PHP in 2024

It's 2024, and I'm excited about PHP. Will some people think I'm weird because of that? Sure. Do I have good reasons to be excited about a programming language that's been around for more than 25 years, which generally has a reputation of being the underdog compared to other languages?


There are very good reasons to be excited about PHP these days. Today, I want to share some of the things I'm most excited about this year for PHP.

# Continuous evolution

When Nikita left over two years ago — Nikita being the main contributor and driver for PHP, he went to work on LLVM — I'll admit I was scared for PHP's future:

I'm a little worried now that Nikita has stepped down. He's definitely not the only person capable of working on PHP's core, but he did a tremendous amount of work these past years with PHP 8.0 and 8.1. I don't think 2022 will be the most mind blowing year for PHP, but rather a year of adding stability.

Looking back, I think that fear wasn't needed. The PHP Foundation has grown into a well-established community, with now 10 developers being paid to work on PHP core. Two major features being worked on at the moment come to mind: property hooks — which I'm hopeful for will pass once it comes to voting; and a rework of Pecl — PHP's extension manager.

Of course, I still got a sliver of hope when it comes to generics, which the Foundation is/was also looking into. I do think that the only viable way forward is runtime-ignored generics though, time will tell whether the Foundation will be able to cultivate a new mindset or not.

# FrankenPHP

One of the cool things happening in PHP land today is a project called FrankenPHP. It's been in the works for a year or two — if I remember correctly, and it's getting some real traction these days.

FrankenPHP is an app server for PHP, written in Go, that gives existing PHP apps a major performance boost, and it's super easy to get started with. It also supports compiling PHP projects as standalone binaries, worker mode for long-lived applications, is three times faster than PHP-FPM, HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 support, and more.

Recently, we've seen support for FrankenPHP for Laravel and Symfony. So it's growing into something big.

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# Laravel

I think it's fair to say at this point that Laravel's marketing strategy is working well. Laravel itself — the open source framework — is by far the most popular one within the PHP community; but they've also managed to create an ecosystem of products built with and for Laravel, to build a sustainable business. Just recently, Laravel hired 6 new people, from a COO to BizOps to engineers; and Taylor mentioned that "serious business is underway".

Modern businesses are growing and embracing PHP, which is great to see.

One of the things I embraced last year was Laravel Livewire, a tool that allows you to write interactive apps, without any JavaScript. I did some tinkering with it, and had a lot of fun making a game:

# Discovering PHP

What I found especially heartwarming to see is how people outside the PHP community are re-discovering PHP. There have been a number of examples of people coming from the JavaScript world, suddenly realising Laravel is a thing, and a good thing; and there are people like ThePrimeagen on YouTube who were pleasantly surprised by PHP:

# Composer and Packagist

The PHP ecosystem keeps growing as well: there's a continuous growth in packages, indicating an active ecosystem.

On top of that, Packagist recently crossed the one hundred billion downloads milestone. That's a doubling in two years time! We're now at 105 134 384 876, and that number keeps growing.

I think it's fair to say: PHP is not dead!

Noticed a tpyo? You can submit a PR to fix it. If you want to stay up to date about what's happening on this blog, you can subscribe to my mailing list: send an email to, and I'll add you to the list.