JavaScript vs PHP: Which One to Choose in 2022

By | March 26, 2022
JavaScript vs PHP

For a web developer, PHP is replaceable with other back-end tools, but one cannot just ignore JavaScript. Though there are various frameworks of JavaScript trending these days, JavaScript is irreplaceable. Even comparing PHP and JavaScript (JavaScript vs PHP) is not fair as both serve completely different purposes. Nonetheless, the main focus of this article would be to list down the main difference between PHP and JS.

JavaScript has Node.js, which uses JavaScript at the server-side, and because of this JS tool, we can compare the role of JavaScript with PHP. Here in this article, we have provided a simple and comprehensive head-to-head comparison between JavaScript and PHP that enumerates the differences between the two powerful web development tools. But before comparing them, let’s have a brief introduction to each.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a powerful scripting language developed by Brenden Eich. It is one of the main pillars of front-end development along with HTML and CSS. We call it a scripting language because it can be embedded within an HTML page. JS also follows the concept of object-oriented programming, and its code gets interpreted by the browser itself, which makes it a client-side programming language.

To run JavaScript code, we do not need to install any compiler or interpreter. A simple web browser is enough to execute JS code. Compared to other front-end tools, JavaScript covers a large portion of web development. It has many powerful frameworks, such as Angular, React, Vue, and Node.js. Also, Node.js has extended the limits of JavaScript to back-end development and server-side scripting.

History

Brendan Eich of Netscape initially designed JavaScript. In 1993, the first web browser with a graphical user interface, Mosaic, was released. It played a vital role in the development of the World Wide Web. Later, the lead developers of Mosaic founded Netscape.

In 1994, Netscape then released a more polished web browser or a better version of Mosaic, Netscape Navigator. But during the development of the web, the web pages were only static and not dynamic. Therefore, Netscape decided to add a scripting language to Navigator.

To accomplish this goal, they followed two ways. The first was they thought to collaborate with Sun Microsystems to embed the Java programming language and the other was to hire Brendan Eich to embed the Scheme language. However, Netscape later decided to design a new language with the help of Brendan Eich that would have a similar syntax to Java and less like Schema.

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Brendan Eich then designed LiveScript and became part of Navigator in 1995. Later, its name was changed to JavaScript for the official release in December 1995.

Features of JavaScript

The following are the salient features of JavaScript:

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  • Lightweight Scripting Language: Since JavaScript is not a general-purpose language, it has a limited set of libraries, which makes it a lightweight language. It is designed for the client-side execution on the browser.
  • Interpreted Language: JavaScript is an interpreted language and not compiled one. The browser interprets JavaScript code line by line.
  • Event Handling: With JavaScript, you can handle events and create custom events.
  • Case-Sensitive: JavaScript is a highly case-sensitive language. All function names, keywords, variables, and identifiers follow a consistent capitalization of letters.
  • Dynamic Typing: There is no need to explicitly define the data type of variables while declaring.

Advantages of JavaScript

Here are some notable benefits of JavaScript:

  • JavaSCript is a lightweight and easy-to-learn language.
  • It gives users control to manipulate the HTML content.
  • All the modern browsers support JavaScript.
  • You can use it for both front-end and back-end web development.
  • JS is an interpreted programming language, which makes it easy to debug.
  • It improves the performance of websites or web applications by reducing the length of code.
  • JavaScript works well with other programming languages. You can embed JavaScript code into any web page or the script of any programming language.
  • It can handle time and date.

Disadvantages of JavaScript

Some of the major drawbacks of JavaScript are as follows:

  • Clients can view JavaScript code, and hence, they can use it for malicious purposes.
  • Each browser interprets JavaScript code differently. Therefore, you need to check your code on various browsers before publishing.
  • Not all HTML editors support debugging like C and C++ editors. Also, the browser does not highlight any errors. Therefore, it becomes challenging to detect the errors.
  • JavaScript does not support multiple inheritance.
  • A single code error can stop the rendering of the entire JavaScript code.

What is PHP?

PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. Developed in 1995, PHP is a general-purpose, server-side scripting language, which means its code executes at the server. Though these days we have many other server-side scripting tools, more than 82% of websites are built on PHP.

It is used to build web applications. No matter whether it is a small or big application, PHP can build any web application. Nonetheless, PHP is much famous for developing content management systems (CMS). Leading CMSs like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are built on PHP.

PHP is a server-side scripting language that makes it slow compared to JavaScript because the code executes at the server-side and then sends the response to the user in HTML format. This whole process of executing a file at the server-side and sending response slows PHP code execution.

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History

Rasmus Lerdorf, in 1994, started developing PHP. At the same time, he wrote several Common Gateway Interface (CGI) programs in C for his personal programming language. Later, he extended those CGIs to communicate with databases and work with web forms, and this implementation is called Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter or PHP/FI.

However, PHP/FI could only support the development of simple dynamic web applications. Rasmus Lerdorf, in June 1995, released Personal Home Page Tools (PHP Tools) version 1.0 to improve code and speed up bug reporting.

