When comparing PHP vs Haxe, the Slant community recommends Haxe for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Haxe is ranked 28th while PHP is ranked 33rd. The most important reason people chose Haxe is:
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro One of the most common languages
According to the 2015 Stack Overflow Developer Survey (26,086 people surveyed), PHP was the 5th most popular/used language at 29.7%.
Pro Lots of tutorials online
Pro Used by most common CMS platforms
Many clients are looking for an easy-to-update web site that's flexible and free. Drupal and Wordpress fill those needs very well.
Pro Most prominent language for web applications
Part of the de facto standard web application stack.
Pro Great third-party package manager
PHP standard library is somewhat subpar, but if you need plugins, language features, composer has them all( you can even puzzle together a custom framework from composer).
Since 7.x was released, PHP has become a pretty fast language.
Pro Lots of PHP frameworks available which help with development
PHP people love frameworks, and with frameworks such as Laravel, you can build a web app or API really fast (Facades, ORMs, scaffolding etc.)
Pro Great documentation
Pro Compiles to multiple platforms and languages
Haxe allows you to develop for Web, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, OSX, Linux and others, all at once, without the need to switch languages and maintain separate code bases.
Support for even more platforms and languages is under development.
Pro Powerfully expressive but easy to learn
The language was designed to be very expressive with the smallest possible amount of syntactic sugar. There are actually fewer keywords than other languages with similar power.
Pro Pick up errors at compile time
Pro First class code completion
Code completion is built into the compiler and available to the IDE allowing for much smarter code completion that can actually parse and understand the syntax tree.
Pro Syntactic macros
Syntactic macros allow you to extend compiler features at the syntax tree step. Macros come into play after code is parsed into the abstract syntax tree, and macros allow you to transform it before the rest of the compilation completes.
This provides for immense power, while at the same time scoping the extensibility at a level that is powerful, but well constrained.
Pro Code reuse server side and client side
You can use the same classes on the server as you do on the client where applicable. This saves a lot of time.
Pro Extremely fast compilation
Haxe can easily compile over 100,000 lines of code to JS in seconds on a mid-spec computer.
Pro Ability to use existing JS libraries
Haxe has the ability to use "externs". These are haxe files which describe the usage of existing JS libraries. Get code completion and compile-time-checking for everything from jQuery to Node.js.
Even without externs, native JS code can still be used through untyped code.
Pro Small, readable output
The output that is generated can be trimmed using "dead code elimination" to only include those functions and libraries that are strictly necessary. All code is very readable with only minimal extras for specific functionality.
Small output is good for frontend development as file size is a major concern.
Pro Powerful type inference with strong typing
After a type is inferred from its context, it cannot be changed to a new type, and type safety is done at compile time so it stays safe without the extra maintenance required for static typing.
Pro Algebraic data types and pattern matching.
Pro Large library support. From servers to games.
Pro Established project
Haxe has been around for more than 10 years (since 2005) and whilst not the most popular project, has had continuous growth.
Highly unlikely to disappear or for support to stop.
Pro Friendly community
Pro Offload execution to the server with remoting
Using a remoting proxy you can get type safe server to client communications, allowing for remote method execution on the server as if they were part of the client side code.
Pro Package management like Java
Package tree is just directory tree, it's wonderful!
Pro Builtin conditional compilation support
Haxe supports conditional compilation, so depending on compiler flags Haxe will include or exlcude sections of your code. Making it easy to have debug and release builds.
Pro Abstract enums allow constants with exhaustiveness check
You can define constants in an abstract enum and when used in a switch/case statement Haxe checks for exhaustiveness, making sure every constant is covered - with no runtime implication.
Pro Type safety for exísting JS libraries
Haxe compiler will check types when using externs for existing libraries.
Pro Available in NPM
Pro Ability to skip type checking when calling non Haxe code
You should use externs when calling non Haxe code, but if you just need to call one or two external JS functions, you can skip type checking by calling untyped code.
Pro Create without needing to be limited to a language, target, or commercial ecosystem
Pro Abstracts allows me to create more intative api's without runtime overhead
Pro Can create complex applications without needing webpack, npm or other crutches
Haxe has the power and expression to not need the npm dependancy hell that is common in js and typescript, bit it's still simple.
Con Poorly designed language
Despite its widespread use, PHP is generally looked upon poorly from a design point of view. The consistency of function names and function argument order, lazily and borderline non-functional implementation of object oriented programming, can only receive requests via POST methods, slow version adoption (the PHP you learn right now may not work on every webserver you'll work on), and a focus on "hacking things together" rather than "doing it right". These are all very common complaints when it comes to working with PHP. While not a bad language to learn, PHP is not at all a good language to learn first, as it will probably teach bad habits.
Con Immense catalog of insecure frameworks
The most serious security problems in websites on the web today are almost universally found in popular PHP frameworks, CMS platforms, libraries and code samples, almost all stemming from poor language design, bad tutorials and awful resources.
Con Most tutorials are out of date
A lot of very bad tutorials are still widely circulated among beginners, and these tutorials teach very poor programming practices.
Con Most resources are poorly-written
Few resources exemplify the "correct" or secure use of features.
Con Interpreter being too permissive
If you forget the dollar sign, the variable name will be converted to a string.
Con Bad support in some popular IDEs
While it has great support in Visual Studio Code and Vim for example, it still lacks support in some IDEs such as IntelliJ.
Some popular libs like JQuery have maintained externs, for any specific code or lib already in JS you have to write the externs to use it in your haxe application.
Con No Qt support
There is currently no support for Qt.
Con Full programs only
You can create small utility functions with Haxe, but generally it is a lot more work than with other JS compilers. Haxe is best used when you have a larger project.