Source Code (link to blog) explored all the definition and purpose of coding language, specifically focusing on PHP and Java. But how do these languages stack up against each other?
Bare in mind that Plum uses both PHP and Java, and it is used daily for either IVR or building and modifying the website. Our analysis and perception of the languages has been formed through coding for our IVR systems and services, and what works well for us may not be work well for a company using a different product.
With that said, how do they measure up? Well for starters, both are open-source coding languages, which is vitally important to most developers. Other important factors to consider are the language’s scalability, development speed, development tools, and maintainability.
The blog CMSwire offers an analysis of the overall performance of these programming languages and their results are split almost 50/50. PHP excels in terms of scaling and development speed, whereas Java’s development tools and maintainability score higher in this analysis.
So what does this all mean? PHP allows for an exponentially greater amount of scaling and has a higher development speed than that of Java, but Java offers a more comprehensive suite of development tools and is a much easier language to maintain throughout the application’s life (which can be a very long time if it is well-developed). It is worth mentioning that Ruby on Rails scored better than both PHP and Java in terms of development speed and maintainability.
So what are the critiques of these languages? PHP’s vulnerabilities include the fact that it doesn’t come with a tool that automatically detects the lack of input validation. Why is this important? This type of tool exposes technical security flaws in both the language and the core libraries, and the lack of it means that PHP applications require methodical and frequent attention in order to deal with these types of security risks. It is worth mentioning that these errors are very infrequent.
What about Java? There is actually a whole Wikipedia article criticizing Java, and the complaints are numerous. Many have questioned the design choices made by the architects of Java, arguing that the design impedes the function of the language and the platform. Additionally, Java’s speed (or lack thereof) has also been a point of contention.
Java has an unfortunate track record of containing security vulnerabilities, especially in programs like Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Flash. Our developers have seconded these complaints, saying that Java is often times bloated and slow, making it difficult to use. As a language, Java is too separated from the hardware it operates on, and this lack of synthesis is a huge detriment to the language.
Ultimately, the choice of which programming languages comes down to a very personal decision. It depends on what the developer feels most comfortable using, what the end purpose the application will fulfill, the level of security that is sought after, and how the language will interface with other components of development. No language is perfect, which is why it is a positive that Plum’s development team is familiar with coding in a variety of different languages and interfaces.