14 Benefits of Custom PHP Development
There are many benefits to using PHP for a custom web application. In this article, I write about 14 benefits of using custom PHP for Internet projects.
First let’s look at the history of PHP.
PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf and was released in 1994 as PHP/FI, which stands for “Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter”.
Rasmus Lerdorf had no intention of creating a programming language. He said he had no idea how to create a programming language.
A community started to form around PHP as it grew organically.
A rewrite of the PHP parser in 1997 by Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans became the foundation for version 3 of PHP.
Around this time the name was changed to a recursive acronym PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.
Version 5 of PHP was the longest–lasting version. It was released in July of 2004 and it’s end of life was December 2018.
There was no version 6 because it was overly ambitious. As a result, some of what was to be version 6 was rolled into version 5.
We are currently on version 7 and version 8 is in the works. You can expect a shorter major version life cycle moving forward.
PHP is Open Source and Free
You are free to use PHP as you like. This is a great benefit to the Internet world – no licensing fee for commercial use. This includes being able to modify the source code to create your own version of PHP.
This is one of the factors that propelled PHP into becoming the dominant Internet programming language.
LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySql, and PHP.
LEMP stands for Linux, NGINX, MySql, and PHP.
Each of these technologies is readily available on the Internet for free.
PHP is Stabilized by the Linux Server Operating System
Both RedHat Linux and Ubuntu Linux do what is called backporting.
In a nutshell backporting means that RedHat and Ubuntu “freeze” the PHP version when creating an operation system (o/s) version. The operating system manufacture then manages keeping that version up to date by creating patches to PHP and other software that runs on top of the Linux operating system.
This means the version number stays the same, as does the application. All that takes place is security releases are applied.
This keeps things stable. If it were not for this, there would be some level of chaos as PHP would be in a constant state of upgrade.
Here is an in–depth explanation of Unbuntu’s backporting on the Ubuntu website - Ubuntu Backports.
You Own The Source Code
When building a custom web application from scratch, you own the source code. This has many advantages.
Security – No one else sees your source code and for that reason alone your code will be harder to crack or break into. This by itself should not be your security strategy.
Reusable Code – If your source code was created modular, then you can reuse the code in many other projects.
Reduced Upgrade Cycle – By not using another application or framework as the starting point of your application, you take that software’s upgrade cycle out of the equation. If you are hosting using Linux, you may be able to go several years without upgrading the source code of your custom PHP application.
PHP is High Performance
PHP 7 is reported to have 1.8 times performance increase over version 5. Note there was no version 6. The plan for PHP version 6 was overly ambitious. Due to this, some of what was to be version 6, was implemented in version 5. Then version 7 was planned and implemented. A few things that were slated to be in version 6 were not included in version 5 or 7.
Version 7 has proven itself to have a substantial performance increase and to be very stable.
Custom PHP Development Will Require Less Server Resources
When building a custom application, only what is required is included. If created correctly, a custom PHP application should require fewer resources than a custom application based on a PHP framework, WordPress, Drupal, or any of the PHP web apps that could easily be used as a foundation for your project.
There Are Many PHP Developers
PHP has about 80% market share of the Internet and has a long history. Because of this, there is a ton of PHP developers with differing ranges of experience. There are domestic (USA) developers and offshore developers.
One can find entry–level developers to very seasoned programmers.
Finding a PHP programmer to meet your needs should be easy.
All of the Major Hosting Companies Support PHP
This is big. Since PHP is the dominant Internet programming language, all the major hosting companies offer PHP hosting. This hosting starts from the very basic shared hosting that might cost as little as several dollars a month after discount, to a full–blown hardware server that runs the LAMP/LEMP stack.
Having many options for hosting a PHP website is important. In 2000, when I jumped onto the web as a developer, PHP hosting was widely available. Today the PHP hosting community is more mature, is competitive, and provides a decent product that is affordable.
PHP Can Connect to Multiple Different Databases
PHP can access MySql, Oracle, DB2, and Sqlite. The database that is in the most use is MySql. MySql is offered by all the major hosting providers.
Being able to connect to a variety of databases opens up the door to many possibilities. This is a business plus.
This allows for a LAMP/LEMP server hosting PHP to connect to a business server that may be using Oracle or another database to manage business data. This real–time data can be made available via the web as may be needed.
PHP is Well Documented
The PHP Website contains the documentation for all of the PHP versions going back to version 3. The documentation is available in multiple languages. For more information visit the PHP documentation page.
There is many 3rd party websites that contain PHP articles that explain different aspects of PHP.
Great Community Support
Linux User Groups are a great resource. PHP is native to PHP and you will find the Linux User Groups to be both knowledgeable and helpful.
PHP User Groups are also a great resource when looking for help.
Easy to Maintain
By creating a custom PHP application the middleman is cut out of the equation. When I say middleman I am talking about a situation where you might use WordPress, Drupal, a PHP framework, or any of the many other applications you can use as the foundation or starting point for your application.
If a PHP app is built on WordPress, Drupal, etc, this introduces more complexity and adds an upgrade cycle to your application. An upgrade cycle will increase the need for a developer to manage this process. This is also true for using PHP frameworks.
On the other hand, by not using a PHP web app or framework as the foundation for your web app, the upgrade cycle for that particular application is not introduced into the process.
It has been my experience that a custom web app might be able to go years without any real attention.
PHP Applications Can be Very Secure
If built correctly a PHP application can be very secure. For me, it comes down to 2 basic things. 1) sanitize all incoming data, and 2) use mod_rewrite, when appropriate, so the only entry point into the application is the root index file.
Mod_rewrite is straight forward and easy to use if the project starts with this as a rule.
PHP is Perfect for Building Browser Based Internet Applications
PHP is the dominant programming language on the Internet with about 80% market share. PHP is a server–side programming language. What that means is the code is run on the server and will output what you see in the browser.
Creating a custom PHP application has its merits.
PHP is part of a stack of technologies that are used to create web applications. All are open source and free. PHP is very popular with 80% market share. There are a lot of PHP developers in the wild. These developers are located all over the world and have skills ranging from entry–level to senior level.
It is easy to find help when building a custom PHP application. There are user groups and a number of websites where programmers gather to resolve problems. Help is easy to find and at this stage of the game and an internet search will more than likely result in an answer to your question, or a solution to your problem.
My name is Keith Smith. This is my website. It was handcrafted by me as an example of my skills. It is not as beautiful as what a website designer might have been able to create, however it is clean, simple, and functional. I am not a designer, I am a programmer.
If you have a project you would like to talk to me about, please call me at 480-748-9893 or complete my Project Request Form.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.