- PHP is used in many, many companies.
- PHP is used in some big companies like Facebook and Yahoo.
- PHP has many developers.
- PHP has apps that are not going away in the foreseeable future.
- PHP has apps that are never going away. (WordPress and Wikipedia, to name two. There are more.)
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. All true. But if you are a PHP developer, now would be a good time to start learning something else…
My argument hinges on the idea that no growing company “switches” to PHP. You either start with it, and grow the company, or you never do use it.
See, if you scan the links at TechCrunch.com, you’ll never see a startup that launches on PHP. Actually, I don’t think I’ve seen one in a decade now. (Does Identi.ca count?) Starting around 2006, PHP startups were replaced by Rails startups, which gave way to Python startups, which gave way to nodejs startups. Not being part of the startup scene means that no companies are going to suddenly grow big, and find themselves supporting an installed base of PHP (as Facebook did).
I hope you’ll agree that none of today’s startups are going to switch to PHP at some point. Twitter switched from Rails to Java/Scala, for example. Not to PHP.
Which, I submit, means that PHP will slowly (ever so slowly) fade away.
But take heart my PHP friends! If you just need to eke out another decade or so until retirement, I think you have plenty of runway. There are countless organizations with WordPress/Drupal/Joomla.
Did you know that Hawaii built their state-wide Obamacare site on WordPress? How neat is that? At the same time, I think it exposes the glass ceiling for PHP: cost-constrained organizations, that will accept something “good enough”, and have reasonable scaling requirements (Hawaii has just 1.4MM people, same as San Diego).