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I have a long relationship with PHP. I've always thought it to be terrible (well, at least since the time I started high school), but I totally agree with you that it is near impossible to pick other choices. PHP is supported on all shared web hosting servers. It is as easy as uploading your file and you are good to go. No strange CLI commands to run, no dependencies to download. Simple web form applications are really easy to get up and running in PHP (not as easy to make secure due to the non-existant type system). You don't even need to know PHP to use it, you can learn as you go. It's very easy to pick up and you can see all your changes immediately. These are all compelling features of PHP. In comparison, how do you deploy a Python web script? I mean a simple one-or-two-files type of script. Do you use the Python CGI module? How easy is it to read the querystring and posted form data in Python? How well documented is this use-case? If I search for how to publish Python to the web I end up with a lot of Django, regardless of if I really need a full-featured MVC framework. PHP is easy to deploy in a hackish manner. It only sucks when you are trying to leave the "hackish state" or write something secure. I therefore think that the "hackish state" is what needs to be implemented in other languages. It must be easy to set up a simple script hack, but equally easy to deploy high-quality products. Here are some of the features I think needs to be fixed by the PHP successor: * It must be easy to host. Shared web hosting companies must be able to do a simple "aptitude install perfect-language-web-package" or something similar and just tweak the configuration to their needs. The web hosting market is also heavily concerned with price so a free environment is preferred. This also sort of implies that there should be one preferred way of deployment, not a multitude of different methods. * It must be easy to deploy. It is hard enough to get web developers to grasp all the intricacies of FTP and user permissions. To get into the market you should be able to deploy by just uploading your files. * It must be well documented for web use cases. This includes tutorials, support forums and so on. * The language must have web support. It must have good support for web technology like HTTP headers, character encodings, file uploads, form posts, sessions, databases and cookies. Preferrably even a really good Ajax framework. Bonus points if most of this is automatic. I welcome a future without PHP and I am prepared to help out on this work. Please keep us updated!
Commented Jun 29, 2012 on
The PHP Singularity
The PHP Singularity
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