Re: [PHP-DEV] PHP's declining(?) popularity

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  107099
September 15, 2019 07:18 zeev@php.net (Zeev Suraski)
On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 6:33 AM Mike Schinkel <mikeschinkel@gmail.com>
wrote:

> > On Sep 14, 2019, at 5:18 PM, Olumide Samson <oludonsexy@gmail.com> > wrote: > > > > https://jaxenter.com/php-tiobe-sept-2019-162096.html > > I think this is one of those things we get from voting no... > > > > I might be wrong anyways :-? >
First of all, Olumide, this is in fact wrong, although the general topic (language popularity and the reasons to it) is definitely worthy of discussion. The reason it's wrong is that TIOBE is a meaningless 'index' with a methodology that's not only questionable - but is rather downright idiotic. It's not just off or inaccurate - it's practically a random number generator. See for yourself: https://www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index/programming-languages-definition/ The RedMonk Language Rankings has a much more reasonable methodology, is a lot more stable, and there, PHP is repeatedly at the top 5 languages and not losing any steam in both absolute and comparative measures: https://redmonk.com/sogrady/2019/07/18/language-rankings-6-19/
> If those specific rankings are legitimately a cause for concern then it > would make sense to do some objective analysis to determine why the > languages that are growing marketshare are growing. >
Mike - even though specifically the TIOBE index isn't a cause for virtually anything, the rest of your analysis is still relevant - as the key takeaway you're basing it on - Python's growth - is also reflected in RedMonk rankings. Thomas - I also wholeheartedly agree with your suggestion. That's why we worked on FFI - to open the door for PHP to enter new areas. Even JIT is, for the most part, not really relevant to the common Web case and would be a lot more impactful in other types of workloads. And there may be other things we can do. But you're right - if we don't find a way to position it for these use cases in people's minds - it won't move the needle. Zeev
  107100
September 15, 2019 10:08 oludonsexy@gmail.com (Olumide Samson)
I also don't agree with the index and all its statistics, yet I'm not
invalidating it as it is a much-viewed index globally.

Though, what caught my eyes was this quote which I thought would be obvious
and Mike would have based those fact replies on(Yet I'm also not
invalidating his facts list and IMHO those as well would make sense in
PHP).

According to the index :
 "Till the end of 2009 everything went fine, but soon after that PHP was
going downhill from 10% to 5% market share in 2 years’ time. In 2014 it
halved again to 2.5%.

So what happened to PHP?
From its start PHP was the Visual Basic for web design: easy to learn, easy
to deploy, but mainly used by web designers with a limited software
engineering background.

The downside of PHP’s simplicity was that it was relatively easy to shoot
security holes in it.

 PHP has been struggling with this for a long time. In 2014 PHP’s biggest
supporter Facebook launched Hack as an alternative for PHP because it was
not scalable.

And after that, JavaScript, TypeScript and Python became the linguas franca
for web development."


These lines caught my eye more than the rest of the quote :

"The downside of PHP’s simplicity was that it was relatively easy to shoot
security holes in it. PHP has been struggling with this for a long time."

These other quotes seems good to watch as it mention one of the biggest
supporters creating an alternative because PHP wasn't scalable at its
current growth stage, maybe we might have been bothering too much about the
past while not remembering the present and future(Which is 100s of years to
come, if PHP is still a thing on the top 50) matters most than the
past(which is just some 15-20 years gone) :

" In 2014 PHP’s biggest supporter Facebook launched Hack as an alternative
for PHP because it was not scalable. And after that, JavaScript, TypeScript
and Python became the linguas franca for web development"

On Sun, Sep 15, 2019, 8:18 AM Zeev Suraski <zeev@php.net> wrote:

