What is PHP?
Who uses PHP?
Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose PHP in their tech stack.
When I joined NYT there was already broad dissatisfaction with the LAMP (Linux Apache HTTP Server MySQL PHP) Stack and the front end framework, in particular. So, I wasn't passing judgment on it. I mean, LAMP's fine, you can do good work in LAMP. It's a little dated at this point, but it's not ... I didn't want to rip it out for its own sake, but everyone else was like, "We don't like this, it's really inflexible." And I remember from being outside the company when that was called MIT FIVE when it had launched. And been observing it from the outside, and I was like, you guys took so long to do that and you did it so carefully, and yet you're not happy with your decisions. Why is that? That was more the impetus. If we're going to do this again, how are we going to do it in a way that we're gonna get a better result?
So we're moving quickly away from LAMP, I would say. So, right now, the new front end is React based and using Apollo. And we've been in a long, protracted, gradual rollout of the core experiences.
React is now talking to GraphQL as a primary API. There's a Node.js back end, to the front end, which is mainly for server-side rendering, as well.
Behind there, the main repository for the GraphQL server is a big table repository, that we call Bodega because it's a convenience store. And that reads off of a Kafka pipeline.
Our whole Node.js backend stack consists of the following tools:
- Lerna as a tool for multi package and multi repository management
- npm as package manager
- NestJS as Node.js framework
- TypeScript as programming language
- ExpressJS as web server
- Swagger UI for visualizing and interacting with the API’s resources
- Postman as a tool for API development
- TypeORM as object relational mapping layer
- JSON Web Token for access token management
The main reason we have chosen Node.js over PHP is related to the following artifacts:
- Flexibility: Node.js sets very few strict dependencies, rules and guidelines and thus grants a high degree of flexibility in application development. There are no strict conventions so that the appropriate architecture, design structures, modules and features can be freely selected for the development.
We use PHP because of fast development time, compatibility and maturity. Yes - its not the most elegant programming language and if you're not careful, its very easy to end up with spaghetti monolithic code. But with the right structure and discipline, we find PHP to be one of the fastest ways to go from idea to prototype to production.
We use PHP because we started as a startup and this was the fastest way to prototype our ideas back when we started. Today we are migrating away from most of it by re-implementing our frontend in React. We will most likely still keep the PHP core as our API because the database and the ORM we use is implemented very clean.
For markup and style, I used Pug and Sass, since they’re the perfect match to me. I love the clean and strict syntax of both of them and even more that their structure is almost similar. Also, both of them come with an expanded functionality such as mixins, loops and so on related to their “siblings” (HTML and CSS). Both of them require nesting and prevent untidy code, which can be a huge advantage when working in teams. I used JSON to store data (since the data quantity on my website is moderate) – JSON works also good in combo with Pug, using for loops, based on the JSON Objects for example.
To send my contact form I used PHP, since sending emails using PHP is still relatively convenient, simple and easy done.
DevOps: Of course, I used Git to do my version management (which I even do in smaller projects like my website just have an additional backup of my code). On top of that I used GitHub since it now supports private repository for free accounts (which I am using for my own). I use Babel to use ES6 functionality such as arrow functions and so on, and still don’t losing cross browser compatibility.
Side note: I used npm for package management. 🎉
For the backend of https://www.rsvpkeeper.com I went with Go.
My past few project have been built with Go and I'm really loving it. It was my first statically typed language after many years with PHP and Node.js - and honestly I couldn't be happier to have made the switch.
The biggest thing for me, is that with the forced declaration of types - it's made me feel like I've made a more solid backend. Sometimes with PHP I felt like a stiff breeze could knock the whole thing down. I know that's an exaggeration - but it's kinda how it feels.
Anyways, everyone knows that it almost doesn't even matter what an app is actually made with - what really matters are the design decisions you make a long the way.