I had a good chat about this with my colleague Mark and I think I figured it out. PHP is the Pot Noodle of programming.
Let me explain. Pot Noodle is, frankly, a bit crap. On the other hand, the only thing it requires to make a meal is a kettle, which is pretty much the only appliance in the kitchen that is always guaranteed to be there, to work, and not be totally disgusting (especially if you’ve ever lived in a shared house). It also requires absolutely zero culinary skills. So as a student, Pot Noodle is a good standby. However, as a proper grown up I never really bother with them.
For me, PHP is a bit similar. All you need is a fairly normal web server, and it can do the job, and most people, including non-developers, can pick up enough skills in it fairly easily. (Looking at anything substantial built in PHP also looks a bit like a tangled mess of noodles wrapped around some unidentifiable chunks too.)
But its not something I particularly want to touch myself; which is fine, as if you throw a Pot Noodle out of the window of an IT dept there’s a reasonable chance it will land on someone who can do PHP.
So, if you need the job doing, if you can’t install a ton of software on the server, and it needs doing quickly… well there’s a web programming language that can fit.
Long live PHP!
Just don’t make me
eat use it.