PHP & Web Development Blogs

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604 views · 1 months ago

![Is PHP a dying language](https:/ /cdn.filestackcontent.com/7GkCdoJKRfGM14qi7baA)

It seems like this question gets asked every year, as for some reason the perception surrounding PHP is that it is a language used by hobbyists, or a dying language - a programming language on its way out.

Before we take a look at "is PHP being used less," let's start with some critical points to consider when choosing a programming language to learn/ invest in.

### PHP powers ~80% of the web

The first point is how popular PHP is as a program language. Recently in a podcast a debate around PHP was raised, with the question being is it an "enterprise" language. The argument against PHP is that it is not widely adopted by enterprises for enterprise application development - or apps that are traditionally developed in Java or .Net.

The key here is understanding that every tool has its strengths and weaknesses, and there are times where using a compiled language such as Java is a smarter move than using PHP. As always, you want to choose the right tool for the job, and PHP as a programming language excels for web applications. That's why today it powers nearly 80% of the websites on the internet! I want to repeat that number, nearly 80% of websites on the internet!

In the podcast, after the initial argument that PHP was not an enterprise language, I had one question to ask - "can you name one enterprise that doesn't use PHP?" Despite the misconception that PHP is not an enterprise language, nearly every enterprise utilizes PHP in some fashion (many for their website, blog, or internal tools). While PHP may not power the app they offer as a service (although for many companies it does), it powers just as critical of offerings that help drive success for the company.

### PHP made Yahoo, Facebook, and Tumblr possible

It's not just personal blogs running on a WordPress install, or small sites running on Drupal (btw, both of these power high traffic, well known web properties), but PHP actually makes development for the web easier and faster. Because it is not a compiled language and is designed to scale, companies are able launch faster, add new features as they go, and grow to enormous scale.

Some of the sites that started with PHP include Yahoo, Facebook, Tumblr, Digg, Mailchimp, and Wikipedia! But it's not just older platforms that started off and have grown to scale with PHP - Etsy, Slack, Baidu, Box, and Canva also got started with PHP! [Read why Slack chose PHP](https:/ /slack.engineering/taking-php-seriously/)

In fact, according to [BuiltWith](https:/ /trends.builtwith.com/framework/PHP), PHP powers 53.22% of the top 10k websites!

### Programming languages don't just disappear

Understanding the prevalence of PHP today, and how often it is used is critical to understanding the longevity of PHP. Despite the radicalized idea, programming languages (and thus programming jobs) do not just disappear overnight. Today you can still find jobs writing code used in mainframes - such as Fortran or Cobol.

As long as companies have applications that use PHP, they'll need someone who knows PHP to maintain the application. And with PHP actively being developed and maintained (PHP 8 having just been released), and PHP powerhouses like WordPress, Drupal, SugarCRM, and others powering websites and apps around the world, it's a safe bet PHP won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

But with the basics out of the way, let's look at how PHP has faired over the years.

## PHP usage over the years

While there is no exact measurement that determines how programming languages are ranked, there are several different rankings we can look at to see how a language has evolved over the years, and where it ranks today.

### GitHub's most popular programming languages

Every year GitHub releases a report of the most popular languages being used to create repositories on GitHub.com. While this isn't an exact way to quantify a programming language, it does help us understand what languages developers are using and promoting for their applications. It also helps us see how lively the community itself is.

In 2014, PHP was ranked as the 3rd most popular programming language, being beat out only by JavaScript and Java. With the emergence of Typescript, C# moving open source, and increased usage of Python for AI - PHP did drop - and was the 6th most popular programming language on GitHub for 2020.

![PHP on GitHub over the years](https:/ /cdn.filestackcontent.com/LVRkr9gRyWp9kN9kzJ3T)

### PHP's ranking on the Tiobe index

Another index for software popularity is the Tiobe index, which bases their ratings off of the number of search engines for programming languages. This index is heavily relied on by companies when making programming and investment decisions, especially in developer marketing.

Like with GitHub, PHP has also seen a decline in the Tiobe index. Ranked 8th last year for all languages, PHP dropped to 9th place, being outranked by the C languages (C, C#, C++), Java, Visual Basic, Python, JavaScript, and Assembly. However, to put the rankings in contrast, PHP is 9th out of the 274 languages Tiobe tracks, and bests SQL, Ruby, Groovy, Go, and Swift.

