KillerPHP Blog

Why PHP is the choice language – a business owners perspective.

August 10, 2007

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I have written this article to speak to business owners and other non-nerd types. So you will not see me go into nerd-details regarding my arguments.

Instead, I concentrate on the business arguments and only touch on the technological issues underlying them … when it makes sense to mention the nerd stuff.


I’ve already written about why I think PHP is the language that web designers should learn and why Ruby is no threat to PHP.

One thing I feel that needs to be addressed (in non nerd terms,) is why it makes business sense to use PHP for your web based applications.

A Non-Biased Opinion

Before I get into the meat of my arguments, I want to point out that I am not some PHP nerd looking to sell PHP.

Yes I am the guy, but I decided to put up this web site because I concluded that PHP was the choice language today.

… This from a guy who has written software in 6-7 languages (could be 8-9, I’ve lost track) over the years.

Up until a few years ago I was mainly a Java nerd – though I used several other languages too.

The point is that after years of experience as both a programmer and business owner managing programmers and projects, I found that for small and medium sized projects (I can’t comment on big enterprise jobs,) PHP has been the most effective language for me.

The Business Questions

When you are choosing a framework/language for your new project, you have to ask yourself a few key questions:

  • Is the language reliable?
  • Does the language have a strong community?
  • Is it easy to find programmers who use that language?
  • Is the language productive?

All these questions relate to cost. In a nutshell, if any of these things fall short in the language/framework you choose, it’s going to cost you more money – sometimes a lot more!

What do I say ‘framework/language’ and not just ‘language’?

I want to keep uber-nerds from criticizing me for calling PHP’s competition (like a language, when strictly speaking, and other competitors are not programming languages. Rather they are frameworks that enable the creation of database-driven web sites.

Translation into non-nerd English:

PHP itself is a language but, classic ASP, JSP are not … but they do the same things as PHP. These competing technologies are frameworks (for creating database-driven websites,
) built on top of programming languages.

For instance, JSP (the framework) uses Java as its’ programming language to do its’ thing and classic ASP typically uses VB Script.

Contrast this to PHP, that was created (from inception) to build dynamic database-driven websites.

… but I digress from the main point of this article.

My business experience and how it has shown me that PHP is king.

As I mentioned before, besides being a programmer and all around nerd, I’ve actually been (and still am) the ‘business owner’ hiring and managing a small team of programmers.

So why PHP? Remember those 4 points I made above? Well PHP shines (outshines) all the competition when you look at them as a whole.

Perhaps in one area or another, one of the other technologies can match or may even beat PHP, but non of them are so well rounded.

One story of my own

I will only recount one quick story that makes my (business) point. About 2-3 years ago I decided to build a new web application using my favorite language at the time: Java.

After months of stuttered development (and $10 000 – $12 000 not including my time,) I had a stuttering mess that kinda worked. This happens all too often in software development BTW.

Anyway, I decided that this had to be fixed, so I had it reproduced with PHP while (at the same time,) adding new features. My cost for the total rewrite came out to $700. I should have went with PHP from the start …

Stefan Mischook