PHP vs. Node.js - a comparison
When is PHP suitable and when do you choose Node.js?
For a while, Node.js was highly regarded as a newcomer among development platforms. The platform for server-side web applications, which was presented in its first version in May 2009, came in to eliminate problems and deficiencies that PHP brought with it at that time. Especially when it comes to performance, Node.js quickly overtook the top dog PHP.
But Node.js has by no means replaced PHP, because it is still an indispensable part of web development and is even enjoying growing popularity thanks to PHP frameworks such as Laravel. The current PHP version 7.2.4 was only released in March 2018. Node.js also presented a current version with 8.11, but it has generally become quieter around the development platform that was once taken to replace PHP.
We take a look at Node.js and PHP, highlighting advantages and useful use cases.
PHP and Node.js an overview
Even if both platforms, PHP and Node.js, are suitable for applications of any complexity, they basically follow different concepts and use different architectures. When choosing one of the two development platforms for developing a web application, it is crucial to know the respective advantages, but also their limits.
A quick comparison between PHP and Node.js
A traditional server application, as it can also be implemented with PHP, starts a separate connection for each call. As a result, large applications that generate a large number of calls establish a large number of connections. If the maximum number of connections between server and client has been reached, every further call is put on hold and is only processed when the server can establish a new connection.
Node.js opposes an event-based, “single threaded” approach. This means that several thousand inquiries can be processed in parallel over one connection. To do this, it is essential that individual requests do not block the connection while you are waiting for a response from the server. This architecture results in much faster communication between client and server.
Some more details about Node.js
Advantages of Node.js
Fast server-side solutions
One language along the entire stack
Node.js has very few strict dependencies, rules and guidelines and thus grants a high degree of flexibility in application development. There are no strict conventions, so that the appropriate architecture, design structures, modules and features can be freely selected for the development.
Benefits of PHP
Not only the technology should be decisive when choosing the suitable platform, but also experience and utility. PHP has an extensive ecosystem and an extremely active developer community, whose expertise continues to help improve PHP.
The web socket protocol has enabled NGINX servers to be supported since 2011. Event loops, callbacks and non-blocking inputs and outputs (non-blocking I / Os) are successful attempts to significantly improve the performance of PHP-supported platforms and to equalize the speed advantage of Node.js. Most recently, the more recent versions of PHP have made significant progress with the relevant performance parameters.
Extensive code base
PHP has an extensive code base. This includes widely used content management systems (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) and web frameworks (Laravel, Symfony) that enable fast and secure application development. In addition, there are numerous open source solutions written in PHP and an extremely strong developer community behind them.
PHP also scores with compatibility. It runs on the most popular web servers (Apache, Nginx) and also on every platform (Linux, Windows). The code only has to be written once and can then be implemented in any environment without any problems. In addition, extensive hosting support is offered for PHP, even in the low-pressure segment, so that the integration and rollout of PHP applications is simplified. In contrast to Node.js, SSH access, a console and a Linux environment are not required.
Made for the web
PHP or Node.js - Considerations When Choosing
Thanks to its asynchronous and event-based architecture, Node.js is particularly suitable for so-called Real Time Applications (RTA) such as messenger applications or applications that are used for live collaboration. Because here many simultaneous requests are processed and data is constantly being sent back and forth between server and client. The “publish-subscribe” architecture of RTAs can also be easily implemented with Node.js using web sockets and server-side events, and the client view updates accordingly quickly. This also makes Node.js a good choice for applications that process IoT (Internet of Things) data or single-page applications (SPA) that offer flexible, dynamic and client-side functionalities.
PHP is always a good choice for websites, blog systems, landing pages or web portals and many individual browser-based web applications. PHP also offers significantly more flexibility in terms of hosting support if the customer only needs one instead of a full virtual instance Can provide shared hosting.
The decisive factor for choosing between PHP and Node.js is, above all, the type of application to be created and what other framework conditions are set for the development.
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