Developing software in the Real World

20 years of PHP

Today marks 20 years since PHP was released by Rasmus Lerdorf and Ben has been asking for how we started our PHP journey.

My first use of PHP was to write a website for an online computer gaming guild for EverQuest, back in 1999. A friend recommended it when I asked him how people programmed webpages in something other the C! That first website is still going and I’m not proud of the code. I’m very proud that it’s still going strong and running on PHP 5.6 and has had some very minor updates for PHP version changes:

Oh yeah – I also fixed the SQL inject and XSS vulnerabilities!

That’s quite a short list to make a PHP 3 application run on PHP 5.6! Of course, it’s not object oriented, so I bypassed the upgrade pain there and it doesn’t follow the latest best practices.

That PHP website also led to my first job in the web industry as I was headhunted from my job programming Windows applications. My first commercial website was an internal business application for sales tracking in an Internet hosting company. I’ve mostly staying in internal business applications and B2B apps ever since!

Of course, the way I write in PHP has changed considerably over the years. My first application was HTML pages with PHP where I needed it. I developed a library of procedural functions and moved most of my PHP code into .inc files. My first framework was Fusebox 4, which I first used in 2005. It was a procedural framework, but was a genuine Front Controller and encouraged separation of concerns. When I was ready to replace it with an OOP framework, Zend Framework had been announced and I jumped onto it…

PHP was built from day one for the web and, for me, it’s still the best tool for the job!

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