You can see the latest Tiobe index (updated monthly) at: [https:/ /www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index/](https:/ /www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index/)

### PHP's ranking on BuiltWith

The last model we'll look at is [BuiltWith](https:/ /trends.builtwith.com/framework/PHP). BuiltWith scans website headers to determine what a website is powered by, and like GitHub and Tiobe provides a ranking of programming language popularity and trends.

Builtwith provides an interesting perspective in that we can see an explosion of sites being built with PHP (nearly tripling from 2013 to 2016) before dropping and normalizing in 2017. From 2017 to present, the number of sites using PHP has remained almost constant.

![BuiltWith PHP Usage](https:/ /cdn.filestackcontent.com/bruZQIefQm6XdUMxpfre)

This suggests (as with what we've seen with GitHub and Tiobe) that other languages have grown in popularity, such as JavaScript and Node.js. This doesn't mean that PHP is no longer being used or relied or, but rather that there is more competition and that there are other viable options whereas PHP stood alone at times in terms of being the goto language for web development.

Indeed, when we look at how PHP ranks amongst all technologies on BuiltWith, PHP receives the following BuiltWith awards:

• The most popular on the Entire Internet in Frameworks category.

• The most popular in the Top 10k sites in Frameworks category.

• The most popular in the Top 100k sites in Frameworks category.

• The most popular in the Top 1 Million sites in Frameworks category.

## Conclusion

PHP's popularity has dropped from its height 10 years ago, however it still remains the most popular programming language powering the web. It's important to remember that every tool has pros and cons, and some of the bad rap PHP gets is when compared to languages designed to accomplish tasks or build programs that PHP was never designed to.

It's also important to remember a lot of early criticism for PHP came from it being a procedural programming language and not encompassing Object Oriented Programming capabilities. These capabilities were added in PHP 4 and with PHP 7 & 8 OOP has become a staple of the PHP language.

PHP is a viable, powerful language used by nearly every enterprise and many businesses large and small. In fact it powers over 50% of the top 10,000 websites on the web! With such large usage, popular tools such as WordPress, and an active community, it is safe to assume that PHP will remain a prominent language for years to come.

410 views · 1 months ago

![Create your first PHP app](https:/ /cdn.filestackcontent.com/pl0KlXTLSCedga5ll6HF)

PHP is an incredibly powerful programming languaage, one that powers roughly 80% of the web! But it's also one of the easier languages to learn as you can see your changes in real time, without having to compile or wait for the code to repackage your app or website.

### Defining a PHP script

To get started, create a file called "myfirstpage.php." You can actually call it anything you'd like, but the important part here is the extension: `.php`. This tells the server to treat this page as a PHP script.

Now let's go ahead and create a basic HTML page:

```

<html>

<head>

<title>Hello</title>

</head>

<body>

Hello

</body>

</html>

```

Go ahead and save your page and upload it to any host that supports PHP. Now visit your page and you should see a page that outputs "Hello."

### Echo content

Now let's add some PHP code to our script. To signal the server to render PHP code we first open with the `<?php` tag, then we write our PHP code, and finally close it with the `?>` tag. This is important as if we were creating an XML file and forgot to escape the opening XML tag which also has a question mark, we would run into a fatal error.

Now let's write some PHP code that tells the server to echo specific output. To echo or print the content on the page we can use the `echo` statement in our PHP code by placing the text we want to echo in single quotes and then end the command with a semi colon. Let's echo out "there!":

```

<html>

<head>

<title>Hello</title>

</head>

<body>

Hello <?php echo 'there!'; ?>

</body>

</html>

```

Now upload your script and test it on your webhost. You should now see "Hello there!" on your screen. Now this isn't as exciting since we could do the same thing in HTML without PHP, so let's create dynamic content based on the URL string.

### Using `$_GET`

PHP allows you to interact with your visitors and handle incoming data. This means that you can use either the URL (querystring) or forms to retrieve user input. There are additional ways to access data as well, but we will not be covering those in this introduction.

