int x = 'a';
cout << x;
will print 97;
Seriously, just because a language doesn't function the way you are used to, does not mean that it is broken...
PHP is a shit language.
We have === for this...if you change your way of thinking a bit you can actually code more quickly with loose typing (and yes, still keep things secure). Most of the arguments around PHP are something like "it doesn't work like this other language I'm familiar with".
Most of the arguments in here relate to complaining about the issues with most large open source projects, e.g. function naming conventions...while PHP has major issues in this regard (most notably how parameter order always flops around myFunc(haystack, needle), myFunc2(needle, haystack)...etc.) From my experience these sorts of things crop up in libraries / projects all the time, it is not unique to PHP.
The language as a whole really does allow for rapid prototyping, and quick updates, and cross platform support. Read efficient and profitable.