An Empirical Analysis of PHP in Open Source Applications
PHP is an open source scripting language mainly used for web development such as building websites. PHP is one of the most popular programming languages, and most websites are programmed using PHP. PHP is constantly evolving by adding and deprecating functions and syntactic features over time. Some of these features appear often in PHP applications, while some others are rarely used. This thesis examines the usage of PHP features in open source PHP applications in three parts. First, the appearance of PHP features in PHP files and applications is examined. It was found that most PHP features are present in almost all PHP files and applications, while some PHP features rarely appear in PHP applications. Second, the usage frequency of PHP features in PHP files and applications is examined. It seems that some PHP features are not used very frequently, even though they appear in almost all PHP applications. Lastly, differences in how PHP applications use the PHP language are examined. The examination shows major differences in the use of PHP in different PHP applications, and identifies clusters of PHP applications that use the language in similar ways. The analyses are carried out on a dataset of 20 well-known open source PHP applications, consisting of 51,871 PHP files with 9,501,386 lines of code. The dataset is analyzed using a parser written in the TXL source transformation language, which extracts and counts functions and syntactic features used in PHP applications. The analyses in the thesis aim to give PHP application developers and language designers a better understanding of the use of the PHP language in open source PHP applications, to better guide the rapid evolution of the language.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/23733
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