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PHP vs JavaScript: Choosing the Right Technology for Web Application

PHP vs JavaScript

79% of all websites use PHP as their server-side language.

PHP vs JavaScript

Source

However, 97.8% of all sites use JavaScript as their client-side language.

PHP vs JavaScriptSource

If giants such as Facebook, Wikipedia, and Tumblr use PHP, companies including Netflix, Airbnb, and LinkedIn put their trust in JavaScript.

We know what you’re thinking, “Should I hire PHP developers or JavaScript developers?”

This blog will answer your question. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have solved the issue of PHP vs JavaScript in your mind. In the next five minutes, we’ll compare nine aspects of both the programming languages to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Ease of coding
  2. Performance
  3. Popularity
  4. Documentation
  5. Security
  6. Extensibility
  7. Universality
  8. Community
  9. Talent pool

Note: the information is true at the time of writing. That’s January 2022.

PHP vs. JavaScript — a step-by-step comparison

1. Ease of coding

PHP vs JavaScriptSource

PHP

If you ask what is the advantage of PHP over JavaScript, ease of coding is the answer. PHP offers over 1,000 in-built functions to create specific tasks. You can access the list of operations on the internet as well.

Furthermore, you can create your own command-giving functions as well. The PHP syntax is well-organized and logical, making the process even easier for developers.   

JavaScript

JavaScript is asynchronous, unlike other languages. Furthermore, JavaScript offers additional features such as HTTP requests, event queues, grammar, and operators, among others.

Thus, JavaScript — although not a difficult programming language — offers a steeper learning curve than PHP.

Verdict

PHP offers better ease of coding rather than JavaScript.

2. Performance

PHP

PHP offers a multi-threaded execution model along with blocking I/O. Furthermore, PHP is synchronous as well. Thus, PHP cannot execute the second line of code unless the first line is executed.

The process makes PHP slower than JavaScript.

JavaScript

A single-threaded, event-driven, non-blocking I/O model defines JavaScript. Event looping and node clustering provide the model.

Furthermore, JavaScript is synchronous. Thus, the programming language can execute every line of code at the same time. The V8 engine, callback functions, and persistent server connectivity further accelerate the process as well.

Thus, JavaScript offers better speed than PHP and is best-suited for low-latency applications such as streaming platforms.

Verdict

When it comes to PHP vs. JavaScript performance, JavaScript is a clear winner.

3. Popularity

PHP

Is PHP a dead language? 77% of all websites in the top 1,000,000 use PHP. Furthermore, 79% of all websites use PHP as their server-side language as well. Now you decide.

JavaScript

97.8% of all websites use JavaScript as their client-side language. Google Trends confirmed JavaScript beats PHP when it comes to being a popular search query.

PHP vs JavaScriptSource

Furthermore, the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2020 confirmed JavaScript is the most popular technology with 67.7% of developers choosing JavaScript as their chosen programming language.

Verdict

Both PHP and JavaScript are equally popular.

4. Documentation

PHP vs JavaScript Source

PHP

Developers offer PHP documentation in multiple languages — English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Japanese, Turkish, and Russian. You can download the documentation as well.

However, expect the English version to be most accurate. The rest are translated versions. Furthermore, the documentation language isn’t beginner-friendly.

JavaScript

JavaScript offers documentation based on the latest draft versions of ECMA-402 and ECMA-  262. However, similar to PHP, the language isn’t beginner-friendly.

However, you’ll find answers to all the fundamental questions that can arise while you’re coding.

Verdict

Both the programming languages offer sufficient documentation.

5. Security

PHP

PHP code runs exclusively on the server. Furthermore, the in-built security features help developers to prevent common security threats such as data tampering, cross-site request forgery, and SQL injections.

The programming language is vulnerable to security threats such as SQL injection. However, security best practices including using SSL certificates for HTTPs, deploying PHP apps on clouds, and hiding files from the browser will help you prevent the threats.

JavaScript

JavaScript ranks 4th on the list of most vulnerable languages — behind Java, PHP, and C. Thus, the programming language is vulnerable and prone to security risks. The risk elevates when you run JavaScript on the client-side.

Thus, you must use security best practices such as using safe methods including innerText for manipulating the DOM, using HTTP, and implementing HTTP-only cookies.

Verdict

PHP offers better security than JavaScript.

6. Extensibility

PHP

You can combine PHP only with HTML. However, PHP is compatible with the leading Content Management Systems (CMS) including WordPress and Drupal.

You can extend PHP using any LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack technology. Furthermore, you can achieve the same with server solutions such as PostgreSQL or MySQL.

You can use Composer and PEAR as well. Both these tools are PHP package managers. PEAR is an open-source PHP code library with a hierarchical design, whereas Composer is a PHP dependency management tool.

JavaScript

You can combine JavaScript with HTML, Ajax, and XML. Furthermore, JavaScript is compatible with Angular, React, and Vue.

JavaScript offers over 30,000 Visual Studio Code extensions such as ESLint, JavaScript (ES6) code snippets, and npm Intellisense as well.

Verdict

JavaScript offers more extensibility options than PHP.

7. Universality

PHP

PHP is a cross-platform internal development language. You can use the programming language only to build server-side code.

You must know 4 syntax systems to build a web application using PHP. Switching between these languages makes the process difficult, inefficient, and inconvenient.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a cross-platform full-stack development language. Thus, you can use the programming language on both the front-end and the back-end. The feature allows you to build an entire web or mobile application using only JavaScript.

Verdict

JavaScript is more universal than PHP.

8. Community 

PHP

Facebook. Lyft. Slack. These are some of the tech giants that use PHP. And for good reason. PHP offers open-source code. Thus, the programming language becomes customizable and more flexible.

Furthermore, with pull requests of 5%, PHP ranks 8th on GitHub.

JavaScript

Tech giants such as Netflix, NASA, and eBay use JavaScript. Stackshare.io confirmed developers choose JavaScript as the programming language is versatile, offers a large number of extensions, and is popular.

With over 18% of pull requests, JavaScript is the most popular language on GitHub.

Verdict

With massive support communities and tech giants using both the programming languages, PHP and JavaScript are equals on the community aspect.

9. Talent pool

PHP

PHP is an in-demand programming language. Over 6.1 million developers worldwide work with PHP.

Furthermore, PHP developers in the U.S. earn $81k a year on average, with the highest number being $100k a year.

JavaScript

12.4 million developers worldwide use JavaScript. The number translates to 53% of all developers in the world.

In the comparison of JavaScript vs PHP developers salary, JavaScript wins the battle. JavaScript developers in the U.S. earn $111,431 a year on average, with the highest number being $150,933 a year.

Verdict

If you’re asking, “PHP or JavaScript: which is better for a career?”The answer is both. Both PHP and JavaScript have a diverse talent pool as both programming languages are in demand.

PHP vs. JavaScript — which programming language should you choose?

It depends on your needs. If you’re going to use the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) solution stack, go for PHP. Furthermore, PHP supports leading content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal as well.

Go for JavaScript if you want to build dynamic single-page applications. Furthermore, if you’re using the MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js) solution stack, choose JavaScript.

We hope now the PHP vs . JavaScript dilemma is solved. In this article, we’ve compared nine aspects of both the programming languages:

  1. Ease of coding
  2. Performance
  3. Popularity
  4. Documentation
  5. Security
  6. Extensibility
  7. Universality
  8. Community
  9. Talent pool

The knowledge will help you make an informed decision.

Appendix

Sources


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