In your browser, add the following to the end of your url: `?name=yourname`

The full URL should now look like myfirstpage.php?name=yourname

You'll notice when you visit this page nothing happens - so let's change that! To access the value of `name` in the querystring, we can use `$_GET['name']` like so:

```

<html>

<head>

<title>Hello</title>

</head>

<body>

Hello <?php echo $_GET['name']; ?>

</body>

</html>

```

You'll notice that unlike the text "there!" that the GET is not in quotes - this is because this is a variable and by not placing it in quotes we're telling PHP to render this as a variable and not as text. If we leave the single quotes, instead of saying "Hello yourname" it would say "Hello `$_GET['name']`."

### Using logic and defining variables

Along with getting user input, you can also create conditions to determine what content should be output. For example, we can determine whether or not to say "Good morning" or "Good evening" depending on the time, along with your name using the querystring.

To do this, we'll be using `if`, `elseif`, and `else` along with the PHP `date()` function. You can learn more about how to use different date formats to output the date [here](https:/ /www.php.net/manual/en/datetime.format.php), but we'll be using the `date()` function to get back the hour of the day (based on the server's time) between 0 (midnight) and 23 (11pm). We'll then use greater than (>) to determine what to assign to our `$time` variable which we'll output with the user's name.

```

<html>

<head>

<title>Hello</title>

</head>

<body>

<?php

if(date("G") > 18) {

$time = 'evening';

} elseif (date("G") > 12) {

$time = 'afternoon';

} else {

$time = 'morning';

}

echo 'Good '.$time.' '.$_GET['name'];

?>

</body>

</html>

```

Now upload your script again to the web server and refresh the page. Depending on the time of the server you should see either Good morning, Good afternoon, or Good evening followed by your name.

If you get an error, or the page is blank, make sure you have closed all of your quotes and have a semicolon after your statements/ commands. Missing a quote or semicolon is one of the most common causes of PHP errors.

You may also receive an error if the timezone has not been set on your server. To resolve this (or change the timezone/ output of the script) try adding this line as the first line following the opening PHP bracket (`<?php`):

```

date_default_timezone_set('America/Los_Angeles');

```

With that you have created your first PHP script and have already taken advantage of many of the fundamentals used in every PHP program. While there is more to learn you are well on your way, and have a great start on defining variables, using user input, and taking advantage of PHP's built in functions.

**Want more? Go even further with our [Beginning PHP video training course](/courses/beginning-php)!**

457 views · 1 months ago

![10 SEO Best Practices for Web Developers](https:/ /cdn.filestackcontent.com/S1q2PneFTs6J9963nlrw)

You've built an amazing website, but how do you make sure people can find your site via search engines? In this article we cover 10 best practices to make sure your article not only stands out, but ranks well with search engines.

## 1. Take time to research keywords

To determine the best keywords for your site, you'll need to do some keyword research. This usually consists of combing through your competitors' sites for the keywords that are driving them the most traffic. There are several ways you can get started with keyword research. One recommended way is to create a spreadsheet with your competitors' sites listed and add keywords that you can copy and paste your competitors' keywords into [Google's Keyword Tool](https:/ /ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/) and [Google Webmaster Tools](https:/ /developers.google.com/search) Keyword Analyzer tool. Analyze your competition's site's website titles to find out what keywords they are using tools such as [Ahrefs](https:/ /ahrefs.com/), [Moz](https:/ /moz.com/), [SpyFu](https:/ /www.spyfu.com/), or [SEMrush](https:/ /www.semrush.com/) to find out what keywords others are using on your competitor's site.

## 2. Focus on your Title tag

This is the headline for every article. It needs to be bold and attention grabbing so it can catch the eye of potential users. Pick it somewhere around 60-90 characters to make sure it is displayed properly in search engines as well as readable in the browser tab. As you write your title, focus on the unique keywords your readers are likely to search for. Also make sure that the keywords you select are relevant to your page. Another good practice is to make the title tag and your header (h1) the same.

## 3. Carefully craft your H1, H2, H3 tags

Careful usage of header tags helps search engines identify keywords within your page. To get the best results from your header tags, use H1, H2, and H3 in order with keywords in your H2 and H3 headers that support your H1 tag. Remember, your H1 tag should mimic your title tag, whereas the H2 and H3 can expand and add additional context. You can also utilize multiple H2 and H3 tags, however be sure that these headers are supporting the H1 tag and relevant to the content on your page. Using irrelevant header keywords can actually work to your disadvantage.

