Lisp argument: C is so shitty compared to Lisp that you have to get yourself together and work as a team, or you won't get anything done. Hence Lisp has this loner exisitance on the side and all the real work gets done in this ancient C thing.

    PHP is a simular thing. It is so bad that no respectable programmer would pick it up voluntarly nowadays, but yet it grew out of Perl (which is worse in some ways), was somewhat of an improvement and was at the right place at the right time. The badness of PHP accounts for its considerable lack of arrogance (compare the PHP community to the Ruby community for instance) and for no one feeling guilty when he does a quick bad hack.

    As a programmer you don't feel dirty when you do bad programming in PHP, you already felt that when you picked PHP as the solution. Hence quite a bit of work gets done in PHP. That's why PHP has Drupal and Typo3 and Joomla and the Java Community has nothing of that proportions. The barrier of entry into PHP is *very* low which gives it its momentum.

    My 2 cents.

Air is water with holes in it.