When comparing PHP vs Ceylon, the Slant community recommends PHP for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” PHP is ranked 32nd while Ceylon is ranked 37th. The most important reason people chose PHP is:
According to the [2015 Stack Overflow Developer Survey](http://stackoverflow.com/research/developer-survey-2015#tech) (26,086 people surveyed), PHP was the 5th most popular/used language at 29.7%.
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 Strong static typing, null safe and flexible, almost dynamic type system
The compiler prevents you from using a potentially null variable, unless you check it is not null. Ie. it forces you to check a potentially null value before using it.
The type system is strict, but flexible, allowing union and intersection of types, covariant and contravariant types, reified types, etc.
Type inference and union types allows a dynamic programming style, close of JS spirit.
It brings type safety to JS, allowing to define interfaces to existing JS APIs, yet using the
dynamic keyword for flexible calls in the JS ecosystem.
Pro Excellent IDE support
Ceylon has reified generics, so it doesn't loose the type of collections at runtime. This makes autocompletion, debugging, etc. first-class. The Eclipse plugin makes it a full-fledged Ceylon IDE, and an IntelliJ IDEA plugin is in the works.
Pro Great tutorial
Gavin King, main author of the language, has a great, clear technical writing style, making understandable difficult concepts like variance or sound type system.
Pro Try it out in the browser
It has a Web IDE: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/ with impressive demos: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/?gist=bd41b47f325b6d32514a so you can try it without installing anything, and see the JS generation / interop in action.
Pro Excellent documentation
The language specification is very complete and up to date; also, the language module is very well documented.
Pro Easy to learn even if you don't have prior programming experience
Ceylon is indeed fairly easy and readable. Of course those ones who know OOP and a bit of functional programming concepts will feel almost at home right from the start.
Pro Generate HTML
HTML generation is supported right in the SDK.
Pro Same code in backend and frontend
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 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 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 resources are poorly-written
Few resources exemplify the "correct" or secure use of features.
Con Lack of physical or electronic books
We should hope Red Hat or anyone interested would take the time and write one. That would strengthen the maturity of the language, but Ceylon is rapidly developing which can make the author's efforts futile because his or hers work will become obsolete soon.
The second hindrance is, of course, popularity of the language which can't give much to the pockets of the author (however, Dart's unpopularity at start didn't prevent it to have a lot of printed material, but that's Google's child, we know).
Con Currently has large runtime
Ceylon 1.2 needs a language runtime of 1.55 MiB, and the Collection library adds another 370 KiB. That's a lot for the Web...
Now, this has to be put in perspective: if you use Ceylon to make a web application, these files will be loaded once, then cached by the browser (that's not casual browsing).
Moreover, most servers compress such resource, and the numbers become respectively 234 KiB and 54 KiB, which is more reasonable...