Stop Hating On PHP And Learn To Code Better

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So here we have the timely battle that PHP faces. Frankly, I’m getting sick and tired of this. All in all, I’d have to agree with Jeff on this one, to a certain extent.

They Say PHP Sucks

You’ll hear the same claims every single time: “Google PHP Sucks you’ll see how much PHP sucks”. Oh please! This is some of what the haters usually use for the argument:

  • There are too many functions
  • PHP Isn’t OOP
  • Everything is strung together - This claim usually talks about the interaction between PHP and/or SQL

In Defense of PHP

The number one claim is that everything in PHP feels like it’s clunky and may fall apart at any time. Granted, I’ll be the first to admit that I hate boring SQL queries. Keyword here is boring. Within the past year, I’ve really gotten to see that SQL has a lot of power. Learning of all of awesome power, just makes me hate writing crap like:

select title, body, post_date from posts where id = 32

Functions, Functions, Functions

I, myself, have never really understood the “too many functions” argument. Maybe it does make the documentation a bit muggy to get through, but how many functions that are in there have very little to do with me. I don’t care, I just use a handful of them.

PHP is OPP - That’s All There Is To It

We need to make a distinction here: PHP 5 is Object Oriented. The problem is a lot of PHP code that you can find out there isn’t. PHP has this classic gift and a curse: it makes it damn easy to get something functional out the door in a hurry.

I mean, I’d love to see a bit more OOP, but that’s an implementation issue. And the piles of arrays for data storage are a lil' bit of a pain, but again, that’s an implementation issue.

PHP Is Not A Framework - Get Over It

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Baz, you’re a lazy bastard, that’s isn’t so hard to write”. And you’re be totally right. But after the 25th time writing this or some simple variation of this, you can’t help but feel that you’re wasting your time. Now here’s the kicker: This isn’t a problem isolated to PHP. Most other programming languages (listen to me well: Programming Languages) suffer the same fate. You’re going to see SQL strung out throughout code in any language, I don’t see why people keep blaming PHP for this.

This is a classic in the PHP vs. Rails saga. Haters often compare PHP, a simple programming (scripting even) language to a very complex web development framework. I don’t care what you say, but that’s like comparing a factory stock model car to a car with 2 years of work and $20,000 of after market parts. Luckily, the folks at Rails Envy have made an attempt at clearing this up with their mention of CakePHP:

Time To Take Responsibility

As programmers and web developers, I think it’s time to take a lil' bit of responsibility for the type of code we write. I don’t know about you, but regardless of the language, I can write some very nasty code. It all depends on the frame of mind. I’ve seen varying levels of PHP code: I’ve seen dozens and dozens of code blocks (not functions) in one index.php file. I’ve also seen nice, clean, refactored, DRY code.

Granted, PHP makes it a bit easier to be lazy, but do we blame the language for that? Come on guys, let’s put on our big boy pants, read a book about code design, and apply it to any language that you’re coding in. PHP powers some of the largest sites on the internet, someone’s doing it right. Stop being mad because you can’t. Stop using the programming language as a crutch and learn how to apply proper coding techniques to any language.

Bottom Line:

Some of the largest sites on the internet - sites you probably interact with on a daily basis - are written in PHP. If PHP sucks so profoundly, why is it powering so much of the internet?

The only conclusion I can draw is that building a compelling application is far more important than choice of language. While PHP wouldn’t be my choice, and if pressed, I might argue that it should never be the choice for any rational human being sitting in front of a computer, I can’t argue with the results.

Source: PHP Sucks, But It Doesn’t Matter [Coding Horror]