> > > On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 6:33 AM Mike Schinkel <mikeschinkel@gmail.com> > wrote: > >> > On Sep 14, 2019, at 5:18 PM, Olumide Samson <oludonsexy@gmail.com> >> wrote: >> > >> > https://jaxenter.com/php-tiobe-sept-2019-162096.html >> > I think this is one of those things we get from voting no... >> > >> > I might be wrong anyways :-? >> > > First of all, Olumide, this is in fact wrong, although the general topic > (language popularity and the reasons to it) is definitely worthy of > discussion. > > The reason it's wrong is that TIOBE is a meaningless 'index' with a > methodology that's not only questionable - but is rather downright > idiotic. It's not just off or inaccurate - it's practically a random > number generator. > See for yourself: > https://www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index/programming-languages-definition/ > > The RedMonk Language Rankings has a much more reasonable methodology, is a > lot more stable, and there, PHP is repeatedly at the top 5 languages and > not losing any steam in both absolute and comparative measures: > https://redmonk.com/sogrady/2019/07/18/language-rankings-6-19/ > > >> If those specific rankings are legitimately a cause for concern then it >> would make sense to do some objective analysis to determine why the >> languages that are growing marketshare are growing. >> > > Mike - even though specifically the TIOBE index isn't a cause for > virtually anything, the rest of your analysis is still relevant - as the > key takeaway you're basing it on - Python's growth - is also reflected in > RedMonk rankings. > > Thomas - I also wholeheartedly agree with your suggestion. That's why we > worked on FFI - to open the door for PHP to enter new areas. Even JIT is, > for the most part, not really relevant to the common Web case and would be > a lot more impactful in other types of workloads. And there may be other > things we can do. But you're right - if we don't find a way to position it > for these use cases in people's minds - it won't move the needle. > > Zeev >
  107103
September 15, 2019 12:14 zeev@php.net (Zeev Suraski)
On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 1:15 PM Olumide Samson <oludonsexy@gmail.com> wrote:

> I also don't agree with the index and all its statistics >
I'm not sure what you mean by 'all its statistics'. Mostly everything on the methodology page is fluff, which may be purposely there to hide the only part that really matters: ---------------- The ratings are calculated by counting hits of the most popular search engines. The search query that is used is +" programming" --------------- It's a simplistic measure of an arbitrary search term in search engines - nothing more. It's completely, 100.0% meaningless.
> , yet I'm not invalidating it as it is a much-viewed index globally. >
I am. It's quite remarkable that people are paying any level of attention to it whatsoever, and indeed it's saddening. But the fact that many people believe something doesn't make it true, if the evidence clearly suggest it isn't. According to the index :
> "Till the end of 2009 everything went fine, but soon after that PHP was > going downhill from 10% to 5% market share in 2 years’ time. In 2014 it > halved again to 2.5%. >
Trying to correlate the TIOBE index with anything that happened in the PHP world is akin to trying to correlate the results of rand() with the weather forecast. The two aren't related at all. Building any thesis on the foundation of the TIOBE index is like trying to build a brick house on a muddy soil. Heck, like trying to build a brick house in the middle of the ocean. There's nothing to build on. While it's extremely difficult to measure the popularity of languages, RedMonk's slightly more relevant measurements (GitHub projects and Stack Overflow questions) suggest it's been doing well over the last decade - right up there in the top 5 with no meaningful decline. What Mike and others pointed out are areas where we should consider investing if we want to *increase* the popularity beyond what it already is (which is what happened with Python). Zeev
  107168
September 16, 2019 13:46 chasepeeler@gmail.com (Chase Peeler)
On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 8:14 AM Zeev Suraski <zeev@php.net> wrote:

