PHP VS NODE.JS: Tinkering of Big Guns

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The continual ‘wooferendum’ of Node.js development might lead to drifting the priorities of PHP development services.

PHP is a veteran in programming world now, seasoned with many use cases and adorned with many successful applications running on the web, it was developed way back in 1994 and was considered to be one of the top languages of Web 1.0 era. PHP has powered many successful content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Another way around, Node.js is a runtime environment that makes use of JavaScript for the server-side application development. Founded in 2009, Node.JS explores JavaScript to fullest and is extensively being used to build event-based, data-driven, I/O-heavy applications for the Web 2.0 era. E-commerce and chat applications are some popular examples. Look what we’ve got here:

What’s Similar between PHP vs Node.js?

Three features that make PHP as convivial as Node.js:

  • Both are open-source
  • Based on JavaScript runtime environment
  • Both are used for programming on the server side
  • Both platforms can access command line interface

How to select a particular framework to work in Node.JS vs PHP?

Factors one must check while making a choice for next development project:

  • Is the documentation available and complete?
  • Size of developer community
  • How many issues are open on GitHub
  • What all issues the particular framework can solve?
  • How flexible it is?
  • What is the complexity of the framework?
  • How much compatible this framework is in comparison to available tools that you are planning to use?
  • How efficient it is?
  • Compatible server side code that can be used for all operating systems
  • Are you looking to build scalable web solution?
  • Is third party integration required?
  • Which database can be used?
  • What features are required in the solution?

What’s different in PHP vs Node.JS?

Features PHP Node.js
Definition In simplest terms, PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor, is used for server-side scripting and extensively makes use of JavaScript, HTML, CSS and a lot of plain text in their PHP applications. Node.js is an open source JavaScript runtime environment that is built on Chrome’s JavaScript Engine (V8). Born in 2009, it facilitates users to create JavaScript-based applications.
Powered by two engines Zend engine powers PHP. Google’s V8 JavaScript engine powers Node.js
Complexity of use PHP is much simpler to use compared to Node.js. Node.js requires has an extensive code and requires a basic understanding of closures and callback functions.
JSON PHP makes less use of JSON as compared to Node.js PHP makes use of json_encode() and json_decode() functions. Node.js gels up well with JSON. Node.js uses JSON.stringify() and JSON.parse().
Concurrency PHP makes use of multi-threaded blocking I/O to carry out multiple tasks to run parallel tasks. Node.js makes use of event-driven non- blocking I/O execution model.
Execution PHP is synchronous – If there are 50 lines of code and the first line takes time to execute, then the next line will have to wait as the function in the first line will take time to execute.
In PHP, a particular program can often get stuck in a “callback hell”, in case many functions are chained before execution. This might often lead to infinite looping and piping data from one function to another.
Node.js is asynchronous – The function in next line will execute, skipping the function in the first line in case it takes time to execute. Node.js resolves infinite looping as Async or Await feature helps with executing another block of code if one block is stuck.
Execution Speed PHP is slower than Node.js. Node.js is faster and lightweight than PHP.
Web Server PHP runs on the Apache or IIS web server. NPM does not need a web server, it runs on its own runtime environment.
Package Manager Composer package manager is widely used. Node.js makes extensive use of Node Package Manager (NPM).
Context Switching Users require to keep shifting and switching between codes while working in PHP as it is predominantly a part of LAMP  stack and coding on server side requires a good knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Node.js makes use of both server side as well as client-side scripting based on JavaScript and thus there is no use of switching between the languages. Making use of JavaScript stack (MEAN) it simply makes use of JavaScript coding language and syntax.
Modules PHP makes use of PEAR and Composer modules where PEAR is a framework for reusable PHP components. Node.js comes bundled along with a package management system called NPM (Node Package Manager) and it’s easy to use and publish registry.
Frameworks PHP comes along with a lot of frameworks that ease out backend development – Laravel (Horizon, Dusk, and Echo), CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Phalcon, Symfony, CodeIgniter, Zend, Yii, Fat-Free, Kohana, Fuel PHP, Flight, Zikula, PHPixie, Slim, Li3, Nette,  etc. Express, full-stack MVC frameworks like Meteor and Derby, total.js, sails.js, Express.js, Koa2, NestJS , LoopBack, Meteor.js, Derby.js, Hapi.js, Mean.io, Total.js  etc.
Databases PHP makes use of traditional and relational databases like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and NoSQL etc.
PHP users must be careful while making use of MySQL database as it is prone to SQL injection attacks, cross-site scripting (XSS) etc.
NoSQL, MongoDB, CouchDB, Neo4
For Node.js users, NoSQL injection acts as a documented vulnerability. But these are negligible as compared to SQL injection.
Web Server Versions XAMPP servers had to be set up before version 5.4, later versions come with pre-installed servers. Node.js comes along with some core modules like HTTP, DNS, file system etc. that help in customizing web servers. Express.js, sails.js, and koa.js are some of the popular examples of running web servers.
Application Domains PHP is being used to develop applications that are CPU intensive like scientific applications and meteorology. CMS developed in PHP like WordPress is able to handle bulky blog sites. LAMP stack is used for API development. Node.js can be efficiently used for developing highly scalable server-side solutions. It is best suited to the event-driven model. Most popular use cases of node.js are chat applications, blogs, and video-streaming applications.

