Why PHP, a web general-purpose scripting language used by such giants as Facebook, WordPress and Slack, significantly loses the market recently?
or is it just going through some image turbulence? Let's find out the answer in this article.
Why PHP Is Losing The Market
Let's have a look at some market statistics. By the end of 2009, PHP had a stable position on the market, attracting more and more enthusiasts of this general-purpose scripting language. But in 2 years, it began to decline from 10% to 5% market share. By 2014, PHP's market share had dropped by 50% and had reached an ultimate low of 2.5%. So what was the reason for such a drastic change in the market?
One of the main reasons was PHP’s simplicity. Why? The disadvantage was that it was relatively easy to shoot a security hole in it. PHP has faced this problem for a long time. On top of that, in 2014, PHP's most prominent supporter, Facebook, launched Hack as a scalable alternative to PHP. And that was the beginning of PHP's slippery slope.
Besides market loss, PHP drops in the programming rankings as well, and that makes developers think that using PHP is passé. According to Tiobe Index, the most popular programming language is Phyton, followed by C and Java placing in the third position. PHP dropped from the eighth position in 2021 to the thirteenth in June 2022, as we can observe in the table below.
Will PHP Become Extint By 2024?
Data provided above may indicate that PHP is slowly becoming obsolete. But that isn't true. It’s still a popular scripting language that is used by millions of websites and applications. It’s constantly being updated and improved by the PHP community.
We can't forget the fact that it remains the programming language of some of the world's largest platforms and websites, like Facebook, WordPress, Slack, and Wikipedia. Just imagine: if PHP no longer existed, entities like these would also have to cease to exist or transform to other programming languages. And that would require some serious investment of time, money, and work, causing a lot of disruption to development ecosystems. This makes such a scenario difficult to imagine.
To explain it better, let's have a look at WordPress, as an example. If WordPress developers wanted to migrate the entire platform to another language, it would take years. Not to mention that every plugin, theme, and other WordPress add-on would have to be rewritten from scratch. Thiso seems to be quite an unrealistic vision.
The declining popularity of PHP in recent years has caused many to doubt its future. It's crucial to keep in mind that a drop in PHP's ranking on lists like TIOBE doesn't imply a decrease in its overall usage. All it means is that PHP is being used less frequently than
other languages—not that developers are moving existing PHP apps to other languages en masse.
What Is The Future Of PHP?
No one can predict the future, but the data in this article suggests that PHP won't die. Even if it may seem that PHP is in decline, to be honest, its community is still very proactive. Despite this, PHP itself and the way developers use it will change. The most anticipated upgrade will be an improvement in PHP's reputation as a modern language that is still useful in the Cloud-Native age. We already can see some changes. In June, PHP announced on Twitter the new release of PHP 8.1.7 with security and bug fixes. Another space for improvement is making PHP more programmer-friendly. This became one of the main scopes of the PHP 8th version release.
Still, it's worth emphasizing that the PHP community is doing a great job. PHP's Twitter account has gathered more than 97,000 followers. But there are more sights that PHP is just doing fine. Let's have a look on the PHP section on Reddit. Currently, it has 150,000 members, with a lot of discussion going on about frameworks, IDEs, and other relevant news and topics. If you’re still worried about PHP’s health, here’s some good news: The RedMonk Programming Language Ranking for 2022 places the language in 4th place.
PHP is a popular general-purpose language that powers many popular websites and applications. While it may not be as popular as some newer languages, it’s still widely used and supported by a large community of developers. Many of the world's most successful companies use PHP, so it's not going to die in 2023. On the contrary, we predict that it's going to become more popular.