Node.js vs. PHP: Which Environment To Choose For Your Next Project?

Empowering you to make the best decision for unique circumstances

While it is true that every developer and software architect who works with either Node.JS, PHP or both, has an opinion about which environment they prefer to work with, we need to make sure that this subconscious bias doesn’t translate into the selection of a suboptimal technology stack.

The challenge is that there are so many selection criteria we need to consider before finalising our tech stack selection. And the weighting of importance that we give each can vary depend on the specifics of the product you are developing.

Some of the variables we need to consider as part of the process include:

  • Ease of Coding a particular feature set
  • Performance Handing (Speed of Application)
  • Budget
  • Deadlines
  • Technical Risk
  • History of similar projects implemented
  • Load handling
  • Developability of particular functionality
  • Resources available on the labour market, both for development and support
  • Scaling capability in both product architecture and in your providers (software development vendor)
  • Ability to learn
  • Available documentation
  • And more

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A High-Level Comparison of Node.JS vs PHP by Mariia Tintul – Director of Business Development of Lenal EU

The following is a table which compares node js vs php across the following parameters:

  • Processing Speed
  • How long each language takes to learn
  • Availability of Documentation and relative strength of the Developer Community
  • Configurability
  • Functionalities and applications which are suited to each language.
Parameter Node JS PHP
Processing Speed For normal processing, PHP is faster because it operates on Apache/Nginx servers. However, if you have a large amount of data being transferred and cached, Node performs much better because has better compatibility with HTML5 and Ajax.

There are options with PHP which make it faster.

Overall Even the most demanding PHP developer rarely worries about speed but Node.js performance is generally a bit better
Learning these languages Node is a tiny bit more difficult to understand how it works, but it’s based on javascript, a very easy language.

Like some of the PHP frameworks, there are a lot of ready-made solutions for use on the internet.

PHP is the easiest way to learn web development.

It has a big knowledge base on the internet.

Watch out! Because both languages are really easy to pick up and develop in this can lead to very poor development practices. This is an all too common situation.
Documentation & Developer Community Both languages have almost all the documentation you will ever need on the internet. PHP has a larger library of instructions and frequently asked questions (there have been plenty over the last 20 years)

The PHP developers community is a massive and diverse group of people, they are constantly revisiting and updating libraries, frameworks and other PHP components

Overall PHP has the advantage of having a knowledge base built up over decades. So it is less likely you won’t be able to find support on something uncommon or “impossible to solve”.
Configurability It’s easier to configure the development environment for PHP Node.js requires more code. In order to code on Node.js, you have to understand events like callback functions and blockings
Applications of each Language Asynchronous and event-based architecture of Node.js makes it a great fit for RTA (Real-Time Applications) such as:

  • Instant messaging
  • Collaborative apps (drawing and video conferencing)
  • Chats
  • Betting apps
  • Apps like Twitter
  • Interfaces for Instagram
A standard set of features that need to be implemented are well established in PHP and doesn’t take a lot of time, for example:

  • Blog
  • Admin page
  • Online store
Creating APIs This language has so many frameworks (with bundles) and CMSs that it’s simply easier to create ordinary web entities using it.
Publish-subscribe architecture makes it easier to process data from IoT (Internet of Things) and SPAs (Single Page Applications) that involve highly flexible, dynamic and heavy client-side functionality as it’s a fast way to push things to front-end on production. If you are using a relational database, like the traditional MySQL, Oracle or SQL Server.
If it’s about streaming or huge data transfer, go for Node. And, for other project types, PHP can be better for cost and maintenance, because it has many more developers available.

Conclusion

The bottom line is – It is important to know the architecture beforehand in order to select the most appropriate framework and language for the development of your application.

The above table only covers some of the dozens of parameters to consider when choosing between Node.JS and PHP. We will write a follow-up article to run through some more of the parameters, in case you are still undecided about which framework to select.

About Mariia

Mariia is leading the international direction in LENAL. She took a significant part in creating the main sales, partnerships and PR/marketing strategies in a number of companies. Moreover, Mariia is training sales interns and broadening the network of Clients and Partners all around the globe.

 

 

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Tristan Senycia

Tristan Senycia

Tristan Senycia is a Product Manager at YouTeam - a curated b2b marketplace that matches businesses with dedicated engineers from pre-vetted software development agencies.

He is also the founder of LeverPoint Advisory, which consults in the areas of commercialisation management, go-to-market strategy, High-Tech marketing strategy and customer development. 

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