> On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 1:15 PM Olumide Samson <oludonsexy@gmail.com> > wrote: > > > I also don't agree with the index and all its statistics > > > > I'm not sure what you mean by 'all its statistics'. Mostly everything on > the methodology page is fluff, which may be purposely there to hide the > only part that really matters: > ---------------- > > The ratings are calculated by counting hits of the most popular search > engines. The search query that is used is > > +" programming" > > --------------- > > It's a simplistic measure of an arbitrary search term in search engines - > nothing more. It's completely, 100.0% meaningless. > > > > , yet I'm not invalidating it as it is a much-viewed index globally. > > > > I am. It's quite remarkable that people are paying any level of attention > to it whatsoever, and indeed it's saddening. But the fact that many people > believe something doesn't make it true, if the evidence clearly suggest it > isn't. > > According to the index : > > "Till the end of 2009 everything went fine, but soon after that PHP was > > going downhill from 10% to 5% market share in 2 years’ time. In 2014 it > > halved again to 2.5%. > > > > Trying to correlate the TIOBE index with anything that happened in the PHP > world is akin to trying to correlate the results of rand() with the weather > forecast. The two aren't related at all. Building any thesis on the > foundation of the TIOBE index is like trying to build a brick house on a > muddy soil. Heck, like trying to build a brick house in the middle of the > ocean. There's nothing to build on. > > While it's extremely difficult to measure the popularity of languages, > RedMonk's slightly more relevant measurements (GitHub projects and Stack > Overflow questions) suggest it's been doing well over the last decade - > right up there in the top 5 with no meaningful decline. What Mike and > others pointed out are areas where we should consider investing if we want > to *increase* the popularity beyond what it already is (which is what > happened with Python). > > Zeev >
While I think some excellent suggestions have been made on this thread, one thing that I feel Mike's sources show (and maybe it's confirmation bias) is that any decline in popularity that PHP might be experiencing (for the sake of argument, we'll pretend such a decline does exist) isn't because PHP isn't strict enough. It's because it doesn't do a lot of the things that languages like Python can do. If this is the case, we don't reverse the trend by making our language more syntactically or behaviorally like the other languages out there. We reverse it by supporting the features that are currently lacking, or, adding features that other languages don't have. -- Chase Peeler chasepeeler@gmail.com
  107170
September 16, 2019 14:12 kontakt@beberlei.de (Benjamin Eberlei)
On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 3:47 PM Chase Peeler <chasepeeler@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 8:14 AM Zeev Suraski <zeev@php.net> wrote: > > > On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 1:15 PM Olumide Samson <oludonsexy@gmail.com> > > wrote: > > > > > I also don't agree with the index and all its statistics > > > > > > > I'm not sure what you mean by 'all its statistics'. Mostly everything on > > the methodology page is fluff, which may be purposely there to hide the > > only part that really matters: > > ---------------- > > > > The ratings are calculated by counting hits of the most popular search > > engines. The search query that is used is > > > > +" programming" > > > > --------------- > > > > It's a simplistic measure of an arbitrary search term in search engines - > > nothing more. It's completely, 100.0% meaningless. > > > > > > > , yet I'm not invalidating it as it is a much-viewed index globally. > > > > > > > I am. It's quite remarkable that people are paying any level of > attention > > to it whatsoever, and indeed it's saddening. But the fact that many > people > > believe something doesn't make it true, if the evidence clearly suggest > it > > isn't. > > > > According to the index : > > > "Till the end of 2009 everything went fine, but soon after that PHP > was > > > going downhill from 10% to 5% market share in 2 years’ time. In 2014 it > > > halved again to 2.5%. > > > > > > > Trying to correlate the TIOBE index with anything that happened in the > PHP > > world is akin to trying to correlate the results of rand() with the > weather > > forecast. The two aren't related at all. Building any thesis on the > > foundation of the TIOBE index is like trying to build a brick house on a > > muddy soil. Heck, like trying to build a brick house in the middle of > the > > ocean. There's nothing to build on. > > > > While it's extremely difficult to measure the popularity of languages, > > RedMonk's slightly more relevant measurements (GitHub projects and Stack > > Overflow questions) suggest it's been doing well over the last decade - > > right up there in the top 5 with no meaningful decline. What Mike and > > others pointed out are areas where we should consider investing if we > want > > to *increase* the popularity beyond what it already is (which is what > > happened with Python). > > > > Zeev > > > > While I think some excellent suggestions have been made on this thread, one > thing that I feel Mike's sources show (and maybe it's confirmation bias) is > that any decline in popularity that PHP might be experiencing (for the sake > of argument, we'll pretend such a decline does exist) isn't because PHP > isn't strict enough. It's because it doesn't do a lot of the things that > languages like Python can do. If this is the case, we don't reverse the > trend by making our language more syntactically or behaviorally like the > other languages out there. We reverse it by supporting the features that > are currently lacking, or, adding features that other languages don't have. > > First, you say it yourself, but the sources are biased, so i am not sure any of your conclusions hold valid. But lets pretent they do, like you did.
Yes PHP does a lot of things that languages like Python can do, for example alwayse throwing an error when you access an undefined variable, which is totally something that python does. Newcomers do make a lot of simple mistakes in the beginning, so being strict on enforcing variables exist is something that makes it easier for newcomers.
> > > -- > Chase Peeler > chasepeeler@gmail.com >
  107173
September 16, 2019 15:11 chasepeeler@gmail.com (Chase Peeler)
On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 10:12 AM Benjamin Eberlei <kontakt@beberlei.de>
wrote:

