This is not a technical analysis of PHP but more a narrative concluding that PHP still has a spot in modern development, and isn't going away soon. If you are already a PHP developer or getting started, you can seek out the sexy side of the moon and get on with modern PHP frameworks, Content Management tools like WordPress, and global e-commerce blockbuster like Alibaba.
Facebook was once built with PHP and so is WordPress
Alibaba Taobao.com uses PHP
WordPress is a PHP site
Writing that journal entry, press release, or even build a fully functional Content Management Site or just a powerful website, you can use PHP. WordPress built itself and its Content Management tool with PHP. May be PHP is a bit more poetic than we think.
Beautiful Frameworks like Laravel
Laravel beautiful modern frameworks almost too good to be PHP
|Laravel is the beautiful modern framework that actually uses PHP|
Laravel is a modern, beautiful framework that actually uses PHP! It wants beautiful documentations too! GitHub deployment, hip conferences, minimalistic documentations, dependency manager, and rails like command line boiler plates, build-in database and rails-like authentication APIs... this is possibly the sexiest form of modern PHP possible.
MailChimp uses PHP for its blog and production environment
MailChimp crunched 30 million emails daily with PHP production environmentMailChimp team used PHP for almost everything development, even their blog, and definitely the production environment. 30 million emails were handled daily by the production environment programmed with advanced PHP frameworks and optimized with modern architecture. (2010 Source)
Accessible personal sites in a splash via cPanel and SQL database
Getting started with coding, just bought a domain and ready to set up your own site? Outsource the back-end to Parse for mobile or something fancy... or go old school and subscribe to a hosting service: generate a SQL database in the cPanel and connect it easily with the old and good connection.php with a bit of help of Filezilla and get your back-end in seconds. Unless your site goes viral... this may be just enough for your personal blog app, hackathon demo... etc.
Though not necessarily sexy, PHP is here to stay
Of course, popular APIs like MailChimp's API provides wrappers in many modern languages, not just PHP. Facebook was at first built with PHP, and of course still provides API access via PHP and other wrappers. The battle about how effective, efficient or NOT modern PHP is as a programming language is on-going, and often PHP is on the lower side of the balance, but it's definitely here to stay, it's supported in many cases. And yes being a PHP developer will not be out of a job ... yet.
Getting started with programming? May be start with PHP and then Ruby / Python to appreciate the more modern languages a whole lot better.