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PHP Zeitgeist 2014: Top PHP Trending Topics of 2014

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Categories: PHP opinions, PHP Zeitgeist

The 2014 edition of the PHP Zeitgeist 2014 was just published with the analysis of new topics that PHP developers have been interested in 2014.

Read this article to learn what were the trends in terms of new topics that PHP developers have been looking into in 2014.

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What is the PHP Zeitgeist Initiative?

The PHP and JavaScript Zeitgeist 2014

Top 8 PHP Trending Topics of 2014

Using the PHP Zeitgeist to Develop Innovative Components


PHP Zeitgeist based on work licensed under  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence from is the PHP Zeitgeist Initiative?

The PHP Zeitgeist is an initiative that was started by the PHP Classes site in 2010 to gather interesting search statistics and use them to extract trends about the interests of PHP developers in the past times.

It is a similar initiative to Google Zeitgeist, but it is not based on searches done on Google. It is rather based on searches done by the users on PHP Classes.

The PHP and JavaScript Zeitgeist 2014

In the beginning of every year the PHP Classes site publishes the Zeitgeist results for the previous year. This article is an analysis of the PHP Zeitgeist 2014 edition.

Recently the JS Classes site also published its analysis for the JavaScript Zeitgeist 2014 edition. Some of the trends in the JavaScript world are related with the PHP trends. You may want to also take a look at the JavaScript trend analysis to find what is relevant in that end.

Top 8 PHP Trending Topics of 2014

The PHP Zeitgeist initiative works by extracting new topics of interest that became relevant in 2014, but were not relevant, or at least as relevant in the previous years.

A ranking is built from all keywords used in searches performed by users during 2014 in the PHP Classes site. Then it builds another ranking of the top 100 keywords that become relevant in 2014 but were not ranked in the previous years.

The topics that were listed in the previous years will not appear in the 2014 ranking even though they continued to be relevant for many PHP developers.

Below follows the list of trending PHP topics related with keywords that become relevant in 2014. This list was built by gathering the top trending searches in groups of related topics. Some searches were not included in this list because they did not seem to form a topic of interest with sufficient number of related search keywords.

1. APIs and Web services

The growth of relevance of mobile applications has been increasing the interest for the development of APIs that can be accessed by those applications. This is a topic that is denoted on searches for:  api rest, oauth client, simple rest server, xml json, oauth php.

On the other hand, PHP applications have also been more and more integrated with other site applications that provide APIs. This can be noted clearly by searches for: discogs, mandrill, telegram, php code for getting facebook friends, ngram, viber, facebook search, xing, elasticsearch, amazon mws, and neo4j.

2. Databases

Database access continues to be a strong topic of interest among PHP developers, obviously because practically all PHP applications need to store and retrieve information from a persistent storage container that usually is a database.

The deprecation of the mysql extension has also motivated many PHP developers to move on to the mysqli or PDO extensions.

These trends about PHP database accesses have been denoted by searches for: pagination pdo, crud mysql, Database Synchronization, grid table edit, pdo connection, treeview database, sync database, crud generator, pdo mssql, and login mysqli.

3. Security

Security is also a topic that continues to be of great interest among PHP developers. This is a good sign because some times we see claims that PHP developers are not very concerned with security and application protection matters.

Fortunately we can see that this is not really like that when we see top trending searches for: block ip, license key, file encryption, php encrypt, KeyGen, nagios, cookie login, filter input, user roles, nedI, math captcha and Chiper.

4. File manipulation and formats

Many applications need to import and export information in files of different formats. The interest for file manipulation and format conversion is denoted by searches for: php docx, import from excel, phpepub, pdftotext, pdf to image converter, phpdocx, PHPWord, and simplexls.

5. New Frameworks

PHP developers seem to always be interested in new frameworks that can help them to solve their development challenges in a more efficient way. This interest seems to be denoted by searches for: angular, angularjs, simple framework, slim, and codeignitor.

6. E-Commerce and Business

Business components for new needs continue to very important for PHP applications. This fact is denoted by searches for: cart class, voucher, amortization and factura.

7. Hardware

One topic that is been gaining more interest lately among PHP developers is the integration with hardware devices. This is denoted by searches for: raspberry, ibex and php printer.

8. PHP Installers and Composer

Installation of PHP applications is an important interest among PHP developers. Nowadays it is well addressed by popular tools like composer. composer and PHP installer were some of the top trending searches of 2014.

Looking for better PHP installation tools is not exactly a new trend but in 2014 it become much more evident after PHP Classes implemented composer support to install packages available on the site.

Composer can also be used to install packages of files for front-end purposes like JavaScript, images and CSS. That requires the use of plugins to install Web assets in the directories under the Web server root directory.

An important feature implemented in 2014 allows composer to import packages from private repositories. This is important for many companies that want to use composer to install packages that are proprietary and so are available from private repositories because they implement business rules sensitive to the company businesses.

Using the PHP Zeitgeist to Develop Innovative Components

One useful purpose of the PHP Zeitgeist initiative is to get ideas for innovative components. Developers that are participating in the PHP Innovation Award initiative are often looking for ideas for innovative packages.

The PHP Innovation Award is a great initiative because since 2004 it has been providing great prizes and recognition for authors that submit innovative package to the PHP Classes site.

In 2014 this initiative gained additional interest among innovative package developers because of the PHP Innovation Award World Championship of the Nations. This is an evolution of the PHP Innovation Award initiative that aims to provide recognition to the countries of the authors that submit more innovative packages.

If you are looking for more ideas to create innovative packages and so earn prizes and recognition for you and your country by participating in the Innovation Award, you can take a look at the top trending keywords in the PHP Zeitgeist ranking and check if there are any keywords about purposes for which there are not yet any packages available in the site. That will give you some pretty good ideas for new innovative packages.


The PHP Zeitgeist initiative continues to help revealing interesting trends among PHP developers.

The main concerns of PHP developers seem to be around the same topics year after year. However there are always new topics that appear each year.

Please post a comment if you would like to denote other trends in the PHP world not listed in this article.

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