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PHP Web Development And Performance

PHP powers millions of websites on the internet today. It is the most dynamic and versatile web development language. But is PHP performing well in the fierce competition that drives the web world today? Let’s find out:

PHP Web Development

Not The Fastest

That’s right, PHP is not the fastest known language. But, pure speed is not the deciding factor for selection of a language for web development. Other aspects of development like productivity and communication with databases as well as APIs and message queues are also important. PHP is however constantly improving in terms of application architecture with better caching, asynchronous processing and eventual consistency. PHP is basically a language that is not compiled to machine language but is read at runtime. PHP has a share nothing architecture and every request that is made needs to be freshly interpreted. This results in a slightly lower performance than the other languages that are compiled.

PHP is productive

Not compiling PHP to machine language can be beneficial in terms of productivity. The feedback cycles during development could be short. The results of any changes to the code can be seen immediately without an additional stage for compiling. The good part is that you need not worry about garbage collection and memory use. Debugging of run time errors is made easy as you can directly identify where they occur in the source code. It also allows for dynamic code.

Looking at the roots

PHP was developed from CGI binaries written in C by Rasmus Ledorf to include and embed HTML and other specific tasks by adding simple perl like syntax. It developed into a powerful web development language after version 4 which saw the zend engine. PHP 5 brought with it the 2nd version of Zend engine and the performance has been increasing ever since.

The Zend engine parses the PHP code and turns it into opcodes which are later interpreted. This gives PHP a great performance boost. Caching this code conversion to opcodes further boosts performance.

Fragmentation

Experimenting on replacing the engine for PHP has been attempted by many. Facebook’s HipHop is one striking example where they tried to compile the PHP into C ++. But core PHP was more productive than writing in static compiled languages. But building PHP around different engines will completely alter the features and offerings. This could be seen as an opportunity for new implementations of this web language.

As far as performance is concerned, PHP began humbly, but seeing the changes it has been through, performance and productivity are the two main factors where PHP stands out today. It is one of the most popular web development platforms and PHP development is flourishing.