Front-end and Back-end Programming
Hypertext Preprocessor, better known as PHP, is a regular scripting language that became the primary server-side language for web developers. PHP started way back in 1995, and web developers love it because of its modifications and latest updates. Most of the websites you see these days run on PHP. Its popularity is mainly due to the unanimous choice for various content management systems, such as Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. Apart from these three traditional CMS structures, some of the modern frameworks also use PHP like CakePHP, Symfony, and Laravel.
Similarities between PHP and Node.js
Web developers often become picky about the best back-end technology for a website. With PHP and Node.js going head to head, let’s take a look at some of their similarities first.
Differences between PHP and Node.js
Although both Node.js and PHP are server-side languages, they have a few notable differences.
1. Runtime Environments
You can embed both PHP and Node.js directly into HTML. That’s the only similarity they have. But, when it comes to running the program, they both need different interpreters. Interpreters play a crucial role in the functioning of these two programming languages. PHP is widely known for being straightforward. You can install it in a flash and also use it on the server-side. Most importantly, it has a backing of Zend engine. That makes it even faster for web developers.
When it comes to simplicity, development in PHP races ahead of Node.js. Conceptually, PHP is easier to understand and use. That is why experts recommend using PHP to new web developers. For example, you try to set up a server. You will not need some complicated programs and scripts; instead, all you require is a “.php” file along with some programming codes within tags, and that’s pretty much everything. You can enter the respective URL in the browser and hit enter. That’s it!
Web servers like MySQL, backed by PHP, interpret your file and simultaneously, displays it on the web page of your browser. On the other hand, it is slightly different to set up a Node.js server. Unlike PHP, it requires a little more of coding lines to execute the files in the browser. You also need a basic knowledge about callback functions and how closures work.
Most server-side programming languages use multi-threads. PHP is one of those languages. It blocks I/O from carrying out various multi-tasks simultaneously. Node.js slightly edges ahead of PHP on this one. It uses a handful of tricks like adding node clustering with event loop to achieve its objective of executing an event-driven program. It doesn’t necessarily block I/O execution models even if they use one primary thread for implementing the program.
However, since PHP is more mature, it has come up with a technique to tackle asynchronous processing. In fact, quite recently, it launched the HHVM project on Facebook, which was the start of testing the blocking and unblocking of I/O execution models.
When to use PHP?
Most web developers, especially those working in the back-end, often ask when they should use PHP or Node.js. Well, here are some of the projects where PHP development will save your day:
- Software stacks, such as Apache, PHP, MySQL, and Linux. Everything that includes LAMP stack should have PHP as its backing.
- Content management systems, such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, etc.
- Servers, such as MariaDB, Sybase, Postgresql, Oracle, SQL, and MySQL, etc.
When to use Node.js?
- When you are working with software stacks, such as MEAN stack, including Express.js, MongoDB, and AngularJS.
- SPAs or Dynamic single-page applications.
- Various front-end technologies, such as Backbone.js, AngularJS, ReactJS, Ember.js, and jQuery.
- Server-side technologies, such as MongoDB, Node.js, and Express.js,
Both Node.js and PHP have their benefits and limitations, but selecting either of them depends on the project you are handling.