Disadvantages of Web Development Using PHP

Paul Mah

Last week, I wrote about the advantages of using PHP for Web development. In contrast to purchasing expensive, proprietary solutions, the open source nature of PHP -- as well as the open ecosystem formed around it -- has much to offer to the small and medium businesses.


However, it would be a mistake to believe that any one solution or approach to be perfect. Likewise for PHP programming, there are indeed inherent disadvantages of using it for your SMB site.


Based on my experiences in a few PHP programming projects, I highlight some of them here.


Complex project demands a certain level of experience


For all the flexibility and open nature of PHP development, have you ever tried to build an entire house by yourself? That's what PHP programming can feel like for larger projects. While easy to learn, it would be a folly to expect a novice or fresh graduate to be able to put together a complex site with any speed.


Of course, the judicious use of the existing programming frameworks and template engines will help speed things up tremendously. However, an inexperienced team will require adequate time to properly study the inherent merits of the various tools in order to select the right one for your project.


Not everything in PHP is easy to do


I know I mentioned earlier that PHP is a relatively easy programming language to learn. Today, I want to add a disclaimer that not everything in PHP is easy. You see, it is true that on one level, scripts for the majority of tasks can be quickly created. If you happen to hit the limitations of the language however, then much more complex -- and disingenuous -- methods of getting things to work will often be required. Those who have ever done Visual Basic programming would know what I mean.


Bottom line here: Plan some leeway in your development schedule should the development team hit a snag or two.


Code is available in plain sight


If you haven't realized it by now, PHP is also called a scripting language for a reason -- the codes are not compiled and are accessible as plain text files. While certainly not a problem when used internally on an Internet or intranet site for an SMB, it is trickier when trying to sell a PHP-based site as a finished product.


Thankfully, obfuscation tools do exist, which will jumble the codes into a form that is unreadable to humans, though some of the best of these tools will need to be purchased. Unavoidably, deployment complexity is increased as a result.


PHP is Web development


Despite the many code libraries and capabilities strapped onto the core PHP language, PHP at the end of the day remains primarily a Web programming language. As with any Web development project, the team embarking on it will need to be well-versed in the areas of Web usability, as well as possessing requisite technical skill ranging from HTML, CSS, JavaScript -- and probably the ability to create Flash animations as well.

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Sep 1, 2009 4:01 AM Cozy Diet Cozy Diet  says:

Will be more valuable if you put some example and solution of those problems.

Sep 1, 2009 8:08 AM Business Guide Business Guide  says:

I have read the "advantages of using PHP for Web development" post also and very well explaination about PHP script.

Sep 2, 2009 5:11 AM Andrew Andrew  says:

I still prefer using PHP that other script. In my opinion PHP still the best script even there are some problem sometimes.

Sep 2, 2009 6:35 AM Business Guide Business Guide  says:

I agree with "cozy diet", it will be great if you put some example.

Oct 11, 2009 8:39 AM Global Site Global Site  says:

I agree that PHP have some bugs, nd i prefer using html a lot.

Oct 29, 2009 3:55 AM Global News Global News  says:

Actually, im not expert on PHP script, but im sure in PHP has some disadvantage as any other script has. All Script has disadvantage and advantage it self, just what we prefer to do with, it the more important.

Nov 11, 2009 5:04 AM HTML Static Websites HTML Static Websites  says: in response to Business Guide

Great resource and list, will certainly be bookmarking this page.I'm glad everyone is finding this useful,Thank For Post....

Nov 26, 2010 7:04 AM PHP developer PHP developer  says:

Well I'll go more in favor of your other post listing Advantages of PHP development

Dec 25, 2010 3:51 AM Visakhapatnam web designing Visakhapatnam web designing  says:

If you are interested in using Active Server Pages or .ASP, you will not be able to run them on a PHP host. In order for these pages to function correctly, you must be on a Windows server. Thanks.


Dec 30, 2010 12:19 PM NewBlood NewBlood  says:

Regarding planning some leeway in development time for hitting a snag or two:  It is often suggested that a developer should estimate how much time they think it would take them in a perfect world, and then double that.  We find that with room for error, programmers often perform better and often exceed development expectations.

Feb 8, 2011 3:09 AM Windshields Dallas Windshields Dallas  says:

Excellent, well written post.  Keep up the good work. Dallas Windshield Repair Thanks

Feb 24, 2011 3:51 AM essay paper essay paper  says:

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

Mar 3, 2011 8:58 AM PHP programming PHP programming  says:

Excellent article. I understand total topic very meaningfully explain with point to points,Thanks.

Mar 15, 2011 6:36 AM essay writers essay writers  says: in response to NewBlood

Andrew, I agree with you. As for me, PHP is the best script I've ever seen.

Mar 31, 2011 10:39 AM Jim Jim  says:

I think the reference to PHP files as plain text files is quite misleading and leads to the notion that the code is available to the end user, when what you are actually refering to is the end client. PHP code CANNOT be viewed by a visitor to the site.

Sep 13, 2011 3:38 AM Jornes Jornes  says:

But, build a website using php is great. Because, even though the newbie/experienced hackers are still able to see the full source of html code of the website, but they can't see the php tactic we using at the back of the web page. So, they can't get the same effect without the php tactic.

Sep 19, 2011 5:26 AM Dhanraj Dhanraj  says: in response to Jornes

I Want To make a Fully Features & Low Price Real Estate Website ?

Nov 26, 2012 2:25 PM joseph12 joseph12  says:
Regarding planning some leeway in development time for hitting a snag or two: It is often suggested that a developer should estimate how much time they think it would take them in a perfect world.Keep reading it more. Reply
Jan 7, 2013 11:05 PM Siraj Ali Siraj Ali  says:
I agree that there are few short comings in PHP, but which language does not have any short coming, every language is strong sides and weaker side. I want to answer few concerns of the writer like. Code is available in plain sight: Yes the code is available in plain sight, but the php you have seen was in very code form there are many encryption methods available in the market which can ecrypt your code, and you can sell you application as product. Not everything in PHP is easy to do: PHP does not have any IDE, providing drag and drop feature like .net, but it also gives flexibility to use countless open source libraries, and way to communicate to different languages, which can help you solve more complex problems and freedom of expressing the creativity of the programmer. PHP is Web development: Yes PHP is a web development language, but that is not demerit, actually that is a merit, it will not limit you to desktop applications, applications are browser based and can be any where on the network without installation, on any browser and Operating system and device(PC/ IPAD/ Mobile etc). It is portable which can be hosted on Linux / Unix / Windows / Mac. Reply
Sep 5, 2013 12:45 AM PHP Developer PHP Developer  says:
Well, I am using PHP for a while and I am still suggest to everyone that PHP is the best language for development that has many advantages for you. Reply
Jun 30, 2016 12:42 AM venu9193 venu9193  says:
Good blog post. I absolutely love this site. Stick with it! Reply

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