If you follow the PHP blogs, then you are likely to have read Matt “WordPress” Mullenweg’s anti-PHP 5 rant:
PHP 5 has been, from an adoption point of view, a complete flop. Most estimates place it in the single-digit percentages or at best the low teens, mostly gassed by marginal frameworks.
He makes some good points in the post. He also manages to make himself seem like a bit of a dick :)
The thing that I keep wondering is if we aren’t seeing a slowdown in general PHP adoption due to other technologies being able to get a leg up while PHP 5 was in development and the succeeding slow migration from PHP 4 to 5.
Now that I work for a company creating Java-based software, I see:
- Zend on the PHP-side, who are happy to announce version 1.0 of object-oriented Zend Framework and J2EE on the Java-side already out there on the market for quite some time.
- On the Java-side, Alfresco continuously and quickly building a high-quality ECM based on Open Source Java components and on the PHP-side eZ Systems who yet do not have their flagship ECM product migrated to PHP 5.
Finally, with PHP 5, it is possible to build OO libraries able to compete with Java libraries as far as quality is concerned – but, well, those Java libraries already have a long market track-record, i.e. have been in production use for a long time.
My impression is that PHP 5 slowed down the development of PHP applications able to compete with similar Java-based server-side products. The problem being that migration from PHP 4 to PHP 5 consumes quite some developer resources for complex PHP applications. Additionally, PHP 4 keeps developers busy with finding workarounds for their applications due to limited OO features.
Did PHP applications lose market share or at least not grow as fast as their Java (or C#, etc.) counterparts due to the slow adoption of PHP 5? Unfortunately, I did not find an informative basis to answer this question sufficiently and would appreciate any hints.