Few months ago, in 2015, when I was deep into academic research, if somebody had come to me and asked "Pascal, how many new projects (and you can limit this to code written as part of a startups being born) were written in PHP this year ?", I would have replied "PHP ? Probably zero, right ? I mean who in their right mind would start something *new* in PHP ?"
....and I would have been far away from the truth.
Here is the truth. The current demand for web programmers on the planet (and it's getting worse every day) far exceeds the amount of humans with correct programming skills. This means that a rather large proportion of web coding is done by people whom in normal circumstances would not be allowed anywhere near a keyboard. (On the top of this, programming is not a regulated skill, like being medical doctor or lawyer, and anybody can declare themselves programmers on their CV.)
This, in itself, is just merely interesting from a job market dynamic point of view (I am sure that there are HR geeks studying those things). Where it gets tragic, though, is the fact that those subpar programmers, often from developing countries, notably one with a large number of call centres, ship code towards western clients on industrial scale after adopting the worse programming language they could come up with, the Justin Bieber of programming languages: PHP.
Then, when those western companies realise that maybe outsourcing wasn't that great, or has overstayed its welcome, and that they should start considering hiring proper programmers, they call people like me who then have to deal with the shit left by the original coders. A shit particularly painful to deal with because a bad programming language in the hands of skilled programmers is fine, but a bad programming language in the hands of subpar programmers is an amazinlgy potent source of toxicity in the (computing) world.
If it was only up to me, I would come up with a new law, with world-wide reach, that would make it illegal to start any new website in PHP. I don't mind people maintaining or even adding to existing systems already written in PHP (eg: Wordpress, Drupal, Wikipedia, Facebook, etc) as PHP was better than alternatives when those projects were born, but it should be illegal, or at least very strongly discouraged, to start new projects in PHP.
Since this ideal world is not anywhere near becoming a reality, what is there left for me to do ? Thinking about it I am left with only one thing: PHP-shaming. We should shame PHP proponents away until it becomes universally understood (including in the mind of the Pointy Haired Boss) that we ought to raise the bar and that PHP is no longer acceptable.