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JavaScript Vs. PHP: Difference between JavaScript and PHP

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20th Jun, 2023
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JavaScript Vs. PHP: Difference between JavaScript and PHP

The comparison of Javascript vs. PHP is not entirely fair. The existence of both of these languages is very different; however, the way that JavaScript evolved now intersects the work that PHP was said to accomplish. To make things clear, JavaScript was the language that was created for just the development of the client’s end (front end). Whereas PHP was developed to handle the server-side or the backend of web development.

Due to recent developments in JavaScript (mainly the addition of Node.js), now JavaScript has gained the capability to run on the server. So. If you compare or find out the difference between javascript and PHP, you would have to compare their prowess in handling the backend or server-side scripting.

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It is only fair just to compare the backend because PHP simply does not allow the users to actually write code to design the things on the webpage that the user would see and interact. Let us discuss the very detailed comparison of the two languages after we have learned more about each of them.

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JavaScript

The sole purpose of creating JavaScript ack in 1995 was to create a language that would seamlessly integrate with the web browser and eliminate the need to re-compile code every time without any separate plugins. JavaScript had indeed grown and developed a lot from those early days of Netscape navigator and the time when it was called LiveScript instead of JavaScript.

The most notable change which was brought into the language was the addition of Node.js. With Node.js, JavaScript gained an additional functionality of being able to run even on the server, thus making this an ideal choice for full-stack development. However, JavaScript has not strayed far away from its root. It still is a high level, multi-purpose, and a programming language that is dynamic in nature.

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The statics shows that JavaScript is by far the most widely used language among the developers. With over 69% of the developer worldwide using this language for their needs and over 5% of people to adopt this language, JavaScript has been blessed with a strong community to back it up and. 

Read: Javascript Project Ideas & Topics

PHP

The full form of PHP is Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is the open-source language that was created in the year of 1994 by the developer named Rasmus Lerdorf, with the sole aim to handle the development of backed and server-side scripting. Since its release, PHP has grown since then and is globally recognized for its capacity to develop the backend.

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A recent survey conducted by W3Tech showed that almost 79% of the developed websites are based out of PHP. Meaning PHP is behind the development of about 79% of all the websites currently hosted on the World Wide Web. Even the websites widely used and regarded by their fans, like Facebook, Wikipedia, and even WordPress, also use PHP in their respective websites.

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Read: PHP Project Ideas & Topics

Difference between javascript and PHP

Now that we have seen what these two programming languages do and what are the reason that led to the creation of the two, the time is potent to discuss their differences by pitting them head to head. (As already mentioned, the comparison would be based on just their capacity to handle server-side scripting):

Differences in the two languages’ speed and performances

 The main distinguishing factor that makes JavaScript unique from other languages is the model that it is based upon. This language follows a non-blocking and an event-driven Input-Output model, which runs in the clusters of nodes by creating an event loop. Also, this programming language’s very nature is asynchronous, meaning the entire code that is written can be executed at one time.

Just because of this same feature in the environment where the ping and latency are very low, Node.js outshines itself. It makes the entire application faster, and because of the V8 chrome engine that Node.js is based on, the server’s stability and connection to the server are all but guaranteed.

Whereas PHP also follows the multi-threading and the non-blocking model for input and output but, PHP is actually synchronous in nature. Meaning the interpreter of this language goes line by line; thus, the third line’s code cannot be executed before the code of the second line runs. This makes PHP very slow when you compare it with the speed at which the code is written in JavaScript runs. Where PHP lacks in speed, it tries to make that up in the department of stability. The fact of stability is, however, not proven yet. 

Differences in the community backing the two languages

 In the words of Stackshare.io, the reason behind the mass popularity if JavaScript is because of the fact that the use of it is universal. Now that JavaScript can be used to write both from and back end, more full-stack developers would pick this language up. One fascinating thing to note here is that while most of the frameworks which are based on the language of JavaScript are open source in nature.

In contrast, the language itself is not. Yes, JavaScript is not an open-source language. Hence it is very ironic to see the majority of GitHub, which is the haven of open source code to be dominated by the language of JavaScript.

Stackshare.io says that the thing that the PHP community loved the most is the open-source and the ease of deployment of the language. The major players who use PHP are Facebook, Lyft, Wikipedia, and even the social media sensation 9GAG.

The open-source nature of PHP allows it to be more malleable than vanilla JavaScript. On GitHub, PHP scores a very respectable 8th position in terms of popularity (Popularity is calculated by mostly weighing in the number of pull requests on the respective GitHub pages of these languages).

Learning Curve

It will take a person less time and effort to come to terms with the syntax and PHP peculiarities. With just a few words of code, you can get the server up and running. The return values and the inconstancies present throughout PHP’s language are much simpler to understand and digest.

Setting up camp and making Node.js up and running on the server is not a particularly demanding task. With that being said, a beginner JavaScript developer must have more knowledge than what a PHP developer on the same level must have to get the most out of the language.

Like most things in life, the efforts you put in, the hours of debugging, and understanding JavaScript’s peculiarities would pay off its dividend quite handsomely. The main reason behind that is the universal nature of JavaScript.

So, in JavaScript vs. PHP, it is recommended that you stick with PHP if you either lack the time or the will to plow through a more challenging language. Whereas, if you have time and you are dedicated enough, it is recommended that you stick with JavaScript because it will provide you with a greater return later.

