I’ll be the first to criticize PHP from a language design perspective. But, PHP does possess compelling aspects that have contributed to its popularity today.
- “Hit refresh workflow” – When using PHP, you can make a change to a source file, and hit refresh, and your changes are immediately available. This function prevents compiling and transpiling, fiddling around with “hot reloads,” and bouncing servers. Having a tight feedback loop is hugely productive when you’re building a CRUD app. Interestingly, Play Framework is now touting this as a feature, Build Modern & Scalable Web Apps with Java and Scala
- Isolated HTTP request handling – If you’re deploying PHP via mod_php or php-fpm, every HTTP request is handled effectively through a separate PHP process. In practice, this means your code can’t store any state between requests, or accidentally retain information from a previous request. Typically, this makes PHP apps easier to scale at the app level since the stateless nature enables horizontal scaling without any app changes.
- Composer with Packagist – Composer and Packagist work pretty well together for dependency management. Composer is easier to work with than Maven, arguably more “sane” than npm, and usually does a good job at staying out of the way. Packagist has a critical mass of useful, popular packages and works well with Composer.