As new opportunities in the web industry emerge, it is common for mature technologies such as PHP and MySQL (and previously Java and Microsoft's ASP.NET) to adapt more slowly than newer counterparts to the emerging trends.
While exciting, many of these opportunities seem distant and inaccessible to those only familiar with web-first technologies including HTML, CSS, and jQuery. Thankfully, there are numerous innovation that one can immediately take advantage of without committing a considerable amount of resources to learning a new language.
As traditional office applications flock to the cloud environment, other seemingly-impossible-on-the-web tools are making their way to the web as well. Online chatrooms no longer force plugin installations, and Skype and Hangout no longer exclusively require separate desktop applications as they can simply open their web browsers and join the conversation. It seems that the web recently has become a lot more capable with little to no third-party plugin dependence. WebSocket and WebRTC are at the forefront of making the web more real-time, and they do so by allowing two or more computers efficiently communicate using the web browser connection.
As web applications become more complex and resutantly time-consuming to troubleshoot, automation is no longer a foreign concept to web developers, but the learning curve remains steep. A team of developers may work together to write a suite of complex unit tests using Jenkins to see throw "programmatic curve balls" at the application and ensure that it does not break under various circumstances; similarly in case of websites, many developers rely on Selenium to "automate" browsers and view how the website functions across different platforms. Involving disparate products and different levels of abstraction as a result, this can be a frustrating experience.
Node.js may certainly be an appealing starting point for new web applications and startups, but the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack continues to enjoy market dominance and improve its own components to compete against newer technologies. According to W3Techs, PHP and Apache continued to absorb users from Microsoft and Oracle products, with their popularity peaking in the mid 2010s with the 80% market share.
Since the emergence of Node.js and other "host-your-application-without-server" services from as Google Cloud, developers have more options than ever --- but the market share yet seems unmoved: many attribute this to the ample supply of PHP experts, the popularity amongst open-source developers, and the PHP community's reception to recent web trends. PHP has traditionally been a target of criticism for inconsistent release cycles and slower performance compared to newer backend technologies, but things certainly took a turn with the introduction of PHP7: the language boasts much more consistent releases and performance equal to or better than Node.js and other competitors, and continues to evolve with concurrency optimization, WebSocket support, and more. In any case, the web ecosystem contniues to thrive with healthy competition between languages and ideas.