Earlier, PHP was not a programming language. Later, Rasmus continued the development and released PHP/FI 2 in November 1997. In the same year, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans rewrote the parser and developed the foundation for PHP 3. They changed the language’s name to the recursive acronym, PHP, which stood for Hypertext Preprocessor. Further, in 1998, they launched PHP 3 officially.

The year 2000 witnessed the release of PHP 4 powered with Zend Engine 1.0, and the year 2004 witnessed the release of PHP 5 powered with Zend Engine II. PHP 5 included improved features, such as support for object-oriented programming and various performance enhancements.

PHP version 6.0 was planned to release with Unicode support, but it was not released and the major PHP version PHP 7 was released in 2014 and 2015. Later, PHP 8 was released in 2020, which was a more improvised version and included many new features.

Features of PHP

Here are some common features of PHP:

  • Object-Oriented: PHP supports the object-oriented programming paradigm from PHP 5 onwards. It supports all OOPs concepts, such as inheritance, polymorphism, abstraction, and encapsulation.
  • Interpreted Language: Being an interpreted language, PHP does not require a compiler. An interpreter executes PHP code line by line.
  • Case-Sensitive: PHP is partially case-sensitive. Function names are not case-sensitive but all other things are case-sensitive.
  • Platform-Independent: PHP is platform-independent. You can run a set of PHP code developed on one machine on another machine, irrespective of the operating system.
  • Loosely-Typed Language: You can declare variables in PHP without defining its data type.

Advantages of PHP

The following are the remarkable advantages of PHP:

  • PHP is an open-source programming language.
  • It is easy to learn and has a low learning curve. If you are familiar with the C language, you can easily learn PHP.
  • It is used to create dynamic web pages.
  • PHP has powerful library support.
  • It can be integrated with relational databases, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle Database.
  • It has excellent community support.

Disadvantages of PHP

Here are some disadvantages of PHP:

  • Since it is an open-source language, PHP is not secure.
  • It is not ideal for giant content-based applications.
  • It does not allow you to change the core behavior of online applications.
  • Using multiple PHP features may result in poor performance.
  • Since PHP is a loosely-typed language, it can cause incorrect data knowledge to users.

Similarities Between JavaScript vs PHP 

Though both PHP and JavaScript are used for different purposes, they share some similarities. Before discussing JavaScript vs PHP, let’s first understand these:

  1. Interpreted Programming languages – Both languages are interpreted programming languages.
  2. Scripting Languages – Both are web scripting languages and can be embedded inside an HTML page.
  3. Open-Source – PHP, and JavaScript are free-to-use, open-source programming languages.
  4. Object-Oriented Programming – Both programming languages follow the concept of object-oriented programming.
  5. Case-Sensitive – Both the programming language are case-sensitive.
  6. Platform-Independent – JavaScript, and PHP are platform-independent and can run on any operating system.

JavaScript vs PHP: A Head-to-Head Comparison

JavaScript PHP
Created
JS was created by Brendan Eich in 1995. PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994.
Scripting Technology
Although JavaScript is a client-side technology, it can be used at the server-side with NodeJS. PHP is a server-side technology.
Code Execution
JS code executes at the client-side and inside the web browser. PHP code executes at the server, and then the response is sent back to the user.
Learning Curve
JavaScript is easy to learn, but as we go deep in JavaScript, its frameworks can be complex to understand. PHP, on the other hand, is difficult to learn, and its frameworks make it more complex to use.
Code Security
There is no code security in JavaScript. Thus, any user can see the JavaScript code. As PHP code executes at the server, it provides more code security, and the user cannot see the code.
Threading
JavaScript is a single-thread programming language. PHP is a multi-thread programming language.
Database:
JavaScript cannot access the database directly. It needs an environment to do so, such as Node.js. PHP can easily access a database to create dynamic web applications.
Plugins
JavaScript can link with HTML, XML and Ajax. PHP is limited to HTML for linking.
JSON
JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation, which is a data format to send data, and JavaScript and Node.js use JSON more effectively. PHP can also use JSON, but not that effectively like JS.

 JavaScript vs PHP: Which Programming Language Should I Choose?

It does not matter whether you want to be a full-stack developer or only a back-end developer; you cannot ignore JavaScript. You can be a full-stack developer using JavaScript only, but you are limited to only back-end development if you only use PHP. Also, in the past few years, PHP has lost its position as the top backend tool as now there are many other tools in the market that are performing better than PHP.

So to be a web developer, we suggest you learn JavaScript and one or more of its frameworks. You do not need to learn everything in JS. Once you are done with JavaScript, you can move to any backend tool. It could be either PHP or any other popular back-end technology. For a beginner, however, PHP is one of the best back-end development tools.

Conclusion

That sums up our JavaScript vs PHP comparison. Both the technologies have specific purposes, but if we look in terms of popularity, JavaScript has the edge over PHP. Many popular programming indices rank JavaScript as the number one programming language. So with this article, we hope you get a better idea of which one to choose between PHP and JavaScript in 2022.

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