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Syntax and Language Features

When doing a Javascript vs PHP comparison, remember they exhibit distinct syntax and language features. JavaScript follows a C-style syntax, making it familiar to developers of languages like C++ and Java. It offers powerful concepts such as closures, prototypal inheritance, and arrow functions. These features enable developers to write concise and expressive code, enhancing productivity and code readability.

On the other hand, PHP has a more traditional scripting language syntax, resembling languages like Perl and C. Its syntax is relatively easier to grasp for beginners, as it incorporates familiar control structures like loops and conditionals. PHP also provides extensive string manipulation functions and built-in support for database interactions, simplifying backend development tasks.

Use Cases and Applications

JavaScript stands out as a powerful force in front-end web development when you do a difference between PHP and Javascript comparison. It provides developers with the tools to craft dynamic and interactive user interfaces, alter HTML elements, and validate inputs on the client side. Moreover, with the use of popular JavaScript frameworks such as React and Angular, robust single-page applications and cross-platform mobile apps can be built with the help of React Native.

On the other hand, PHP stands out as a leader in server-side scripting and backend development. Its utilization enables developers to easily develop content-rich websites using popular CMS such as WordPress. Furthermore, the simplicity and varied use of PHP make it an excellent choice for developing e-commerce platforms, blogs, web applications, processing forms, and interacting with databases.

Frameworks and Ecosystem

Next, we come to the Javascript and PHP differences with regard to the frameworks and ecosystem. JavaScript is renowned for its extensive and multifarious ecosystem, equipped with a panoply of frameworks and libraries. Contributing to its revolution is Node.js, a runtime environment that facilitates JavaScript server-side scripting. Express.js and Koa are two popular frameworks used for constructing scalable web applications, while React.js and Vue.js reduce the complexities of front-end development by facilitating the reutilization of components, and sanctioned declarations of syntax.

On the other hand, the PHP family is robust too, with frameworks including Laravel, Symfony and CodeIgniter. To be specific, the former is famed for its refined syntax and assortment of features and is often chosen for constructing expansive applications. Moreover, Symfony is a senior member, offering an essential building block structure, and a variety of tools to develop enterprise-level projects. Finally, CodeIgniter is beloved for its modest size, granting simplicity and efficiency for less voluminous undertakings.

Performance and Scalability

JavaScript, found in most popular web browsers, offers a platform for data-driven applications and services that are real-time and highly dynamic. Its performance is largely dependent upon the implementation of the V8 JavaScript engine, used by Node.js, and the environment in which it is running. JavaScript’s asynchronous characteristic makes it especially well-suited to deal with streaming services and other rapidly changing scenarios. Even so, factors like poorly written code or large portions of blocked operations can negatively impact its performance.

PHP follows a multi-threading model for handling requests. While it may not match the raw speed of JavaScript, PHP compensates with stability and ease of use. PHP’s synchronous nature simplifies the execution flow, ensuring predictable results. Additionally, PHP offers various caching mechanisms, opcode caching, and other performance optimization techniques to enhance its speed and scalability.

Community and Resources

JavaScript enjoys a vast and vibrant community of developers worldwide. Its popularity is evident from the abundance of open-source projects on platforms like GitHub. The community actively contributes to frameworks, libraries, and tools, fostering continuous improvement and innovation. Online forums like Stack Overflow provide valuable resources for troubleshooting and knowledge-sharing, while conferences and meetups offer opportunities to network and learn from experts.

PHP also boasts a dedicated community with a strong presence. It has been in use for decades, resulting in a wealth of resources, tutorials, and documentation available online. The PHP community actively maintains and updates frameworks, ensuring compatibility and security. Websites like PHP.net and PHP Manual serve as comprehensive references for the language’s features.

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Also Read: JavaScript vs JQuery: Difference Between JavaScript and JQuery

Conclusion

At the very end, we would definitely say that in the battle of JavaScript vs. PHP. JavaScript takes the competition very easily. JavaScript offers more value overall, and the efforts that you put in obviously feel more rewarded. However, the difference between javascript and PHP cannot be concluded without the response of the user. Meaning, everything boils down to personal preference and project requirements. You will find the best use cases of both the languages listed below:

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Go with Node.js if:

  1. You are developing just a one-page application.
  2. You would like to develop a streaming service (much like Netflix).
  3. If the data load on your project is going to be very heavy.
  4. If you are building frontend.

Go with PHP if:

  1. You would like to flex out a good idea for blogging or an e-commerce website.
  2. If you happen to be using LAMP-based technologies, sticking with PHP is your safest bet.

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Rohan Vats

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Software Engineering Manager @ upGrad. Passionate about building large scale web apps with delightful experiences. In pursuit of transforming engineers into leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is the difference between local and static variables?

2Why are dynamic variables better than static variables?

Variables that are automatically allocated values as a program runs are known as dynamic variables. For example, the value of the variable $x at the start of the program might be 5, but by the end of the program, it might be 7. Static variables are used to hold data that is shared by several instances of the same class. This is handy for caching information or saving state information that is required between method calls. Dynamic variables are variables that are kept in the memory of a computer and are used to hold data that changes. When a program is run for the first time, dynamic variables are set, and they can change over time.

3Which is more efficient: Python or Java?

Java is a popular programming language noted for its flexibility, efficiency, and security. It's a platform-agnostic language, which means it works on a wide range of devices and operating systems. It is open-source and free. It also has a sizable developer community that is always developing new tools and frameworks to make Java even more powerful. Python is comparatively easier to learn. It's a flexible language that may be used for a wide range of tasks. It's also a sophisticated programming language that can handle difficult tasks. It is open-source and free. It is a widely used language in many industries and organizations.

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