This week, PHP: a fractal of bad design is making the rounds. It’s a lengthy list of thoughtful criticism of PHP as a programming language (and Web development platform). The PHP core team should read it, although the truth is that most of the problems can’t be addressed without breaking old PHP applications, and the PHP folks are generally reluctant to make those kinds of changes. PHP has a massive installed base on shared hosting servers — breaking old applications reduces the adoption rate of new versions.
Here’s the deal, though. For all of the complaints about PHP, thousands of businesses rely on it, and millions of people use it with varying degrees of expertise. I personally have spent thousands of hours hacking on PHP applications, sometimes with much frustration. None of the problems listed in that blog post have prevented me from getting my work done in that time.
We all choose the set of tradeoffs we’re willing to accept. I’m happy to take advantage of the opportunities working with PHP provides and do my best to stick to the good parts.