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I am a 15-year veteran of PHP and am still using it to build apps. Why? Because I have 15 years' of experience, and nothing surprises me anymore. I can fix nearly any bug in a very short time. Also, it's fast, mature, proven, and rock-solid, and I don't spend much time worrying about the surrounding infrastructure.

I haven't switched to Ruby personally yet because I am too busy to worry about having to spend hours/days dealing with issues that are new to me. OTOH I am allowing developers on my team to found new projects in Ruby since they already know the stack and I certainly have no aversion to learning new things.

PHP isn't a great language for applying the latest metaprogramming techniques and other modern patterns that make life easier. Although PHP 5.3 makes that much better with the addition of lambda, it's still tough to do certain types of patterns or write easily testable code in some circumstances. Mixins are also still a bit tricky since there's no language built-in for doing them.

However, some of the RFC's on grafts and traits are very promising in this regard, and frankly I think these patterns are better than doing the same in metaprogramming b/c the compiler can help you instead of delaying all errors to runtime.

In any case, if you don't already have lots of PHP experience I would recommend choosing a different language to build your knowledge base on. Ruby, python, clojure, javascript any of the other "hot" languages of today that attract lots of attention and offer a clear path in the future built on a solid foundation.

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