## 4. Avoid loading content with JavaScript

Despite it's popularity, JavaScript is not yet well supported by search engines and can mask important content. Progressive Web Apps in particular can suffer as key content is loaded after the page is spidered, or in the case of many search engines that do not yet index JavaScript not loaded at all. This is also the case for many social media sites, meaning that content loaded dynamically is not evaluated or pulled in, resulting in the default skeleton of your site being what shows up in search engines and in link previews.

## 5. Carefully name images

In the past search engines would evaluate your images based on their alt tag, however as more and more developers loaded irrelevant keywords into this hidden image text search engines instead added more emphasis to the actual name of the image itself. This means using generic image names such as 1.jpg can actually hurt your site ranking as search engines might be looking for seokeywords.jpg. Now, just because you're carefully naming your images with relevant keywords describing the image doesn't mean you should ignore the alt tag. Be sure to continue to include alt tags for older search engines, in the case the image doesn't load, and for accessibility (ie screen readers).

## 6. Work to improve your page load time

It’s not a secret that faster sites rank higher in search engines. Most search engines use the [PageSpeed Index](https:/ /developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) from Google to determine the speed of websites. One thing Google looks at is how fast images are loading. For this reason, we recommend taking a look at how long it takes for the first image to load on your site or even take advantage of [lazy loading](https:/ /developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Performance/Lazy_loading) for non-critical images. You want images to be loading within 30 seconds at the absolute latest, before the user can actually click on the page. You also need to make sure that if you're using multiple images that they load as one group. Next, take a look at how long it takes to load a webpage. Are pages taking longer than three seconds to load on your site? You want to have pages that load fast for users, but your code and templates can easily be causing this to happen.

## 7. Optimize text throughout your page

Beyond your title tag, headers, and images it's important to work keywords into your standard content, while also working to avoid overloading keywords. To help prevent overloading and increase search engine rankings across multiple keywords you can use alternative phrases. In the case of "PHP training" an alternative phrase might be "PHP tutorials" or "PHP course." This both helps support the primary keyword, while also allowing the page to rank for these keywords as well. Remember to use the tools referenced above to find the keywords that are right for your site, and then work them in to natural sentences without forcing keywords or becoming overly repetitive. Also keep in mind, just as important as the content and keywords on the page are to search engines, how users engage with that content is also critical. If your page experience's high bounce rates or low engagement with the content, it is likely to be deprioritized by search engines, meaning a page highly optimized for search engines but not humans may enjoy a higher ranking, but only for a short time before it is heavily penalized.

## 8. Build your Domain and Page Authority

Domain and Page Authority are determined not just by the number of back-links (or sites linking to your domain or page), but also the quality of the sites and pages linking to you. One practice that has made obtaining a better DA or PA harder has been purchasing or acquiring bulk back-links. Note this practice is actually against Google's TOS and may result in your entire site being banned from their search results! Because of this practice, it's important to focus on high quality sites and work to get back-links naturally either through partnerships or syndicated content (such as blog posts). You can also check your DA [here](https:/ /websiteseochecker.com/domain-authority-checker/) or using one of the many tools referenced above.

## 9. Take advantage of social media

Speaking of back-links, social media can be a powerful tool for increasing page visibility while also improving your search engine rankings! Remember, most social sites do not support or read JavaScript, so ensure your content is available on the page. If you do have a progressive web app with JavaScript loading your content, look into using Headless Chrome to render a JavaScript free version of your site for specific bots (note - the content MUST be the same content a user would see or your site may be blocked). There are also numerous tools to allow you to build the content via JavaScript on the server backend before passing it to your readers. To help get even more exposure, consider adding social share links or tools like [AddThis](https:/ /www.addthis.com/).

## 10. Good SEO takes time

The truth is that there really aren't any special secrets or ingredients to ranking well in search engines (well not that Google has publicly shared). Instead it's about properly formatting your page, making sure it's readable to search engines, and providing content that your readers will engage with. As you provide more valuable content, and more people like and link to your content - your site's Domain Authority will gradually increase, giving your site and pages more powerful - resulting in a higher ranking.

