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Programming: JAVA or PHP?

Published on 28 June 2019

Reading time 2 minutes

Once we start to code, it’s often the same question that comes up: which language to choose? 

The most common languages are JAVA and PHP, it’s the reason why, in the following article, we’ve decided to focus on both these languages, today considered “old technologies”. 

Former CTO at the Wild Code School and well-informed developer, Romain Coeur, shares his experience. 

 

Java, an educational language

While Java isn’t as simple to learn as PHP, it’s certainly more educational. It’s an excellent language to learn programming and a great place to start in IT development. Java makes “proper” coding a requirement and involves more precision on the developer’s part. Its typing is strong and static, in other words this language helps to accurately define each variable’s type and encourages each developer to have a better grasp of their code. Much less is left up to chance with Java than is with PHP.

I happen to notice that my students created a code that works under PHP but they don’t know the reason why the code works. It’s more uncommon with Java.

 

More structure with Java

Another positive feature with Java (on Android) is that it provides a better understanding of the entire application creation process. Seeing as the code execution platform is different from the development and compilation platform, it makes it easier for the developer to automatically differentiate these two concepts along with the different stages of creation of the application. First, we code from our computer, then we compile our application which will finally be executed onto an Android platform.

 

Greater development possibilities with Java

For those who wish to develop Android mobile applications, learning Java is mandatory while PHP is excluded from consideration altogether. On the other hand, to build web applications, both technologies work and are equally as effective. Even though, initially, Java was more robust, reliable and maintainable than PHP, both languages have now matured and make it possible to produce applications of professional quality, this in particular thanks to frameworks that have been developed on these languages. Let’s take for example Spring for Java and Symfony for PHP. Ultimately, with Java you can achieve “anything” within IT development: applications, software, websites, whereas- essentially, PHP only allows you to develop websites.

 

Two technologies still much in-demand in France

Recent research from StackOverflow puts Java ahead of PHP, it’s the highest-ranking in terms of most popular languages in 2016 (37% against 29%) it also highlights the fact that the community is more active on Java than on PHP (more than 55 000 Java developers are active on the platform compared to a little under 33 000 for PHP). These two technologies are nonetheless still very much in-demand in France. Preference for one language or the other remains subjective, however, for someone starting out in code, Java is probably more of a strategic option.

 

In conclusion, Java is a highly educational language and an ideal one for a beginner immersing in the programming world.