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PHP vs JavaScript

Jean-François Arnaud
Jean-François ArnaudCEO of Blacksmith


JavaScript (JS for short) and PHP are two programming languages very popular with web developers.

They are also often opposed to each other, especially when it comes to choosing the technology with which you will program an API, create your website or even implement your web or mobile application or your Progressive Web App.

Although they share similarities in their operation, these two computer languages also have strong differences that may make them more suitable for certain types of projects or tasks.


What is the most appreciated language for web development?

Historically, PHP had the advantage of being one of the most popular programming languages in web development, but the situation has changed in recent years.

Stack overflow indicates in its ranking of the most used languages in 2022, that JS has been at the top of the ranking for 10 years now.

The popularity of PHP has therefore gradually declined, and JavaScript has gained in users thanks to the rise of modern MVC (Model-View-Controller) frameworks such as Vue.js, React.js or Angular, but also web applications. interactive.

PHP remains widely used, especially in France where it is the 4th most popular computer language in 2022.

The communities, libraries and frameworks available around these languages are highly developed, which is an asset for not having to reinvent the wheel as soon as you want to create new features or even if you get stuck on a piece of code.

What is the most powerful language for web development?

In the past, JavaScript was mainly used to create front-ends running in web browsers. It was also common for developers to combine JS and PHP with architectures where PHP managed the back part and JS, the front part.

With the arrival of the Node.js framework in 2009, JavaScript finds common use on back-ends to create APIs, serve pages using template engines or even communicate with databases.

Node.js uses the V8 engine (created by Google) and allows asynchronous development in JS, placing the language alongside more robust programming languages such as PHP or Python.

The framework makes it possible to develop all types of products, and many companies use it, such as Paypal, NASA, LinkedIn, Uber or even Netflix.

The JavaScript language also makes it possible to create Progressive Web App (or PWA) or to implement micro services in AWS (lambda function), which is not feasible using only PHP.

PHP side, the power of the language is not to be demonstrated with server-side execution and powerful frameworks such as Laravel, CodeIgniter or Symfony which allow the creation of dynamic content, interacts with databases, etc.

PHP is known for its simplicity and flexibility.

Regarding performance and execution speed, the advantage is for JavaScript, even if the gap between the two languages has narrowed considerably over time.

What is the easiest programming language to learn first?

It all depends on what the programmer who wants to learn to code in PHP or JavaScript already knows.

PHP has a syntax derived from that of the C language, which can be an advantage if you want to learn PHP by already being familiar with the C or C++ languages.

In general, developers consider PHP to be relatively easy to learn where JavaScript has a syntax that some find more difficult to understand, especially if for beginners in programming... it remains a question of point of view and of other developers do not recognize an advantage for one of the two languages on this issue.

Regarding the typing of variables, the two languages are historically weakly typed, unlike languages such as Java, C++ or even TypeScript which require a variable to respect a type such as "integer/int" (integer), "bool/ boolean" (boolean that can be true or false) or even "string (character string).

There we can for example have an implementation in JavaScript with a "var Color" variable that can have a value that varies during the execution of the program, such as "blue", 0 or even #0000FF.

If you want to strongly type your variables, it is also possible to do it in PHP with PHP 7, and you can opt for development in TypeScript which is a typed superset whose objective is to secure and improve the quality and maintainability of JavaScript code.

What is the easiest programming language to learn first?

PHP or JavaScript?

If the two languages are very different, PHP and JavaScript remain two solid and legitimate languages when a web developer wishes to choose a computer language to implement his project.

In our web development agency, we decided in favor of JavaScript after having learned from several months of work with an ex-Symfony expert now committed to the cause of Node.js

JS is in perpetual motion with powerful and well-maintained frameworks and we love using it to create extremely high-performance, animated, and manageable generated web applications and static sites from a Headless CMS (long live the JAMStack and Strapi!).

And you, what is your favorite web language?

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