I have a lot of debates about this with people. One of the most common reasons given for why PHP is so popular is because you can’t swing a cat without hitting a PHP developer. I say thats crap, and that you can swing a whole lot of cats before you hit a halfway decent PHP developer. Good developers who know and want to work in PHP are hard to come by. Consider that perhaps PHP is so popular because it does some jobs really well.
Terry Chay recently made an extremly funny and quite insightful post about Ruby (on Rails) in which he mentions:
“look at the top 100 websites on the internet: about 40% of them are written in PHP and 0% of them are written in Rails.”
Which is pretty interesting. To me, it says that PHP is a pretty good scripting language to be getting stuck into, that its something that you should be using if you want to develop web applications that are used by hundreds of thousands of users across the world.
I’ve met developers who consider PHP to be second-rate and who are ‘embarassed’ to admit competance in it on thier CV. Developers who just plain dont want to do PHP because it would ‘damage’ their career prospects to have used such a poor quality language for too long. I say this is crazy-talk and that the sort of numbers that Terry mentions (which I appreciate may not be accurate to three decimal places) just shows that PHP is a language that is being used in environments that other more traditional OO scripting languages are too delicate for. I wonder what sort of percentage of the top 1000 traffiked sites use PHP, or the top 100,000?
To me, PHP seems like its a stronger career prospect than ever.