> 2) If we mean, "better" at cranking out dynamic web pages with a minimum
> of theory, infrastructure, ceremony, and magic then PHP stands almost
> alone (which is probably your point).
This is exactly what I was getting it. PHP is nice because you can just sprinkle a little bit on some raw (already existing!) HTML and then have some server-side magic on your website. I'm not talking about creating a web _app_, which seems to be the only thing anyone else considers a legitimate use case anymore.
I also see value in allowing non-developers to be able to do server-side processing on websites, without having to spend an inordinate amount of time learning largely superfluous concepts for their actual needs. PHP has never seemed amazing in that regard, due to some simple ways to shoot yourself in the foot (Remote File Inclusion being the biggest IMO)... but, it seems that there's no other language that even tries. It seems everything else targets either very low, or very high, with nothing much really even coming close to that middle ground.