PHP vs Java: Differences and Similarities

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For a long time now, there has been a constant competition between Java and PHP, as both of them are the most used languages for developing apps and websites. 

During their learning phase, a lot of beginners often get confused as to which language they should start with. It’s a choice that usually comes down to personal preferences and own needs. 

Despite both these languages being similar, they differ in several aspects like instruction set, server-side oriented programming, or object-oriented programming. The differences between these two programming languages can be considered as their pros and cons depending upon the problems that need to be solved. 

php vs java

In general, it is evident that both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but whichever you choose is actually going to lead you to become a successful developer.

This article gives a fair comparison of both platforms and will help you choose the best way for you and your organization to meet its requirements.

PHP and Java in comparison: which one to choose?

Coding and Speed

Java is a class and object-oriented programming language. It enables writing code only once for implementing it on different platforms. The code runs swiftly on devices where Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is installed.

In Java, the source code written by programmers is changed into binary language for JVM to understand and adapt to the device’s operating system. 

On the contrary, PHP offers superior provisions for coding and memory consumption. In PHP, the code is first sent to an interpreter, then translated into the machine’s language and implemented.

Coding an application is faster with PHP compared to Java

Performance

Since the two languages have a different foundation for code interpretation, it is difficult to compare their performance. The code in Java gets pre-compiled into bytecode. In PHP, it takes time to comply with bytecode for each request. 

what is php used for

While both Java and PHP have been optimized, Java has shown better results than PHP. Though the newest version of PHP cuts memory consumption, performance-wise, it can’t outperform Java. Java is seen to perform better in code runs as opposed to PHP.

Security

When it comes to security, the latest version of Java offers advanced security features, ensuring high-end security to your enterprise application. Many developers thus prefer Java over PHP for its robust security features.

Though PHP is a popular programming language, it still lacks some of Java’s advanced built-in security features.  As developers, you need to avail yourself of the security features offered by other PHP frameworks to increase the security level of the app you create with PHP.

Stability

Stability is a crucial aspect of app development. Java and PHP have been around for a long time. One of the most common arguments is that PHP code is less reliable than Java code, but which language is more reliable?

If you compare Java and PHP in terms of stability, Java is more reliable. Java allows developers to write more extended codes. Thus, it makes the apps more stable and reduces the chances of the app getting crashed frequently. 

Page loading speed

Page load speed is another crucial aspect of any website. Most users expect a page to load within 2-3 seconds. Anything slower, and they start to get impatient, going elsewhere.

Often you get the answer that Java is slow and Java EE applications don´t get the same performance as PHP-based pages.

php programming

Java takes more time to load a page, specifically if it includes some complex logic. On the other hand, PHP loads pages quickly as it takes a lighter load, unlike the JSP engine. 

Documentation

Both Java and PHP have a long history, so you will be able to find an extensive amount of documentation for both programming languages.

To see official Java documentation, you can go to Oracle. You will easily find all the information you might require.

PHP has been around since 1995. However, you will find its documentation partly outdated, puzzling, and inconsistent.

Popularity

To compare their popularity, you just need to take a look at their data. Java is more in demand among developers. 

As per studies, 19.1% of programmers are willing to learn Java, and only 6.2% want to learn PHP. Also, another research found out that the most in-demand language out there is Java. PHP ranked 7th place. 

In another study, it was found that 44.1% of professionals want to continue working with Java while only 37.3% would like to work with PHP.

most popular programming language

Ease of Learning

Both PHP and Java are easy to learn. However, the answer will depend on your previous knowledge and skills. Some developers say that Java’s library is too deep. Others are of the opinion that the syntax of Java is simpler as compared to PHP and similar to the English language. 

java tutorial

If you are familiar with C++ or C, you will find Java quite similar when it comes to syntax. Moreover, suppose you have knowledge of Oracle and SCRUM. In that case, you will be able to combine your skills with Java while developing web or mobile apps without having to spend time learning this programming language.

Development cost

If you are working on a budget, PHP is the best option. It is faster in coding, and the coding is cheaper. Plus, you don’t have to obtain a license and make a huge investment in small and medium enterprises.

