PHP vs JavaScript: What to Choose for Your Project?

PHP vs JavaScript: What to Choose for Your Project?

The holy war between PHP vs JavaScript enthusiasts has been going on for years, but this is a tight corner because claiming that one is better than another is wrong. There are many factors that affect the final choice, and they will decide which programming language will be more effective for your particular project.

Qubit Labs is here to help you make an informed decision between PHP vs. JavaScript and explain when to use which language. We’ll compare them based on several criteria, including:

  • Popularity 
  • Web development capabilities
  • Products that can be developed with them
  • Performance
  • Learning simplicity
  • Market demand

So, let’s get down to the topic. 

 

What is PHP?

PHP is a server-side scripting language. It’s mainly used for creating web apps, dynamic websites, and generating HTML. PHP boasts a wide range of functions, allowing developers to use it in almost any sphere of IT. 

This programming language is quite simple and easy to learn, which is one of its main benefits and reasons for its popularity. 

PHP is interpreted, which means it requires an interpreter (a program that takes PHP code and generates machine code out of it). This means that the programs developed with PHP are cross-platform or, in other words, can work on any operating system. 

Examples of websites using PHP: Facebook, Wikipedia, Tumblr, Slack

 

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is an interpreted dynamic programming language that is widely used to develop websites with client-side (browser) interactivity. It’s widespread to the extent that most websites would have stopped working correctly if you were to disable it in your browser. 

JavaScript is the best friend of HTML and CSS. HTML is used for a website’s structure, CSS — for a website’s style, and JavaScript makes the content dynamic, providing interactive elements that engage users. 

JavaScript allows changing the web page in different ways, and the development of interactive websites wouldn’t have been possible without this technology. 

Examples of websites using JavaScript: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon

 

JavaScript vs PHP: Which One is More Popular?

PHP

PHP takes 5th place in SlashData’s ranking, with around 7,3 million active software developers using it. PHP is most widespread in web and backend programming, being least demanded in DS/ML and mobile. 

A software-testing firm Tiobe mentioned the slow decline of PHP because now it’s facing severe competition in web programming. Nevertheless, many small and medium companies still rely on PHP because it provides certain opportunities that aren’t present in any other languages.  

 

JavaScript

Research by SlashData suggests that JavaScript is currently the most popular programming language. The JavaScript community boasts over 16,4 million users. It’s most popular in web and backend development, while it’s rarely used in DS/ML and embedded programming. 

JavaScript has been the world’s most used programming language for several years in a row. Notably, more than 2,5 million developers joined its community within the past six months. 

 

Winner: JavaScript

 

Comparing PHP vs JavaScript for Web Development

As per W3Tech’s report, 78.9% of all websites are built with PHP, implying that 8 out of every 10 websites that you use leverage PHP to a certain extent. However, if we consider client-side programming languages, JavaScript will be the most widely used technology. 

We can also compare PHP vs JavaScript for web development in terms of front-end and back-end development. The most significant difference between them is that PHP is a server-side scripting language, while JavaScript is full-stack. 

 

PHP

  • Can interact with such databases as Oracle and MySQL
  • Its code is more secure and less accessible because PHP is server-based
  • PHP is easily deployable because it’s installed on almost all hostings
  • Simple syntax

 

JavaScript

  • All popular browsers support JavaScript
  • Full integration with page layout and server-side
  • JavaScript allows using the destructuring syntax 
  • Has a high number of ready-made solutions that facilitate web development

 

Winner: PHP

 

JavaScript Framework vs PHP Framework: What can You Build with Them?

PHP

  • Websites. As it was created for web pages development, PHP allows building websites with intuitive design. Its functionality was specifically designed for the websites. It offers integration with HTML, compatibility with various databases, and a pleasant user interface. 

 

  • E-commerce apps. Many online platforms were created with PHP, including Ubercart, OpenCart, and Magento. Due to using different frameworks, such as Symfony or CodeIgniter, PHP offers broad opportunities for developing e-Commerce apps. These frameworks are open-source, allowing increased functionality, improved scalability and adaptivity, and smooth performance.  

 

  • CMS, CRM, ERP, and other corporate tools. PHP enables developing flexible, easily integrable, and convenient management platforms that can introduce several payment methods. 

