Why 2024 is the year of PHP for me

Why 2024 is the year of PHP for me

Over the past year and a half I worked with my co-founder to test out different markets and build minimum viable products that users could get their hands on and provide feedback for. Throughout that journey I ended up using a bunch of different stacks including:

  • Supabase w/ React
  • FastAPI w/ Next.js
  • Vanilla Express for APIs
  • Django Rest Framework w/ Next.js

All of these got the job done in the end, but I can’t say that I personally loved any of them. When I got my start in building web apps I was immersed in the world of Ruby on Rails since that’s what RigUp/Workrise used initially. I find myself longing for the opinionated way of doing things, robust ecosystem of packages, and just great developer experience that came along with developing in the Rails ecosystem.

When building in the JS/TS heavy ecosystem I found myself reaching for various SaaS offerings to fill the gaps that the base application didn’t handle (queues, background jobs, mail, etc). Want to do queues and background jobs in a Next.js app? Time to go sign up for another SaaS product and figure out how to glue it together. I wanted to find something that simplified all of that via first party support and get closer to what I came to love about Rails.

So why not use Rails moving forward? The main thing holding me back here is that Rails prefers using their front end frameworks for optimal magic. All of that is fine and good except that I’ve spent a lot of time learning React over the past 2 years and I really enjoy building front end functionality with it, not to mention there are a ton of options for component kits / libraries that I can leverage to speed up development. It looks like I can use Inertia with Rails and React in the same way that you can with Laravel, the only problem is the lack of first class support which means you’re still trying to glue things together yourself. I’m looking for an ecosystem where I can get up and running and be productive as fast as possible because at the end of the day I’m trying to build products and businesses, not flex engineering skills.

I’ve started doing a few basic tutorials and digging into how things work in Laravel land and I’m finding myself impressed with the documentation, stability, and support of the community. I haven’t built a full serious project yet, so I may have a later post that details a terrible postmortem with my experience but I don’t think that will be the case.

Here’s to 2024, the year of shipping more products and spending less time messing around with the latest and “greatest” in the javascript ecosystem.

Update Feb 2024: Well I've pivoted a bit from this already. I found a workflow using Rails and React that I think works well for me. The upside for me is not having to learn a new framework from scratch (Laravel). I've really enjoyed building out the backend in Rails as I've gone though the process of re-writing Parse in preparation for open sourcing it and removing Supabase dependencies. Once this project wraps I'll write up something on how I'm using Rails and Next.js together.