Why PHP is so much more popular for web-development

Daniel no at no.no
Wed Jul 25 23:33:21 CEST 2007


On Wed, 25 Jul 2007 20:42:54 +0300, walterbyrd <walterbyrd at iname.com>  
wrote:

> I'm fairly new to web-development, and I'm trying out different
> technologies. Some people wonder why PHP is so popular, when the
> language is flawed in so many ways. To me, it's obvious: it's because
> it's much easier to get started with PHP, and once somebody gets
> started with a particular language, that person is likely to stay with
> that language.

I think Python is the computer scientist based language, whereas PHP is  
for weekend hobbyists. Not to say you can't produce serious code with PHP  
(or quick and dirty code with Python).

Having used both, I can tell you that Python will take 10 times the  
initial effort to produce the same functionality as a PHP implementation -  
since Python programmers will not opt for quick hacks and workarounds like  
PHP coders will. The trade off however is that Python code is much more  
readable and 100 times more maintainable in the long run, which I consider  
more important.

However this is the problem: Web Development is not about being perfect,  
it's about getting your application to production as quick as possible,  
worrying about bugs and added functionality later on. No good putting your  
idea on the web 6 months after your competitor has taken all the market  
share. PHP lets you do this very quickly, Python does not. I find myself  
trying to 'finish' the Python app whereas in PHP I would have already gone  
live.

Today I've found the best approach for me is a hybrid solution. Since  
database models are quite definitive - it doesn't matter if I use PHP or  
Python, the underlying datastructure for my app won't change. Therefore,  
using a library of custom helpers and framework-like tools for PHP, I can  
create a working site in less than a couple days in PHP. This is made live.

Then I have the time to rewrite the app in Python, which will take me a  
couple weeks, but due to the much better language properties of Python,  
will mean that I can also maintain it a year after writing it.



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