At some point someone discovered that JavaScript could also be used server-side and at that point PHP started to find itself out in the cold. With the arrival of Node.js the use of JavaScript soared and it is now used everywhere.

Since the Node.js launch developers have much more choice of which frameworks they use. This ever-lengthening list includes React, Express, Angular, Vue and Meteor among others. Of course, with all that choice, the decision making process becomes more difficult.

Node.js is seen by some as JavaScript finally winning its duel with PHP and there is certainly a lot of evidence that this is the case. Other JavaScript based languages like TypeScript are also growing in popularity. Most of the coolest projects seem to be written in JavaScript and even hashtags are referring to it. PHP continues to slide in the rankings and is now down to fourth place after the multiple press releases and roll-outs and heavy marketing in favor of JavaScript.

However, it is also true to say that much of the hype that happens after a new launch eventually fades and PHP remains a large part of what we see online each day. At current estimates there are still 40% of internet pages that start with PHP and actually the code is continually rewritten. The PHP of today is not the same as the PHP of 5 years ago, it is continually evolving and being reborn.

PHP’s is fast and getting faster in part due to the same types of techniques that brought us Node.js. The latest iterations - PHP 7.2 and the HHVM are now able to give the same great optimizations that can be found with Node.js. In addition you have HHVM’s Hack – a really clever PHP dialect that adds support for multiple sophisticated programming features.

The game is not over and everything is to play for. For every person cheering on Node.js and JavaScript there is another who loves PHP for its code base and stability. So the battle rages on – it is likely to continue for some time as new developments and versions of both scripts are released. Who will be the victor? Only time will tell.

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