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PHP vs Node.js Smackdown: Right of Reply

The gloves are off: an arm wrestle of the editors

In SitePoint's recent PHP vs Node.js Smackdown, Craig Buckler pitted these development disciplines against each other over a series of ten challenges, to determine which is the overall winner.

As Craig notes in the article, these comparisons are always somewhat controversial. As a fun followup, we asked Bruno Škvorc (SitePoint's PHP editor) and James Hibbard (one of SitePoint's JavaScript editors) to provide a commentary on each of the rounds.

Here's their blow-by-blow assessment …


Round 1: Getting Started

Round 1's challenge was to see how quickly you can build a “Hello World” web page in each language. This included the time taken to set up a server environment.

In Craig's estimation, PHP won the round, partly because it's "conceptually simpler" and "less daunting to new developers".

Bruno:

PHP wins in "getting started" purely because more hosts have made it so easy to get started. It's a matter of adoption rather than anything else. If more hosts bypassed the need to use the command line with Node and went straight to file uploads and a simple "reload app" button in a control panel, they would be equal. The actual syntax of getting something to display on screen, however, is much simpler in PHP — especially to those new to programming.

James:

When developing locally, I don't see a huge difference between the two. To run a PHP script in your browser, you need to have some kind of server stack installed; to run a Node script, you need to have installed Node, and preferably a web framework such as express. However, as Craig says, PHP is conceptually simpler. Node's barrier to entry is higher. No debate there.

Round 2: Help and Support

Round 2 looked at how easy it is to get help and support with each language. PHP wins this round, mainly because of its longevity.

Bruno:

Bruno kept silent on this one.

James:

I agree with this. Node.js is a younger technology, so currently, there is less help available. This will, however, become less and less of a consideration as Node matures.

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