When you click on a click, scan a QR code, or enter a URL into your browser, there is an 80% chance you are encountering the often-invisible work of PHP developers. Without server-side programming – most of which is coded in PHP – accessing the websites we use every day would be impossible. Businesses hire PHP developers to keep their applications ‘alive’ on the web.
By the same token, businesses which neglect to hire PHP developers well-versed enough to enable seamless server-side integrations will experience frequent connection errors and loss of critical interactive functions. To keep your web applications and development projects running smoothly, let’s quickly explore what PHP is, why PHP developers are so critical, and what to look for when recruiting PHP development talent.
What Is PHP?
First, let’s touch briefly on PHP itself to understand why it’s so important to hire PHP developers.
PHP once stood for ‘Personal Home Page,’ but now is understood to mean ‘hypertext preprocessor.’ Though it’s still extremely popular today, PHP is nearly 30 years old, having been developed in 1994 by the Danish-Canadian software developer, Rasmus Lerdorf, who wanted a way to track visitors to his home page.
PHP developers are back-end developers who use PHP scripting language primarily to design, code, test, and implement server-side logic to connect with a web hosting service.
Why Hire Dedicated PHP Web Developers?
Decades after its inception, PHP is by far the most dominant server-side programming language; it’s behind nearly 80% of web applications. Most applications will at some point need to interact with PHP-coded servers, because:
- PHP is also open-source; developers can download it for free.
- PHP is cross-platform compatible, able to run on Windows, MacOs, Linux, Unix, and most major operating systems.
- PHP is also compatible with virtually all modern web servers, and is flexible enough to suit most web applications.
Aware of PHP’s popularity and its many benefits, companies continue to use PHP in their server-side logic, driving demand to hire PHP developers. This is why PHP developers are vital members of any software development team.
In addition, these programmers deploy PHP in several industrial applications to:
- Build, scale, and add functionality to web applications.
- Perform system functions, like opening, reading, writing, and terminating system files.
- Verify user information against a database (by interacting with database servers), restricting. access to certain pages of your site and enabling the use of login pages.
- Manage and edit databases by adding, erasing, and altering data within them.
- Encrypt sensitive data, such as user information.
- Log and track web sessions.
- Enable and rotate web advertising (for example, rotating the banner ads a user sees on a website).
- Create and manage cookies.
- Resolve compatibility problems arising from variations between browsers and software updates.
- Schedule and execute critical website updates.
- Develop and manage web portals.
Additionally, now that web pages are far more complex than they used to be in the early days of the internet, PHP developers must be able to code dynamic interactions between browser and server.
Think of early, static web pages; you visited a site via URL or by clicking on a link, then the server sent the website file to your browser to display it. But now, server-side logic must also be able to perform dynamic functions like checking user logins, loading individualized content from databases, formatting the page’s styling, updating comments and other live content. All this must be accomplished in a live, interactive data exchange between server and client.
For such critical functions, it would be inappropriate to expect a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ developer to hold the expertise to execute all these functions. This is why even full-stack developers often turn to dedicated PHP web developers to handle server-side logic, and why companies often retain several developers who specialize primarily in PHP programming.
How To Screen PHP Developers For Hire
When searching for qualified PHP developers, it’s necessary to vary your questions from what you would ask a front-end developer candidate.
Here are the most important skills and experiences to check in your PHP developer candidates, beyond extensive familiarity with PHP language programming:
- Understanding of PHP frameworks like YII2 or Laravel. These offer easier scalability than raw PHP, even though using raw PHP can speed initial development.
- A comprehensive understanding of CMS (content management systems), which are built atop frameworks to enable plugins and themes without altering a site’s underlying functionality.
- Familiarity with SQL/MySQL databases
- Familiarity with MVC (model-view-controller), a software architectural pattern used for developing user interfaces.
- A solid grasp of OOP (object-oriented programming).
- Familiarity with the two major web service protocols: SOAP and REST.
Though there are many other elements you may wish to consider before deciding to hire PHP developers, ensure first that your candidates possess all the skills above, to ensure they will be the best match for your development project.