Webinar recap: PHP experts speak on the good, bad, and what’s wrong

Over the last month and an half, the Ask the PHP experts webinar series has covered everything from performance to migrations, and optimizing your stack. The final episode, hosted by Cal Evans, brought it all together with guest panelists, Alan Seiden, Jonny Porto from YouGiveGoods.com, and Maurice Kherlakian discussing the latest in PHP news, technologies, and programming practices.

Here’s a summary of what they discussed. You can watch the entire panel here.

What does “PHP” mean today?

Cal asked the panelists about the perception of PHP in the marketplace. While they all had specific thoughts based on their experiences with customers, PHP installations (including IBM i), and industries, everyone agreed that PHP was a great language for building enterprise-ready applications for businesses, and still very popular for web and application development.

“A few years ago, PHP was perceived as more of a hobbyist language, it’s really more and more mainstream, more people, more applications. It’s a really good language to build solid enterprise applications.” – Maurice Kherlakian

PHP 7 (and PHP 8)

With PHP 7 having been out for almost two years now, Maurice discussed the great adoption rate he’s seen by enterprise customers. As well as the migration by many companies that may traditionally have held off, because they want to take advantage of the performance and cost savings that PHP 7 provides.

With the IBM i community, PHP 7 has only been available for a few months and many are still evaluating the upgrade, according to Alan. He advises that teams set up multiple partitions for different PHP versions so they can safely test their systems prior to upgrading.

While discussing PHP 7, Cal posed this question from the audience:

What would you like to see in PHP 8?

The panel answered:

  • More power, speed, security, and compatibility with enterprise databases
  • Addition of a just-in-time (JIT) compiler
  • Removal of bottlenecks with database interactions


Testing is always a hot topic for developers, and our panelists had some great advice.

What’s your #1 tip for unit tests?

  • Get stared, get a mentor. PHP Mentoring is a great resource.
  • Think outside the box in terms of what problems to identify
  • Work with someone who does it well
  • Using unit tests equals more beautiful code

How do you know when you’ve tested enough?

  • It’s a judgement call: Ensure coverage of main flows, such as login/sign-in, add to cart functionality, etc.
  • Follow the 80-20 rule: You don’t have to try and test everything, just the things that a majority of users rely on
  • Check out the parts that really serve the business
  • Find a happy medium between time/resources and finding bugs before customers do

What’s your favorite framework?

“There’s a number of great frameworks out there but I particularly like Zend Framework because you’re maintaining the MVC model while at the same time making it very modular.” – Jonny Porto

Although Cal would argue that CakePHP takes the … cake.

What’s PHP’s worst limitation?

Another audience question was: “What do you think is the current worst limitation of PHP?”
The panel had a hard time answering this one – they all love PHP!

Maurice noted that a lot of the things that were limitations in the past, such as static typing, were no longer present in PHP 7 but Alan had an answer not related to the language itself:

“Negative attitudes among people!”

Later, both Cal and Maurice agreed that variable variables are more confusing than they’re worth.

The panel discussed many other topics, such as the future of PHP, the community, how organizations and individuals can get involved, and any threats to PHP, so watch the recording now and tell us on Twitter: What do you think of PHP?

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    Kara brings together her broad technical marketing experience and innovative project management skills to drive content marketing efforts at Rogue Wave Software.

    About Kara Howson

    Kara brings together her broad technical marketing experience and innovative project management skills to drive content marketing efforts at Rogue Wave Software.