Originally announced on Usenet, the origination of PHP was posted by Rasmus Lerdorf on June 8, 1995. After posting on the newsgroup comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi, it created and still maintains careers dedicated to the language.
PHP originally stood for “Personal Home Page” and Rasmus started the project in 1994. Written in Cm it was intended to replace several Perl scripts that were being developed and used on his homepage. The alternative before was to do CGI programming in Perl, which was tedious. Embedded code within HTML and development was slow and clunky.
Rasmus added his own Form Interpreter and other C libraries including database connectivity engines. PHP 2.0 was born on this day 15 years ago. PHP had a modest following until the launch of version 3.0 in June 1998. The parser was completely re-written by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski; they also changed the name to the recursive “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor”.
Critics argue that PHP 3.0 was insecure, had a messy syntax, and didn’t offer standard coding conventions such as object-orientated programming. Some will quote the same arguments today. However, while PHP lacked elegance it made web development significantly easier. Programming novices could add snippets of code to their HTML pages and experts could develop full web applications using an open source technology which became widely installed by web hosts.
More recently, PHP 5.0 which was released on July 13, 2004. The language featured more robust object-orientated programming plus security and performance enhancements. The uptake has been more sedate owing to the success of PHP 4.0 and the introduction of competing frameworks such as ASP.NET, Ruby and Python.
PHP has its inconsistencies and syntactical messiness, but it’s rare you’ll encounter a language which can be installed on almost any OS, is provided by the majority of web hosts, and offers a similar level of productivity and community assistance. Whatever your opinion of the language, PHP has provided a solid foundation for server-side programming and web application development for the past 15 years.
In fact, ThunderNews.com uses the language today to run and maintain many features of both our website and blog. Happy Birthday, PHP!