 

  • Databases. PHP supports over 20 databases and can be used to create new databases. This programming language stands out in this area due to the simplicity of generating pages that work with databases.  

 

  • Mobile apps. Most apps rely on back-end services. And several PHP frameworks, including Symfony and Laravel, are suitable for mobile app backend development.  

 

JavaScript

  • Dynamic web-pages. All the tooltips, moving pictures, and other animations can be developed with JavaScript. Without JS, it’s almost impossible to create a full-fledged website.

 

  • Web apps and games. Some of the most notable examples are Google Maps and the webmail client Gmail. To create a browser-based game, you can also use JS, HTML5, and a JavaScript library (for example, EaselJS or PixiJS).

 

  • Browser extensions. Since JS code is executed in the browser, this is a perfect choice for creating browser extensions. For example, you can create extensions that help users be more productive, manage multiple social media accounts, or do image editing.  

 

  • Server-based application. Yes, you can develop a web server with JavaScript. Although JavaScript has many competitors in this area, it still boasts some advantages. Namely, JS allows for client and server-side development using a single language. 

 

  • Mobile apps. Although mobile apps are usually developed with Swift/Java/Kotlin, JavaScript allows creating cross-platform apps. To do so, you need to use ReactNative, Ionic, or PhoneGap frameworks. 

 

  • Desktop. Having combined Node.js and Chromium, GitHub came up with the Electron framework. It enables the development of cross-platform desktop projects. 

 

Winner: Both

 

PHP vs JavaScript Performance Comparison

PHP

PHP has a slow, synchronous code execution procedure. Every module or function is processed in the code-specified order. The next query can’t be executed if the previous one isn’t accomplished.  

JavaScript

JavaScript has an asynchronous execution or order-independent execution. Also, it can be used for high-load projects. It means that JavaScript has a better performance compared to PHP, significantly outperforming it. 

 

Winner: JavaScript

 

PHP vs JavaScript: Which one is easier to learn?

PHP

Those who just started their journey in the IT field mention that it’s much easier to start learning PHP than JavaScript. The latter has more peculiarities, and it’s hard for junior developers to understand and master them. Although PHP has inconsistent functions and returns values, it won’t take too long to puzzle them out. 

 

JavaScript

An entry-level JavaScript developer needs to have more knowledge than an equally-qualified PHP programmer. Also, setting up JavaScript is more challenging than PHP. Nevertheless, JS is more comprehensive and brings more value than PHP. 

 

Winner: PHP

 

Market Demand for PHP vs. JavaScript

The developers specializing in both languages are in high demand. Software engineers using JavaScript and PHP receive competitive salaries.

Read our article about the average software developer salaries in the world to compare PHP vs JavaScript rates in different countries. 

 

PHP

As per ZipRecruiter, the average PHP developer salary in the US is $86,003 per year.

average PHP developer salary in the US

 

JavaScript

The average JavaScript developer salary in the US is $107,529 per annum.

average JavaScript developer salary in the US

Check out our article about JavaScript developer salaries to know more.

 

Winner: Both

 

PHP vs JavaScript: What to Choose?

As they say, “winning isn’t everything,” and this JavaScript vs PHP comparison proved that both programming languages have their strengths and weaknesses and are used for different purposes. 

If we were to look at the table with PHP vs JavaScript, we would have seen an equal number of “wins.”

The choice comes down to your preferences and project demands. 

 

Opt for PHP when you need to:

  • Develop an e-Commerce website
  • Access to data locked in databases

 

Opt for JavaScript when you need to:

  • Transform web pages from static to dynamic
  • Create server applications
  • Develop web applications (Angular and Vue.js facilitate the development process)
  • Create games while having full access to the web (accompanied by additional plugins)
  • Build mobile apps (React Native supports the implementation of native features into hybrid apps)

 

Deciding Between PHP vs. JavaScript For Your Project?

Software development requires time, resources, and money. In this matter, delegating tasks is the key to maximizing business performance. 

Qubit Labs can help you with PHP and JavaScript development while you take care of core business tasks. 

We’re willing to take up the challenge, so don’t hesitate to get in touch and start your project with us. 

 

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Oksana Zabolotna
HBD at Qubit Labs
Oksana is a team leader of sales and marketing team at Qubit Labs.