Does PHP 5 Hurt PHP?

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:

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.

About Sandro Groganz

Sandro Groganz is an expert in the field of marketing open-source products. He co-founded Age of Peers, a global communications agency for organizations in Open Source. He served as Head of Marketing at Magnolia, creator of the open web content management system Magnolia CMS, Vice President of Marketing at Mindquarry, an open source startup financed by Hasso Plattner Ventures, and Vice President of Communication at eZ Systems, the creator of the open source content management system eZ Publish.

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