As I write this, PHP 8 has just released. The PHP community was all aflutter over the weekend installing playing, benchmarking, generally having a wonderful time with this early Christmas present.
I’ve iterated over this loop before. I was part of the community for the release of PHP 7. I saw the same excitement, the same squeals of glee when something worked. It was awesome then, it is awesome now.
I hope and plan to be around for the release of PHP 9 as well. I love being a part of this community and love to see the awesome things that it creates. Most of the vocal members of this community are part mad-scientist and part artist. That’s a great combination for creating things that can change the world.
The fun part is that the community celebrating the release of PHP 8 is very different from the community celebrating PHP 7. There are a lot of new people who have stepped into leadership roles as some of the old guard have moved on to newer pursuits. I am thankful for all the people that have helped us get where we are, but I’m excited about the new faces that will help us get to the next level.
Nothing lasts forever. I know that there will come a day – hopefully long into the future – when PHP is no longer a thing. But that day is not today. Honestly, you can’t even see that day from here.
Until that day arrives, we as a community need to keep finding common ground on which to keep working together. As long as there are developers writing code in PHP, and as long as there are core developers who care enough to keep PHP moving forward, then yes, we can keep moving to infinity, and beyond.
That’s the dream the ElePHPant has when it sleeps.
This is the time of year that everyone gets introspective. Everyone becomes a pundit and starts waxing philosophical. What was big this past year? What will be the prevailing trend next year? It is always the same.
Invariably, one or more of these well-meaning individuals will proclaim that PHP is dead and that “X” is the next trend in web programming. I have been working with PHP for 15 years, for 10 of them I have actively been involved in the community. In the past 10 years, I have seen this almost every year.
Here is the thing they seem to forget, momentum. By some measurements, PHP runs 80% of the web. I believe the more conservative number of 50% but whichever number you go with, that is a lot of web sites that depend on PHP. If the core disband tomorrow, there would still be work for PHP developers for years to come. Don’t believe me? Go out to simplyhired.com and search for FoxPro. Last I checked, there were over a thousand, and Microsoft killed FoxPro more than six years ago.
PHP has momentum. More than that though, PHP has a group of Core developers pushing it forward. Constantly expanding it’s capabilities and thus expanding the opportunities for PHP developers.
PHP is in a renaissance. The new capabilities of PHP 7 give it a renewed lease on life. The performance improvements in PHP 7 mean that existing sites can do the job with roughly half the resources. The fact that it is the fastest dynamic language out there, means that new projects and startups are starting to look at it again.
There will come a time when PHP will die. This, however, is not it’s year. PHP is alive and well. The Core is cranking out new features, bug fixes, security patches, and other goodies that make our lives better on a regular basis.
Most important though, our community is growing and evolving. We are better organized than we have ever been. We have a group who is dedicated to making sure that our projects work together. We have more conferences and learning opportunities than we have at any point in the past.
PHP is not dead my friends, it’s just got it second wind.