440 views · 1 months ago

![A Beginners Guide To Artificial Intelligence For Web Developers](https:/ /cdn.filestackcontent.com/PT0l0IeCQxOeHrg3fwlH)

Artificial Intelligence has significantly transformed the way we work and interpret information. With technologies such as OCR, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision; machines are now able to provide greater insights and perform tasks that typically required hours and hours of work from humans.

## What is artificial intelligence?

A.I. or artificial intelligence is the technology that enables machines to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. But instead of using human brains, A.I. uses different technologies such as computers, or even software algorithms, to perform tasks. Some of the most common A.I. technologies include speech recognition, voice recognition, machine translation, natural language processing, computer vision, and predictive analytics. The term artificial intelligence comes from the combination of artificial and intelligence. While artificial intelligence is a property of the physical world, intelligence is the property of the mind. How does it make sense in Web Development? As mentioned earlier, A.I. has significantly transformed the way we work and interpret information.

## How is AI applied to web development?

In the majority of cases, AI is used to assist a developer in a number of functions: Automatically format existing content, analyze images for semantic meaning Break down complex tasks into smaller pieces Example applications of AI in web development Example image compression algorithms. Tools such as image recognition and machine learning have been key factors in the development of new image processing algorithms. Traditionally, manually processing an image was a lengthy and tedious process, but when computer vision was introduced into the process it drastically decreased the amount of time required to complete this task. Now, programs such as image recognition can identify objects in images and classify them based on both visual and metadata attributes.

## Machine learning

When data is fed into a machine learning algorithm, the machine learns to understand it. For instance, if you provide a machine learning algorithm examples of dogs verses blueberries, the machine will learn to identify what a picture of a blueberry looks like, verses a picture of a dog. Natural Language Processing Natural language processing is a sub-field of machine learning. You can apply natural language processing for reading emails, chatting, or writing blog posts (such as this one!). A good example of natural language processing in action can be found in Microsoft's Cortana. Deep learning This is the most popular type of artificial intelligence today.

## Deep learning

Deep learning algorithms are very similar to how the human brain works, with its built in mechanisms to learn and memorise a vast amount of information. It's these connections that enable machines to be able to recognise patterns and learn from them. An example of this is Google Translate, which recognises more than a 1,000 languages. This isn't an example of AI but it shows how useful these programs can be. Deep learning is one of the hottest technologies in the field of machine learning and this explains why almost all of the major technology companies are pushing these advances forward.

## Natural language processing

For example, your phone can understand you better when you speak to it. If you say “Hey, Siri,” your phone will listen to you and respond to your questions. In general, it means that the system has been trained and is able to better understand the context of what you’re trying to communicate. This type of Natural Language Processing is used in the majority of companies today, including the likes of Google and Apple, to improve the user experience, provide better customer service, and to aid in the effective execution of processes. Machine learning Machine Learning is an extremely powerful technique used to further improve the knowledge of artificial intelligence, as well as to make machines smarter by discovering patterns and generalities in vast amounts of data.

## Computer vision

Computer vision is a technology that has been able to recognize objects in images and video for eons. A popular example is Apple's Siri, which was one of the first software to use computer vision to provide contextual awareness. AI is built on this technology, providing the capability to recognize various images and videos. The industry is still in its infancy, but what we have seen so far has been incredibly incredible. What's amazing is that just a few years ago we thought that vision was completely under our control, but now, it has evolved to understand the nuances of objects.

## Conclusion

**“In the year 2050, the Amazon book you ordered for your Kindle will be delivered by a drone.”**

This futuristic statement by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos did leave you pondering. But it is one thing to dream about the future and another thing to think about the innovations taking place in the present and how you can exploit them to drive better business results. To make the most of the technologies coming to our everyday lives, we must acquire a knowledge of the AI technology, its features, and its application. Succeeding in today’s competitive and challenging business world, requires a broad set of skills such as coding, business analysis, computer programming, and ecommerce marketing.

[Learn more about AI with our video library](https:/ /nomadphp.com/videos/ai-machine-learning)

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