Coming to Java, though Oracle lets you choose from a number of Java editions, including SE and EE, for enterprise app development, you need to obtain the license, which increases the cost.

Language tool

The ease of app development mainly depends on the tools supported by the programming language. 

Software developers popularly use Eclipse and Netbeans to write any level of application. Apart from supporting those IDEs, Java also supports Intellij, Notepad++, DOS editors, and others. It increases the efficiency of the developers while writing an application.

While using PHP, you will need a plugin for Eclipse and Netbeans.

java coding

When it comes to the debugging capabilities, Java apps are debugged by all editors. It makes Java development quicker and easier. PHP has the capability to debug only the print statements.

Coming to the packaging tool, PHP uses just packaging files, while Java supports a variety of packaging tools, including Maven, ANT, Editors, and Web Start. All these tools allow real-time development.

Statically-typed vs. Dynamically-typed

Since Java is statically typed, you will be able to detect errors at the initial stages of the Systems Development Life Cycle process

On the other hand, PHP is a dynamically-typed language, which means that variables do not have types. They can easily be used as strings, numbers, arrays, objects, or even functions. In PHP, you don’t need to declare the type of a variable before using it. 

This contrasts to languages like Java, which are statically typed languages – where variables typically have a type known at design time.

Use Cases and Implementation 

Learning for the sake of learning can be fun and exciting, but it can also be a massive waste of time. 

Before you invest your valuable time in a new piece of technology, you should first consider the specific types of projects you’re working on and everything you can accomplish with a particular computer language. After all, technology is just a means to an end.

Java, being a general-purpose language, is used by developers in many cases. 

Java use cases include:

  • Android apps;
  • Web applications such as online forms, Gmail, shopping carts, and more;
  • Enterprise applications in banks, governments, schools, and more. Enterprises like TripAdvisor, Pinterest, Spotify use Java;
  • Web servers such as Apache Tomcat, Resin, Adobe JRun, and more;
  • Software tools like Eclipse, NetBeans IDE, IntelliJ Idea, and more.

At the start, PHP was used for creating dynamic web pages, but now it is used in more prominent areas though not as big as Java. 

PHP use cases include:

  • Websites like Yahoo, iStock Photo, Flickr, MailChimp, and more;
  • E-commerce apps such as ZenCart, OpenCart, UberCart, and more;
  • Scripting, including DevOps tools and automation.

Before you pick a programming language, make sure to identify its uses in the real world. Java is a general-purpose language, whereas PHP is a server-side scripting language. Also, note that Java and PHP are full-stack programming languages.

Which is the better choice for enterprise-based app developers?

Developers building enterprise-based apps for companies should decide if their emerging start-up technology will be based on Java or PHP.

When it comes to enterprise-level applications, Java has clearly established itself as the platform of choice. However, many people are still debating whether PHP can be an equally suitable competitor.

The latest PHP application speeds up the development process and cuts memory consumption.

On the other hand, Java implements various threads to manage and process. Thus, Java is faster and more efficient. In fact, it is the most-searched programming language.

java programming language

Though both PHP and Java are modular platforms that you can access at paid for and free licenses, PHP is better suited for small apps. However, for larger web applications, Java is more efficient. 

Java Programming language can communicate with various systems, including databases, peer-web-services, mainframe back-ends, and databases in one form. 

And since Java has better supporting tools, Java Frameworks can be easily installed, well-documented, and useful in the monitoring and troubleshooting of production applications.

Which is the better choice to develop an enterprise mob application?

Just like there are lots of things to figure out when building a mobile app, choosing the right programming language for mobile app development is another factor that needs some consideration. 

Java, as mentioned, is the most popular programming language. However, on the other hand, PHP is a solution for start-ups.

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The success of a new project depends not only on the language of development but also on the tools that determine the structure of the system. Read a small review of the ten best PHP frameworks in 2022 here.

Java apps are called WORA (Write Once Run Anywhere) which means that programmers can develop Java code on one system and then run it on different Java-enabled systems. It is possible because of the JVM (JAVA Virtual Machine ) that acts as a run-time app. 

