My PHP Story

My PHP Story

In an attempt to help people understand you won’t learn everything overnight, I would like to share with you, my story. This story starts in the early 1990s. I hope this is a post that everyone can read and understand.

My Programming History

One of my neighbor’s, his dad was a programmer, and they had a computer. We were getting on the internet before a lot of people even heard about it. We were doing this before AOL, CompuServe, Juno, and other dial-up providers. My friend’s dad would also show us how to write BASIC, and we were hooked. They had a book of programs, so we would type them into the computer and play those games. Most of the time we would have a typo and spend our time trying to find it.

My love for programming continued into middle school and high school. In high school, I started learning ASP and helped a friend program the school’s website. It was an AccessDB driven site using OBDC to connect, and it was awe-inspiring.

ASP was okay, but I wanted to learn more, so I started learning PHP.

Starting PHP

I started with PHP 4, and I’m still using PHP today. Don’t worry; I have upgraded since then.

At first, PHP seemed rather confusing and complicated, but I kept writing. I’m sure my PHP was terrible then, but that didn’t matter; it was important that I kept writing it. I probably did everything the way you shouldn’t do it, and that’s okay. Write it, so you understand it, and if it works, that is awesome!

I occasionally found myself trying to write PHP that would write my PHP. Or I wanted to make it way too dynamic. I think these are common signs that you are making it more complicated than it needs to be. There is usually a rather simple elegant solution; it’s sometimes hard to see it, so you may need to take a break if you’re stuck.

PHP Today

PHP has come a long way. It has come further than I ever imagined it would. Don’t take that as a poke against PHP; it felt as if it slowed down a little bit for a little while, but it has picked up the pace.

A lot of the sites I work on that are in production are running PHP 5.6, some are running PHP 7.0, and some are running PHP 7.1. There haven’t been very many functions deprecated in the new versions, but it can still be difficult to upgrade all your sites to the latest version. While anything may be possible, not everything is feasible or ideal.

The community has pulled together to improve every aspect of this beautiful language. We have some great frameworks, package management, and some helpful resources for learning. I imagine more things are to come, and I’m excited to see what they are.

Conclusion

Covering CompuServe and Juno brought back some memories. We had CompuServe as our ISP, and we would use Juno for email. We would dial into BBS’s (Bulletin Board Systems) and send each other messages or play games. In my lifetime we have gone from 56K dial-up modems to gigabit internet at home. To give you a better idea, 56K would download at 56,000 bits per second and gigabit internet will download at 1,000,000,000 bits per second.

I’ve learned other programming languages along my journey, and I encourage you to do the same once you feel comfortable with one. While learning another language, it helped me change the way I think and improved my overall programming skills.

I’ve had a couple of programming mentors while I was learning to program and it helped, but it can also hold you back. If you don’t try, and immediately ask for help, you won’t learn as fast as you can. Don’t rush, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.

Of course, if you need help, please feel free to email me. I’ll do my best to help you.