The Bedrock of PHP FI

The Bedrock of PHP: Q&A With Viktar Barysevich.

According to this month’s  bi-annual survey of programming language popularity conducted by IT consultancy Redmonk, PHP is still ranked as the fourth programming language in popularity behind JavaScript, Python and Java.

The rankings provide a measurement of available data to provide a sense of the language trends, and it’s clear to see that the language holds firm at the top in the development community.

We asked Viktar Barysevich, head of PHP at Godel about the language, Godel’s division and the challenges facing companies at present.

Q: What’s the background of Godel’s PHP division – why has it grown?

Godel’s PHP division started life in early 2016 with just two developers working on our first project with customer  Manheim (now Modix). Today the division has grown to almost 40 developers, and we’re working on around 15 client engagement streams. There is still a lack of skills in the UK, and the division’s growth has been and continues to be very much in response to the demand from the market for those skills. Today the division is working with additional clients such as DealTrak and  MVF Global to help build core PHP applications.

Q: What’s the current state of PHP as a language? 

The Bedrock of PHP 1

PHP is generally a simpler language to learn when developers start out in software engineering and so it’s often learnt first, but it can also be used to build more complex things and can solve a lot of the same problems as more complicated object-oriented languages like Java and C#, which is why it is still popular in the development community.  It’s a base language for any solution. When you decide to use it to build a solution you can flexibly choose technologies to work with – for example, if you have a global search requirement, you can use Elasticsearch to communicate with your PHP application. The language is by no means in decline, it has new versions being released regularly and there are many enterprise solutions that work closely with PHP – systems such as Laravel, Symfony and Elastic.

The PHP open source community is a large one and there is a lot of source code resources that can be implemented into applications completely free. Just install and use + no need to pay for third-party licences.

Q: What PHP challenges are companies facing right now – and how is Godel solving them?

In the UK market, PHP skills are difficult to find, which is why many companies have re-assessed their strategies around it and tried to migrate to a different language – but that’s a challenging thing to do. Migrating and transforming from one language to another can take a long time and given PHP’s wide use in e-commerce, the companies that typically rely on it are those with customer-facing applications that quite simply can’t afford downtime. Transforming any solution into another language means facing issues such as converting business logic into something completely different which doesn’t deliver the desired results. Companies have three choices; migrate, maintain and optimise or build from scratch.

Godel is currently working with DealTrak on re-platforming their legacy platform into the latest version of PHP, and with Modix on moving their application into the cloud. Cloud hosting, databases and messaging tools are all available and communicable with PHP. The future of the language is promising.

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