When it comes to Java, it doesn’t convert the program to code directly interpreted by hardware. Instead, it is converted to bytecode (.class file) and then interpreted by JVM.

When collected, it generates a bytecode file that can be run in any system with JVM.

Java is a better choice for building powerful, reliable, scalable, and multi-tiered apps. Depending on the open-source language, any kind of app, be it a web app, native apps, IoT-based appl, Android app, enterprise app, and others.

Java is, thus, the better choice for mobile application development

Which language has a brighter future?

There are 700 programming languages out there to empower businesses. Choosing one will depend on the businesses’ requirements and budget. 

The process of development is not easy for developers. And every programming language has its pros and cons.

If you are in the technology industry, it is no secret that Java and PHP are among the most popular programming languages in use today. Both contribute to making websites dynamic, responsive, secure, and fast by supporting complex, object-oriented designs that allow for maximum functionality.

What’s more, both Java and PHP are being used popularly to ensure seamless progress of the future of app development. However, developers are attracted by Java’s popularity, security, and rich language features. 

Consequently, Java is and will remain the most in-demand programming language among developers.

Java vs. PHP: The Difference 

By now, you know which programming language is better than the other in different aspects. But to enable you to make an easier decision, here’s a quick breakdown of differences between Java and PHP:

  • Java is a general-purpose programming language. PHP is a server-side scripting language.  
  • Java language is compiled and typed strongly. On the other hand, PHP language is dynamic and typed weakly.
  • Java has a more powerful set of API. PHP is easy to rebuild and tailor.
  • In Java, there is method overriding and overloading. In PHP, you will find no method overloading. However, methods and functions can have parameter choices. 
  • Java has several packaging and deployment uses. PHP is filed and has no packaging concept. 
  • Java is faster to develop complex apps. However, with PHP, you can quickly develop web pages. 
  • Java is object-oriented compiled. PHP is interpreted.
  • OOP (Object-oriented programming) is the default in Java. In PHP, OOP is offered as an option. 
  • Java is suitable for large and complex projects. PHP is better for small and medium projects. 
  • Java is more secure when compared to PHP.

Java vs. PHP: Significant Pros and Cons

Java and PHP are both vital programming languages used in the technology industry. They are not quite the same, though, which can make it hard to choose between them sometimes.

If you’re still having a hard time choosing between the two, this breakdown of pros and cons will help you decide.

Pros of Java: 

  • It is object-oriented programming;
  • It is a secure language;
  • It has an automatic memory management feature;
  • It runs on any platform;
  • Since it is a distributed language, it is suitable for remote cooperation;
  • Its syntax is simple;
  • It is stable;
  • It is a high-level language.

Cons of Java:

  • It has a longer code;
  • It is more expensive;
  • Initially, it gives poor performance.

Pros of PHP:

  • You will find a multitude of documentation and learning materials;
  • There are a variety of databases;
  • It offers a free license;
  • It is flexible;
  • It collaborates with HTML;
  • It loads faster at all stages.

Cons of PHP:

  • It is less secure;
  • It is prone to error;
  • There is inconsistent documentation.

All in all, the primary benefit of the Java language is huge leaps in programming language evolution. Comparatively, PHP is forced to stay behind, trying to catch up. The many significant breakthroughs made by the Java language are not shared by PHP.

java vs php

That’s a Wrap!

Java and PHP both have their own potential pros and cons. 

When it comes to the software development market, both of these languages carry immense significance in website design and functionality provided. 

This Java vs. PHP comparison is meant to highlight them in a way that will help web developers decide quickly if they want to use one or the other.

Regardless of which language you choose, one thing stands true. If you want to build a promising career in the IT industry, learn at least one of these programming languages. Regardless of how well you can program in either language, they will always be in demand from companies looking for qualified professionals to accomplish their business goals. 

Anil is the CEO & Co-Founder of Multidots, one of the top WordPress migration agencies on the planet. He is a technopreneur with over 13 years of experience coding, thinking, and leading the business with mind and people with heart.

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