PHP Programming (was JOB: LAMP Artisan)

Levi Pearson levipearson at
Thu Mar 6 13:51:06 MST 2014

On Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 1:18 PM, Joshua Marsh <joshua at> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 11:37 AM, Levi Pearson <levipearson at> wrote:
>> My issue is that we tend to get emotionally attached to technologies
>> like PHP that we had success with in the past.

> I don't do most of my daily programming in PHP. I have several existing PHP
> applications I maintain though. Many of them are 10+ years old. It would
> take several man-years to switch to another language. The people who pay
> for me to program don't want to spend the time or money doing that when the
> product works just fine how it is. The occasional enhancement or security
> fix is cheap to do but many of them require PHP to keep up with technology.
> I'm guessing there are far more many people who fit in this camp, than do
> in the zealot camp. For that, I'm glad that Rasmus is still riding the
> gravy-train and someone is paying him to keep working on his pet project.

Maintenance of legacy products is a perfectly reasonable reason to
continue to write PHP code.  I was trying to emphasize that there are
fine reasons to write PHP code; in case that wasn't clear, I want to
repeat it here.  Legacy code can be worth the maintenance cost.
Writing *new* programs in PHP is just going to create more legacy code
with maintenance costs, though.  It digs you deeper in the hole of
bondage to a lousy language that many very good alternatives exist for
now.  But if you're stuck with it, look to Facebook for tools to make
it suck a bit less. They've got an efficient JIT-compiling vm,
presumably with less internal brokenness than the official
implementation. They've also got static analysis tools (i.e.
lint-style tools, code visualization, etc.) for PHP as well as other
languages they use.  You'd be crazy as a maintenance PHP programmer
not to take advantage of this stuff.

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced that Facebook made the right
call on their investment in PHP.  I would guess that, with the
investment they've sunk into PHP tooling by now, they could have
brought a re-implementation of their page generator in another
language up to feature parity.  But I have no special insight at all
as to how that actually would have played out; maybe it would have
been disastrous. The upshot is that all the legacy PHP programmers
elsewhere have reasonable tools to work with now to help them avoid
PHP warts.


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