Sunday, July 16, 2006

PHP 5 Adoption has Tipped!

PHP 5 was released in July 2004. Since its release two years ago, there has been a lot of talk about its adoption rate and whether it will surpass the PHP 4 installed base. Even a very narrow Google query will point you to a large amount of articles and blog entries on the subject. In December 2005, I was interviewed for internetnews.com and already pointed out then, that judging by support calls we get for our various products at Zend, almost 50% of development in PHP is being done on PHP 5. Still many weren't sure whether to believe that statistic as Web crawling stats in favor of PHP 4 were still showing a completely different picture.

No doubt that it will still take some time for PHP 5 to reach PHP 4's existing installed base. The main reason for this are the numerous PHP 4-based applications that were built over the years, and if it's not broken, don't fix it. Even at Zend, we have some apps which don't need to be maintained anymore, so we still run PHP 4 for those. But pretty much all new development is done with PHP 5.

That said, I think when judging adoption, the most important statistic is still understanding what people developing and building Web sites with PHP are actually using today. Last week I decided to check up on our support statistics again and see how things have changed in the last few months. I was pretty amazed with the latest results. Although I knew many were waiting for PHP 5.1 before upgrading, its release in last November seems to have created a huge increase in PHP 5 adoption. In July over 74% of support tickets were by customers using PHP 5 (and remember we do support both versions). You can see the results (in %) in the following graph. PHP 4 and PHP 5 are of course inverses of each other.


I've added a trendline to the graph which gives a good idea of how adoption seems to be quickly accelerating since the release of PHP 5.1. I'm the last one to recommend trusting such extrapolations on data, but there definitely seems to be some kind of trend here, and I think it's past the point of no return.

P.S. - Thanks to Shahar Evron, from our support team and contributor to the Zend Framework for getting me these stats.

43 comments:

  1. Mr. Gutmans, that's FUD!

    ReplyDelete
  2. If you use your support system as a basis for this graph, couldn't it be that PHP4 is still used a lot more, but PHP5 just needs a lot more support?

    (probably not, but still a problem to derive any conclusion from these numbers)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Okay, people can stop giving you crap about this, since you already said "I'm the last one to recommend trusting such extrapolations on data..." and that says it. Cool: a trend. We all know it may or may not mean something, but we also know it at least shows something in that direction, even if it just comes from a skewed sample.

    Here, have another example in the form of an informal poll: Which version of PHP do you have actively installed?

    It has a similarly narrow selection of developers (specifically Debian Administrators or those interested in learning to Admin Debian machines), and it currently shows the following results:

    PHP 3 <-> 0% (5 votes)
    PHP 4 <-> 41% (299 votes)
    PHP 5 <-> 36% (263 votes)
    PHP 6 <-> 2% (19 votes)
    No PHP! <-> 18% (131 votes)
    Total 717 votes

    With the usual warnings about standard deviation, this means that we can only really take from this one that PHP4 and PHP5 run about neck and neck (well, when it comes to people who answer polls about versions of PHP on this particular site).

    So people can stop reacting to your overly-optimistic sounding title for this now, right? Right?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would suspect that a significant portion of this is represented by three aspects:

    a) there are significantly less new 4x deployments happening out there than a year ago;

    b) those who are in 4x have fewer questions at this point since it's mature; and

    c) those who are converting are running into those little implementation differences that drive us nuts. ;)

    Of course, this is all conjecture.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi All,

    I think people are moving to PHP5 more
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    Regards,
    sgcet.

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