I admit it, I’ve started writing all of my new projects in Node.js. Why? Because most of them are lightweight and I want them to be real time.
PHP can be a real pain when it comes to doing anything remotely real time. First off, it’s designed to execute as quickly as possible and send a response to the client, which is of course good. However, what is bad about that is that it doesn’t stay alive – it does its stuff and then dies. Node.js on the other hand runs in a single process, which stays running all the time. This is perfect for real time applications because you can fire off an event to Node.js and then (say, using Socket.io) update the client, instantly. To do this in PHP would be nigh on impossible, due to its ‘execute and die’ style.