My question is: Is it ok, or even preferable, to use html instead of php when possible?
Why I ask: Wordpress seems to use php even for simple tasks, where old good html would do the job. Php code is not famous for its simplicity or readability. Besides this, I guess that all the unnecessary database requests make the serving of the web pages just a bit slower. So I wonder if there is a good reason, I can not think of, that WP prefers to use php instead of html. Example:
<div class="site-info"> <?php do_action( 'twentyfourteen_credits' ); ?> <a href="<?php echo esc_url( __( 'http://wordpress.org/', 'twentyfourteen' ) ); ?>"><?php printf( __( 'Proudly powered by %s', 'twentyfourteen' ), 'WordPress' ); ?></a>. Copyright ©<?php echo date( 'Y' ); ?> </div>
<div class="site-info"> <a href="http://wordpress.org">Proudly powered by WordPress</a>. Copyright ©2015 </div>
(I understand that in the example above, I have to change the year number once per year, and the text can't be translated, but this is IMO an acceptable trade off for nicer, faster code)