> > > On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 3:47 PM Chase Peeler <chasepeeler@gmail.com> > wrote: > >> On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 8:14 AM Zeev Suraski <zeev@php.net> wrote: >> >> > On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 1:15 PM Olumide Samson <oludonsexy@gmail.com> >> > wrote: >> > >> > > I also don't agree with the index and all its statistics >> > > >> > >> > I'm not sure what you mean by 'all its statistics'. Mostly everything >> on >> > the methodology page is fluff, which may be purposely there to hide the >> > only part that really matters: >> > ---------------- >> > >> > The ratings are calculated by counting hits of the most popular search >> > engines. The search query that is used is >> > >> > +" programming" >> > >> > --------------- >> > >> > It's a simplistic measure of an arbitrary search term in search engines >> - >> > nothing more. It's completely, 100.0% meaningless. >> > >> > >> > > , yet I'm not invalidating it as it is a much-viewed index globally. >> > > >> > >> > I am. It's quite remarkable that people are paying any level of >> attention >> > to it whatsoever, and indeed it's saddening. But the fact that many >> people >> > believe something doesn't make it true, if the evidence clearly suggest >> it >> > isn't. >> > >> > According to the index : >> > > "Till the end of 2009 everything went fine, but soon after that PHP >> was >> > > going downhill from 10% to 5% market share in 2 years’ time. In 2014 >> it >> > > halved again to 2.5%. >> > > >> > >> > Trying to correlate the TIOBE index with anything that happened in the >> PHP >> > world is akin to trying to correlate the results of rand() with the >> weather >> > forecast. The two aren't related at all. Building any thesis on the >> > foundation of the TIOBE index is like trying to build a brick house on a >> > muddy soil. Heck, like trying to build a brick house in the middle of >> the >> > ocean. There's nothing to build on. >> > >> > While it's extremely difficult to measure the popularity of languages, >> > RedMonk's slightly more relevant measurements (GitHub projects and Stack >> > Overflow questions) suggest it's been doing well over the last decade - >> > right up there in the top 5 with no meaningful decline. What Mike and >> > others pointed out are areas where we should consider investing if we >> want >> > to *increase* the popularity beyond what it already is (which is what >> > happened with Python). >> > >> > Zeev >> > >> >> While I think some excellent suggestions have been made on this thread, >> one >> thing that I feel Mike's sources show (and maybe it's confirmation bias) >> is >> that any decline in popularity that PHP might be experiencing (for the >> sake >> of argument, we'll pretend such a decline does exist) isn't because PHP >> isn't strict enough. It's because it doesn't do a lot of the things that >> languages like Python can do. If this is the case, we don't reverse the >> trend by making our language more syntactically or behaviorally like the >> other languages out there. We reverse it by supporting the features that >> are currently lacking, or, adding features that other languages don't >> have. >> >> First, you say it yourself, but the sources are biased, so i am not sure > any of your conclusions hold valid. But lets pretent they do, like you did. > > I was saying the index that was cited was wrong. I wasn't questioning the articles that Mike linked to. However, even if I was, it's not
contradictory to claim that someone's facts are wrong, yet still address them as if they were not for the sake of the argument.
> Yes PHP does a lot of things that languages like Python can do, for > example alwayse throwing an error when you access an undefined variable, > which is totally something that python does. > > Yes, but when someone is looking for a language to use, they aren't looking for the one that throws the most errors. I'm looking for one that
provides me the features I need and is easy to use. Python seems to fit that bill for a lot of people now given the resources they provide for the beginners and the features they offer. While we might can argue about the benefits of throwing an error for an uninitialized variable, I would be willing to put money on the fact that very few people are picking the language because of that feature. If I'm looking for a language to teach someone, maybe I go with that. I think an argument could also be made that allowing them to focus on the logical thinking aspect of programming, rather than the small details of boilerplate code.
> Newcomers do make a lot of simple mistakes in the beginning, so being > strict on enforcing variables exist is something that makes it easier for > newcomers. >
I find unreadable code to be a big issue. Maybe we should require code be indented like python, and not allow the program to run if there is even a single extra white space anywhere. You know what else is great about PHP? You actually CAN configure it RIGHT NOW to throw an Error on an uninitialized variable. You don't actually have to force every other PHP developer to work in that type of environment in order to do so, either.
> >> -- >> Chase Peeler >> chasepeeler@gmail.com >> >
-- Chase Peeler chasepeeler@gmail.com