20 Years of PHP

On June 8th, became 20 years old.

I am a bit sad that this date passed by me without me realising. It was only as I read Davey Shafik's blog earlier this week that I realised.

I first encountered PHP in my first year of university in 2011. We were given a dummy e-commerse site that we were then given 2 weeks to add a number of different functions to, for example, list items from a database and be able add them to a basket.

If I was to do the coursework now, I would get 100% on in it an hour or 2.

But at the time, we were given just two lectures and the time in between to learn PHP, how sessions work, how to embed it into HTML, how to interact with the database etc. on top of all the other courseworks and lectures of other modules.

I hated it. It was probably due the fact that I didn't have the time to fully get my head around it. I was working against the clock here and Notices and Errors were becoming the bane of my life. And sessions! Don't get me started on sessions.

I remember at that time I said to my friend, "I hate PHP. After this coursework, I never want to code in PHP again".

About a month later, I secured a placement a firm where one of my primary roles would be coding in PHP.

That summer was several months long after I finished my exams that year. I decided I should really learn PHP properly if I was going to do it as my job.

So aided with the resources from University and the Internet, I built and launched Universesite. I should note that it looks a lot different from the day it launched and will probably look a lot different in the future.

This time I was able to take each error I got and understand why it was happening. I was able to grasp all the concepts of connecting to a database, combining with HTML to show dynamic pages on the screen and sessions!

At the time, it was the best thing I had made. I look back now and see how dirty it was. No objects, no MVC, just one page of code and HTML.

I started my job a little more confident about PHP. However, just hours into my new role, I learnt that I knew nothing (Jon Snow).

I remember seeing the -> notation on my first day and asking what it was. "Its for calling functions and properties of objects". What?! PHP does classes and objects?!

The rest was history.

They say that 80% of all websites are powered by PHP. It is amazing to wonder where would the web be if PHP hadn't existed. Would more server side languages have sprung up?


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