PHP vs. JavaScript 3 PHP vs. JavaScript
Review: -1 - PHP vs. JavaScript

You have probably heard that PHP and JavaScript serve different goals; therefore, they cannot be compared. However, with the rise of other programming languages, like Node.js, Angular.js, and React.js, PHP vs JavaScript difference has become minimal. Both of them can now be used to create complex projects of different types.

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Illustration by Yuliia Dobrokhod for Fireart Studio

Traditionally, PHP was considered the programming language used for backend development or server-side. On the contrary, JavaScript was used for frontend development or client-side. The situation had changed at the root in 2009 when Node.js was introduced. From this moment, JavaScript became full-stack.

Yet, PHP is still one of the most popular programming language software, while both are among the developers’ most popular programming languages.

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Most popular programming language software

So what’s the difference between PHP and JavaScript? In this article, we will cover this question and explain in detail how the performance, speed, universality, community, extensibility, and syntax of these two languages differ. Also, you are going to know what the similarities are.

What is PHP? What is PHP used for?

Before we start analyzing PHP versus JavaScript, let’s first understand what PHP is.

PHP, or Hypertext Preprocessor, is a scripting language used for the server-side. First, it appeared back in 1995, and the demand for PHP is still huge. This is a basic technology used to create dynamic websites. PHP is widely used for data-driven websites, as it allows for processing large amounts of data. Postgre SQL, Oracle, Sybase, SQL, and MySQL are just some of the databases integrated with PHP. Additionally, PHP supports a huge variety of protocols, like IMAP, POP3, and LDAP.

If you are planning to develop a website or app with complex functionality, PHP will help you with that.

Latest W3Techs surveys show that developers use PHP to create 78.1% of all existing websites. As PHP has several versions (the latest one is PHP 8, released in November 2020), created websites are running different versions. Just compare: 69.9% were created with version 7, and less than 0.1% were created with version 3. 1.8% of websites were created with the latest version of PHP.

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A % of websites using different versions of PHP

Currently, PHP is used to develop e-commerce apps and websites, and blogs. Also, it is used as a part of the LAMP stack in developments.

PHP language has certain benefits due to which it is regularly chosen for development. These benefits include:

  • The number of PHP specialists is really high. You can hire a software engineer in-house or work with an outsourcing team
  • There are many educational materials and references that help to work with PHP. Due to this point, PHP is loved by the developers
  • PHP ensures fast speed of the websites, which helps to improve the position of the website in search engines and enhances user experience
  • PHP provides a big selection of options for database connectivity
  • As it is popular among the developers, it has a wide range of add-ons available in open-source
  • It perfectly works with cloud solutions.

What is JavaScript? What is JavaScript used for?

As we have already mentioned, the basic Javascript and PHP difference is that JavaScript is a client-side scripting language. Yet, server-side execution is also possible: server-side execution is also possible: Node.js and Angular.js are used for that. In 2021, over 64% of developers were implementing JavaScript.

Traditionally, JavaScript is used to create dynamic interfaces that ensure a client’s interaction and a website or app. It is also widely used in game development.

Before JavaScript appeared in 1995, websites were just plain pages with texts and images. There was no technology that could help make them more attractive. However, JavaScript changed everything. It’s impressive: 97.8% of all existing websites use JavaScript.

JavaScript (in combination with Node.js) is a perfect solution if you need to create the following:

  • SAP (single page application)
  • A real-time app that is highly dynamic and requires fast server requests
  • High-loaded projects
  • Dynamic and animated interfaces for an app or a website.

As well as PHP, JavaScript has a list of benefits due to which it is frequently chosen for development:

  • It serves to create fast websites and apps
  • JavaScript is one of the least complicated languages to learn; therefore, the number of talents of different levels is high
  • It is suitable for use on different platforms
  • It works great with many other languages; therefore, it can be combined with various server-side languages for a better quality of products
  • It reduces the load on the server, as JavaScript is basically a client-side language
  • It helps to create beautiful interfaces with ease.

Differences between PHP and JavaScript

The description of these two languages has already given us a basic understanding of what makes them different. However, we need to analyze the difference between JavaScript vs PHP for web development more fully to clarify when and where to use them.

Performance & Speed

Performance and speed are the basic characteristics of web development languages. When it comes to JavaScript and PHP, we should start with the biggest difference: the capability to run through the entire code.

For JavaScript, simultaneous work on the entire code is one of the basic features. Due to it, JavaScript is used for dynamic platforms, such as streaming. As we have already mentioned, JavaScript cannot be used as a server-side programming language, but Node.js makes it possible. Therefore, the server connection is faster and more accurate.

And what about PHP? We cannot deny that PHP is more stable than JavaScript, as it does not require additional programming languages to work on the server-side. However, PHP cannot execute two lines of code simultaneously. This causes slight delays in work compared to JavaScript.

