Today is a very special day: we celebrate 20 years since Rasmus Lerdorf announced PHP (Personal Home Page) Tools version 1.0 :) Two decades later, PHP is running 80% of the web and we have built such an amazing community around it! As suggested by Ben Ramsey in this blog post, I'd also like to tell my story with PHP.
It all started around 2002 / 2003 - by that time, I was already working for a few years as a system administrator. I was living with my brother and we didn't have a computer at home, but whenever I had some free time at work I would be working on blog templates - actually, blogging was the reason why I got interested in web development at first. I wanted to tweak my blog, so I started by copy/pasting a basic template into Dreamweaver to move things around and customize what I wanted. I started studying HTML and CSS.
I did manage to win the contest (I used to to some pretty neat blog templates in that time) and guess which book I chose? PHP of course, even though the book was a piece of outdated shit and many things in there wouldn't work well with the current PHP version at that time. But it was enough for me to get started, and move to online tutorials and the official documentation.
I really loved how everything was simple, and as I had studied C and shell script before (for sys admin stuff), it felt really really familiar to me, just much simpler. The first big "THIS IS AWESOME" thing I did was a form - it was magical! And file uploads, of course. Much awesomeness, such dynamic. Wow.
PHP brought me where I am today in my career and that's why I'm extremelly grateful for everyone who ever contributed to its core, documentation, or any open source project that I ever used that is based on PHP. I'm grateful for being part of such an amazing and supportive community. Also, I'm grateful for that people who managed to convince a certain young Rasmus to share his code publicly in 1995 :)
@erikaheidi yeah, others using it at the time convinced me to release it more publicly.— Rasmus Lerdorf (@rasmus) June 2, 2015
Thanks Rasmus for starting all this :)