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      Despite an immense degree of criticism and mockery, PHP continues to be a highly usable and regularly improving language in an under-served niche. Being the implementation language of Wordpress alone makes it a hugely important programming language, and I’m happy to see it continue to grow and change.

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        in an under-served niche

        I’m curious what you think that niche is exactly, and how/why it’s under-served. I’m not necessarily disagreeing, but my gut feeling is that is less true than it used to be.

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          I’m curious what you think that niche is exactly

          It gives the people mocking it something to mock, so they can ignore their own languages’ lack of power and flexibility relative to Common Lisp ;-P

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        I’m not going to bash on PHP, as I find it at least reasonably pleasant to work in, but I don’t see what niche it serves that Perl, Ruby, and Python don’t; from my perspective, it’s one of a small family of similar languages, as opposed to being very distinct in its own right.

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          I think the niche is (at least in part) “web-oriented script that you can drop straight into your htdocs and hit refresh to see changes immediately”. Ruby and Python tend not to serve that (tend to be used through application servers), Perl a little more so.

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            I’m not sure that’s nearly as compelling a story as it used to be. From what I’ve seen:

            1. Many PHP codebases have moved towards frameworks that are much more similar to what ruby and python tend to use with a centralized application, url routing service, view handlers, etc… While it’s certainly still possible to do the classic “inline scripts in your markup” approach, it seems to be something that the modern PHP community is moving pretty strongly away from, and is treated as an antipattern in many of these systems.
            2. Having a LAMP stack set up and running for you out of the box on every hosting option has become less common than it used to be, while it’s simultaneously become easier to get other stacks prebuilt in a reasonable default config w/ container and vps images.