Universality

What language to choose: PHP or JavaScript for web development when it comes to universality? Both are cross-platform, which means that both will help you create a website or app for any platform. However, one thing makes JavaScript more attractive than PHP regarding this point.

JavaScript, even though it requires Node.js or any other .js for full performance, can be used as a full-stack language. It means that any custom solution can be developed with JavaScript, including the frontend part.

The situation is not that simple with PHP. PHP will cover all your needs regarding the server side, but there will be complications with the client side. The matter is that PHP is the part of the LAMP stack that also includes Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python. In order to create a visual page for a website or app, a software engineer should also work with HTML or CSS, which belong to frontend development.

Community

For developers, the community plays a significant role. Community helps find answers to the most complicated issues; members share their experience and knowledge.

GitHub, one of the biggest communities for developers, shows that JavaScript, as well as PHP, have a significant number of pull requests.

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GitHub pull request (2021)

Extensibility

The most significant ​​PHP JavaScript difference is their extensibility. Let’s start with JavaScript: as we have already mentioned, it can be combined with Node.js, Angular.js, React.js, and other server-side technologies that turn JavaScript into a full-stack programming language. Moreover, JavaScript can be combined with various front-end technologies, as well as HTML, XML, and Ajax.

PHP provides more complex solutions, like Drupal and WordPress. As PHP is part of the LAMP stack, it can also be extended with Linux, Apache, or MySQL. Additionally, PHP can be combined with HTML.

All in all, JavaScript is more open to extensibility than PHP, though both have rather attractive options.

Syntax

From one point of view, programming language syntax is a very personal thing. But when comparing PHP vs JavaScript for web development, it’s important to understand the basic difference between these two.

PHP has associative arrays. Objects and arrays are different entities in PHP. Therefore, they require different syntax. In JavaScript, they are interchangeable in syntax. It means that when using JavaScript, you can switch the syntax of objects and arrays.

JavaScript and PHP Similarities

When talking about the PHP vs JavaScript 2022 situation, it’s also important to cover the similarities between these two languages. It does not mean that similarities make these two languages identical, but still, they make them close to each other.

As PHP and JavaScript are object-oriented, their syntaxes have much in common. For example, their syntax contains data and code; they both use attributes. They both use brackets, and even the arrays start with ‘0’.

Both languages are open-source, which means that they can be modified depending on the needs. 

Language Type

When we described these languages, we mentioned that they are scripting languages. But what does it mean? The explanation is simple: they can be interpreted at runtime (translated into machine code using a third party). 

Among the benefits of the scripting languages are:

  • they can extract information from the data set
  • they are less code-intensive
  • they help to automate the execution of tasks.

Market Demand

Another thing that makes these two languages common is high market demand. Any company that plans to launch an app or a website needs a developer. And in most cases, they need either PHP or JavaScript developers. 

The size of PHP and JavaScript communities is also impressive, and it seems that these communities will keep growing.

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Size of programming language communities

Classes and Objects

Both languages emerged in 1995 and were originally not object-oriented. For PHP, the situation changed in 2004. For JavaScript, only in 2015. However, today both of them use classes and objects.

The introduction of classes and objects allows easier troubleshooting and debugging due to the modularity. Also, they help to reuse the code. Object-oriented languages are more flexible due to polymorphism. 

Typing of Variables

Extensive implementation of variables makes PHP and JavaScript easier for coding. The data types for each variable are assumed and can be easily changed by redefining the code.

Both languages use strings for variables. A sting is a set of characters.

By analyzing the similarities, we come to the conclusion that these two languages are different even though they have some common features. Still, the languages serve different purposes, and it’s always better to choose between them, analyzing your expectations from the product you want to get.

Do you want to create your own website? – Feel free to contact us!

If you have zero experience writing code, both PHP and JavaScript may seem too complicated to understand. Great news: you don’t need to know these languages to create a website or app. You can always hire a team of dedicated developers who will do all the job for you. Fireart is always here to help!

Moreover, if you have no idea what kind of programming language you need for your project, you can rely on us. We will analyze your needs and decide what language suits them better. In our team, we have all types of developers. Even if there’s a need to combine different technologies, we can do that for you.

As one of our basic services, we offer a full-cycle development. It means that you don’t need to think about what type of programming language is needed: client or server. We will find the best combination of technologies and languages, and you will get the result you need.

Feel free to contact us to discuss opportunities to work together on your next project. We’re sure our team will help you with that!

Conclusion

All programming languages have their peculiarities. Some of them serve the same goals, while others help create different programs. PHP and JavaScript have some traces that make them similar, but they have more features that make them different. A step-by-step analysis shows us that depending on the goals you pursue, the choice of language will be different as well.

Fortunately, there’s no need to learn any programming language if you want to create an app or a website. You can always count on professionals with huge expertise in your industry and app/website development. Fireart is one of those experts. If you have already decided to make your product more user-friendly and progressive, give us a call or leave a message. We’ll be glad to become a part of your team!


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