Node.Js Development Advantages

  • Provides fast server-side solutions – Node.js assists in highly scalable applications that maximize single CPU usage. It fits well for asynchronous, heavy I/O-bound workflows, data-driven applications and such as RTAs (Real-time Applications) or SPAs (Single-page Applications), where Node ensures excellent runtime performance.
  • One language across the entire stack – JavaScript acts like the popular spoken word across the browsers. Node.js applications are easy to manage as it becomes easy to check JavaScript code on both front end and back end.
  • Flexibility –js allows the developers to select the best architecture, design patterns, modules and features giving ample room for creativity while developing your application.

Related post: Python vs Node.js: Which Will Ameliorate Your Project Better?

Node.js Development Disadvantages

  • js is not as efficient in handling CPU intensive applications or processing large files. It suits well to create one-page applications. It can often get unresponsive and sluggish. It does not fare well as compared to the multi-threaded server environment.
  • The quality of a particular module before application deployment becomes difficult to be assessed in node.js. Sometimes bugs and version inconsistency might increase the creepiness of the application. It eases out publishing your own packages paired with the lack of a reliable mechanism of module’s approval, which means that the user should pay more attention while selecting packages to ensure that they had a recent activity such as bug fixes and updates.
  • js fails at the point where heavy server-side rendering and regular requests to the server are required to generate and render Single Page Applications (SPAs) with rich client-side functionality for which JavaScript is frequently a better option.

PHP Development Advantages

  • The powerful codebase of PHP includes platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal for CMS and Laravel, Symfony, CakePHP, Phalcon, FuelPHP, Zend Framework, Yii etc for web development that essentially helps users to customize it and use it according to their needs. PHP has a host of open source solutions and strong development community support which implies that everything you need for your application development lies at your fingertips. Hosting platform like cPanel can be installed in a single click.
  • Being portable, PHP can run on any server like Apache, Nginx and on almost any platform
  • PHP also enjoys wide hosting support. Shared hosting options are available, but node.js applications require a virtual server with Secure Shell (SSH) in order to run. In this way, integration and deployment of PHP application are simple for individuals or small companies who can run their applications without console commands or Linux Server Technologies.
  • PHP is a comprehensive server-side solution and also there is no requirement to bother about JavaScript in the browser since all pages can be easily generated and rendered on the server. It saves the client browser from being overloaded with requests.

PHP Development Disadvantages

  • It is difficult to implement the Model-View-Controller (MVC) approach with PHP. As is popularly known MVC assists in readability, maintainability, and scalability of web applications but PHP code mixes HTML and language syntax inside HTML files that results in poor coding structure and it often becomes difficult to separate views and business logic. In this way, it becomes difficult to extend PHP applications with any new functionality.
  • PHP still works on a traditional client-server model where every page request initiates the application, database connection, configuration parameters, and HTML rendering. This often slows down PHP as compared to Node.JS applications which just needs a one-time initialization.
  • This makes Node.js more suitable for HTML5, AJAX, and WebSockets, while PHP can still counterattack with Memcached, but this is as well not considered as a standard practice.

Delineation – When to Use PHP Development Services or Node.JS Development?

Node.Js supports Asynchronous + Event-based architecture makes = Suitable for Real-Time Applications (RTA) like instant messaging, video conferencing and drawing applications as they require multiple concurrent requests and simultaneous shuffling of data.

In addition to this, Node.js has support for server-side events and WebSockets that makes it easy to implement pub-sub (publish-subscribe) architectures which are building blocks of RTAs. These are also helpful in quickly updating the views on the client side.

Related post: How much does it cost to hire a Node.js developer?

These same features make Node.js suitable for applications that process data from the Internet of Things (IoT) and Single Page Applications (SPAs), which involve dynamic, flexible, and heavy client-side functionality.

Node.js also simplifies implementation of web services (which involves server-side functions as REST API, the speed of CRUD operations, and asynchronous processing)

PHP is good enough for blogs, landing pages, news sites, web application development, or writing CMS with all sorts of customizations like a well-documented API to change application’s structure, presentation, plugins, infinite customizable themes etc.

PHP is also a helpful resource in case hosting is an issue. Moreover, PHP is more flexible in integration and deployment, in case a shared hosting service is required instead of a full-fledged virtual cloud instance.

Related post: How Much Does It Cost to Hire A PHP Developer?

Surprisal – While selecting between Node.JS and PHP, it is important to consider the type of the application that is to be built, hosting requirements according to client and speed and timeframe of the project. If a standardized solution with an extensive hosting support is required by the client then PHP must be considered. On the other hand, if fast development (For Real-Time and Single-Page Applications) is required then Node.js must be considered.

It’s a combination of soft skills with matured experiences that make our techies outshine, be it PHP development services or Node.js development. Hire a PHP developer or a Node.js expert who are eager to catch your aggressive expectations and manage a continually challenging job like a legato passage. Colligating facts like Pro-level teams, zero-billing guarantee and flexible hiring models get your hands-down and hire best developers from us!

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About Author

Manish Jain

Manish Jain is the co-founder and Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions. He is responsible for the overall operations of the company and has played a major role in bringing Konstant up from its humble beginnings and, with his immense energy and drive, transforming it into a globally trusted name in IT solutions.

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