Web development is a fast-evolving domain with frequently emerging trends and new technologies. One of the most prominent programming languages that can effectively implement the latest solutions in web applications is the PHP programming language.
By January 2021 79% of websites were built in PHP and it shows no signs of losing ground. In November 2020 PHP creators released its 8th version with some major updates that focus on PHP performance and make web development even smoother and simpler. In this article, we look into the PHP language perspective in 2021.
User Interface Trends
User Interface (UI) is the first thing customers experience when they open an application. It attracts customers’ attention and makes them use it longer. Front-end developers can enhance your web application’s UI, make it more engaging, feel and look like a native.
Web developers, in their turn, add the receptive web functionality to their applications. The receptive web is one of the most trendy PHP features. It allows creating responsive web designs (RWDs) that can provide an improved internet experience for the end-users in any environment. It means that RWD makes web pages render and work well on any device, whether it’s a mobile phone, a tablet, or a desktop computer.
RWD is an optimal solution for social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, email platforms like Google Gmail, e-Commerce sites like Amazon, and many others. These sites are frequently accessed from various devices and they should look good on any of them.
Key PHP Web Development Frameworks
The most top of the line frameworks in PHP will be Laravel, Symphony, Yii, CodeIgniter, and CakePHP. All of them accelerate web development and make it much easier. Let’s have a closer look at each of them.
Laravel development will continue to be popular in 2021. It’s one of the most preferred PHP frameworks in web development. This framework allows building large and small web applications in a simpler and more comprehensive way.
The main advantages of Laravel are:
- MVC Architecture helps to systemize the development process and divide a web application’s architecture into separate layers;
- Simple routing for establishing clear internetwork communications;
- Effective ORM for simple connection to databases;
- Easy use of RESTful APIs for access to various Internet services;
- Blade Template engine that makes it easier to design HTML pages;
- Unit-Testing to ensure that the written code functions well;
- Packaging System that alleviates web development by encapsulating the written code into small and manageable chunks.
Symfony is the best match for large projects and unconventional ideas. This framework speeds up web application development with its useful inbuilt features and ready-made templates. Though it also lets web developers switch to free mode coding, creating non-standard solutions.
Symfony has a bit steeper learning curve than Laravel, but once a web developer gets to grips with it, it makes his coding operations much simpler. Here are the reasons why to use Symfony for web development:
- Faster Development due to reusable components and out-of-the-box solutions;
- Easy Maintainability as Symfony has certain coding rules and structure which allows newcomers to quickly join an ongoing project;
- Minimized Number of code errors as the framework has a clear structure and extensive unit-testing features;
- Improved Security Due to a new Symfony security system with enhanced authentication, event-based system, simplified Guard features, and much more;
- Higher Flexibility due to the use of bundles for implementing various features;
- simple development process with components that automate most of the routine development tasks.
Yii is a young and ambitious PHP framework that is used for fast and secure PHP development. It relies on object-oriented programming principles and MVC architecture in its development, therefore, it supports the development of large-scale web applications. The main advantages of Yii include:
- Easy to learn and install in comparison to Symfony or Zend;
- Customization as Yii components are highly extensible;
- Simple Data fetching from databases due to quick generation of CRUD operations;
- Following the Don’t repeat yourself (DRY) principle which helps to shorten code lines;
- A set of built-in features that alleviate web development such as routing, authentication, transactions, error handling, requesting, and others.
Codeigniter is a robust PHP framework used for effective web application development. As most of the frameworks, it relies on MVC development pattern and provides inbuilt libraries for a quick coding start.
The other Codeigniter advantages are:
- Versatile as it fits almost every platform and web server;
- works for server-side and presentation layer development;
- Secure development due to built-in protection against CSRF and XSS attacks;
- Doesn’t require much configuring which is done mostly by convention e.g. when models go straight into a “models” folder;
- Code reduction, making code-writing simpler and clearer;
- Easy migration from server to server.
CakePHP is another popular PHP framework that is widely used for web development. It is simple to configure, well organized, and has a great set of features that allow using it as a full-stack as well as a micro-framework depending on your project needs.
With CakePHP, web developers can build multi-features and powerful web solutions in simple steps. The main CakePHP advantages are:
- Easy to Install, web developers need a web server and a copy of the framework to start a web development project;
- Simple to configure due to convention over configuration paradigm which alleviates web developers’ work by minimizing the number of decisions they need to make;
- Secure as it has SQL injection prevention, input validation, CSRF, and XSS protection features;
- Code Reusability which makes web development quicker;
- High Compatibility with most website servers and PHP language versions;
- Elaborated documentation and strong community support on various portals.
Growing Need Outsourcing of PHP Web Development
More and more businesses require viable and effective web solutions that successfully satisfy their business and customers’ needs. However, hiring a team of IT experts for building your own web application is quite an expensive idea. That’s why many companies prefer outsourcing the development of their web solutions.
Outsourced custom PHP development services are affordable for SMEs and even start-ups. Therefore, the PHP web development outsourcing trend will continue to grow in popularity in 2021. According to Statista, the spendings on IT services will grow up to $1 trillion worldwide and is expected to increase by 4.1% from 2020.
Reduced labor costs aren’t the only reason why to opt for outsourcing PHP web development. Other benefits include:
- diverse tech expertise form the best talents around the world;
- uninterrupted professional IT service that can be provided 24/7;
- better focus on your core business as you don’t need to manage your own IT department;
- wise allocation of resources excluding the necessity to spend time on searching and hiring IT staff as well as spend the company’s budget on their training and equipment upgrading.
Progressive Web Apps and Single Page Applications
Another reason why PHP will be used for web development in 2021 is a wide-spread implementation of Progressive Web Apps and Single Page Applications. PHP ideally suits for building the back-end for these types of web applications.
Single Page Applications (SPAs) represent a single-page design that is extremely fast and responsive. It has a simple structure that excludes any complex navigation or deep menus. SPAs dynamically update the data on a page without the need to reload it entirely in a browser. As a result, such web applications work much faster than standard web applications, and their development employs less time.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) is a neat development solution that combines the best of web and mobile applications. PWAs use a web browser and a set of APIs to run on any mobile platform. It means that PWAs look like native mobile apps and are available on Android and iOS while having web components inside.
Many businesses build their web solutions as PWAs and benefit from this cross-platform availability. PWA applications help them to reach more potential buyers while providing an outstanding customer experience.
PHP is a powerful programming language that can be used for the development of many web applications and chatbots are no exception.
Building chatbots with PHP is a painless and simplified procedure. PHP developers can create the best chatbots by connecting a web application to a messenger platform.
Many companies prefer creating their chatbots with PHP as it’s the cheapest and the most effective solution which can be built much faster than in any other scripting language. PHP provides web developers with a range of libraries that can be accessible to work with API and various third-party applications.
PHP is a time-tested programming language that manages to keep the leading positions in web development. And it seems to continue to maintain its popularity in 2021.
It stays at the forefront of web development as it’s constantly developed and upgraded by its creators. It can comply with the requirements of businesses for cutting-edge web applications and offer a variety of tools and frameworks for building the latest technological trends such as chatbots, PWAs, SPAs, and many others.