Why PHP?

One of the best things about PHP is the large number of Internet service providers (ISPs) and Web hosting companies that support it. Today there are hundreds of thousands of developers using PHP, and it's not surprising that there are so many, considering that several million sites are reported to have PHP installed.

You already know that PHP is a cross-platform technology and that once you've written your Web page, it's easy to get it up and running on our Web server, but how does PHP compare with other technologies out there? Well, comparing PHP with Perl is a bit tricky because they were designed for different things. PHP was specifically designed to rapidly create dynamic Web content; Perl was not. As a result, Perl can sometimes be a complicated language that can become prohibitive for users who want to create Web pages. Comparing PHP with ASP is a more balanced comparison, but then you have to pay for ASP, and ASP doesn't work well on a variety of platforms—it needs to be used on other proprietary platforms for which you also must pay.

You may ask, "Is there a downside to PHP?" In the past, PHP has been criticized for the way it handled a number of things—for example, one of its main stumbling blocks was the way in which it implemented object support. However, PHP5 has taken stock of the downfalls of its predecessors and, where necessary, has completely rewritten the way in which it implements its functionality. Now more than ever, PHP is a serious contender for large-scale enterprise developments as well as having a large, consolidated base of small- to medium-sized applications.