PHP in decline: The rise and fall of a programming language
Once upon a time, PHP was one of the most popular programming languages. Now it’s slowly fading in popularity, especially with the rise of languages such as Python. According to the TIOBE Index for September 2019, PHP is struggling to keep its spot in the top 10 programming languages. Is it time to lower the casket, or does this language have some kick left in it?
PHP continues its ‘five year slump‘ as it slowly continues dropping down the TIOBE Index. The TIOBE Index for September 2019 shows that in the past year, PHP dropped two spots down the list, from number 7 to number 9.
As for rising languages, this month Apache Groovy comes in at spot number 11.
Compared to last year when it was at modest spot number 34, this is a large amount of growth for the language. Groovy shares some similarities with Java, making it easy for Java devs to learn and integrate with Java and third-party libraries.
SEE ALSO: Long live PHP!
Why is PHP declining in use?
When the Internet was younger, PHP was very common. Back in 2004, it was even the TIOBE Index programming language of the year, a far cry from where it sits now on the charts.
What factors led to its fall from grace?
According to the Index:
Rise and fall
A recent video on Reddit shared from Global App Testing shows the rise and fall of programming languages over ten years. It documents the most popular programming languages on StackOverflow since September 2008, and besides being mesmerizing to watch, it offers some insights to the ebb and flow of language usage.
More specifically, it tracks which languages received the most questions on StackOverflow.
According to the video, PHP was even higher than Java at some points in time. Like watching a close race, at times it looks like PHP will edge out and win. However, Python surges ahead around September 2016. After that, it’s all downhill.
Don’t fear the reaper
Don’t lower the casket so soon though. PHP may have taken a dip in popularity, but its community is still kicking.
Did you know this year there were PHP conferences held in Japan, Brazil, Ukraine, Germany, China, the United States, and Taiwan?
The official Twitter account for php.net currently has 67.7 thousand followers. The latest release candidate of v7.4 arrived September 5, 2019. The PHP subreddit currently has 105 thousand members, with plenty of active threads about frameworks, IDEs, and other relevant news and topics.
It’s also worth taking a look at other metrics documenting language popularity and usage. A recent IEEE Spectrum report ranked PHP at spot number 13. It’s in good company, just above Assembly and just under HTML/CSS.
If you’re still worried about PHP’s health, here’s some good news. The RedMonk Programming Language Ranking for June 2019 places the language in 4th place.
This ranking system uses the amount of GitHub repositories for its sources. So, maybe PHP programmers are asking fewer questions on StackOverflow, but they sure are programming.
Plus, have you seen its mascot? This language is too cute to go extinct.