PHP: A Multi-purpose Language

Forwords

This article can be easily understood by non-technical / semi-technical readers. In this article, i am not going to confuse readers in “Pros” and “Corns” instead i am providing the facts straight forwardly on "Why PHP has become the most powerful multi-purpose technology.

Why PHP?

The key to succesful software product is to find the best trade-off between “Ease of Use”, “Ease of Learning” and "Efficiency (Faster and Higher in Throughput), when choosing Technology. Here, by “trade-off” i mean the technology should not be on an extreme like “Fastest but hard to learn and harder to use” and it should also not be on another extreme “Easier to learn and code but slowest and unreliable for Business”.

Multi-purpose ?

By year 2020, PHP-7.4+ has become one of the world’s top fastest, effcient, and most powerful multi-purpose language (and now shipped with many compiled components “Extensions”). It is easiest to learn, and to deliver solutions within minimum time and in optimal cost.

Note that PHP7 was the fastest “interpreting” programming langauge among all interpreting languages like Python, and JavaScript.

It worths considering Modern Tools mentioned below which can empower PHP Applications:

Swoole: Swoole is blazing fast (Native / Compiled) “Asynchronous” programming Framework for PHP and C++. On Techempower benchmark, it is ranked as top fastest framework among 277 frameworks which were tested with MySQL.

Ref. URL: Benchmark PHP Swoole vs NodeJS vs Go | by Rio Astamal | Medium

Also, see the performance becnhmarks on Techempower below:

Swoole is best fit for (in-memory) Asycnhronous REST APIs (Micro-services), Internet of Things (IoT), Game Programming (like, Netty), Network Programming, Data Sciences / Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning. It supports all popular protocols like HTTP-1/2, Web Sockets, TCP, UDP, MQTT. It loads PHP files in memory (RAM) hence it performs automatic caching of Application configuration. With that the problem of loading Application Configurations on every User Request is solved. Therefore, Swoole essentially behaves like an Application server for PHP Applications along with support for Multi-threading and Multi-processing. Swoole has architecture similar to Google’s Go-lang which makes it orders of magnitude faster and effcient than Node.js, Python, plain PHP, Laravl and other PHP Frameworks.

Phalcon: For Enterprise-scale Applications, it is always wisdom to have Application’s Infrastructure (Plumbing) Layers (like those that form the foundation of Event-driven, DDD or MVC / HMVC) in compiled (which means system’s binary-) format. This makes PHP Application faster and reduce them to smallest footprint (and light weight). Like (Asynchronous) Swoole, Phalcon is also compiled PHP Framework (and auto-attaches to PHP as PHP-Extension). Contrarily, all other PHP Frameworks base their thick Infrastructure-layer (Plumbing Layer for Grunt-work) using PHP itself due to which performance of all PHP Frameworks remain much slower than the (compiled) Phalcon framework.

Unlike Laravel (PHP Framework which exposes an obsolete Monoithic Architecture), Phalcon Framework supports MVC, HMVC (Componentization / Granularity / Modularity), and Micro-services Architecture.

Even a “fresh-developer” of “plain-PHP” needs max three hours to master “Rapid production of mass Microservices (backend functions)”. Installation is as easy as download PHP extension in right folder of PHP Extensions. Beside this Phalcon has elegant and extensive documentation, and comes with powerful Dev. Tools for Rapid Development & Delivery.

See helpful links below:

Zephir: Zephir-language optionally allows transforming PHP code into C++ and then compile it to PHP Extension. This makes PHP Application almost as faster as “compiled code” and “secure”.

Parallel: Parallel is built-in feature in PHP-8.0 (In PHP-7.2.x, it can be imported from GitHub). Parallel allows “parallel programming” using “PHP threads”.

FFI: Built-in FFI support now opens the door on PHP developers to interface with “shared libraries” (dll, so etc.). Therefore, it is possible to call C-libraries and Rust libraries directly from PHP. For example, PHP can interface with C API for TensorFlow or Unity or Unreal Engine. (This is possible with Zephir, Swig, MFFI also)

See the experimental work :

PHP-ML and Rubix ML : PHP-ML and Rubix ML are two popular and stable Machine Learning libraries for PHP.

https://rubixml.com/

Conclusion:

PHP is order of magnitude faster / effcient than many popular languages like Node.js / JavaScript , Python Framework. PHP has all the essential ingredients for modern event-driven asynchronous programming and is well known for intrinsic bounty of “Ease of Learning” and “Ease of Use”.

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