Updated October 26, 2023
Father of PHP: Creation
Rasmus Lerdorf created the programming language PHP. He is often referred to as the “father of PHP” because he originally created PHP in 1994 as a set of tools to help him manage his personal homepage. PHP originally stood for “Personal Home Page,” but it later evolved into a recursive acronym that now stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.”
Rasmus Lerdorf’s initial work on PHP was a set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries written in the C programming language that enabled basic web functionality, such as form processing. Over time, others contributed to the development of PHP, and it gradually evolved into a server-side scripting language used for web development.
Table of Contents
- Father of PHP: Creation
- PHP Tools and Libraries
- PHP/FI to PHP
- Example PHP – FI Code
- PHP 3.0: A New Beginning
- The PHP 4 Revolution
- PHP 5: A Leap Forward
- PHP 6 and UNICODE
- PHP 7
- PHP 8
- Release History
PHP Tools and Libraries
Many contributors to the PHP ecosystem have developed various tools, libraries, and frameworks that have played a significant role in the PHP community. Some of these notable contributions include:
- Zend Framework (now Laminas): The Zend Framework, initially developed by Zend Technologies, played a crucial role in the PHP world. It was a popular and powerful open-source framework for building web applications.
- Symfony: Symfony is a high-performance PHP framework created by Fabien Potencier. PHP provides widely used reusable components and libraries for web apps.
- Composer: Composer is a dependency management tool for PHP. Nils Adermann and Jordi Boggiano created it, and it has become an essential tool for PHP developers to manage and install libraries and packages.
- PHPUnit: PHPUnit, developed by Sebastian Bergmann, is a widely used testing framework for PHP. It has greatly contributed to the practice of test-driven development (TDD) in the PHP community.
- Twig: Twig is a popular template engine for PHP created by Fabien Potencier. It is used for separating logic from presentation in web applications.
- PHP-FIG (PHP Framework Interoperability Group): The PHP-FIG is not a library or tool but a group of PHP framework authors and developers who work on defining standards to ensure interoperability between different PHP frameworks and libraries. This initiative has greatly improved code reuse and compatibility within the PHP ecosystem.
Numerous individuals and projects contributing essential roles have developed and evolved the PHP ecosystem. They have provided a diverse range of tools, libraries, and best practices that have helped PHP grow into a powerful and versatile web development platform.
The Transition: PHP/FI to PHP
The transition from PHP/FI (Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter) to PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) marks a significant milestone in developing PHP as a programming language for web development. PHP/FI was the original project created by Rasmus Lerdorf in the early 1990s, eventually evolving into PHP. Here’s an overview of this transition:
1. PHP/FI (Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter)
- Rasmus Lerdorf initially created PHP/FI in 1994 as a set of tools to help him manage his personal homepage.
- PHP/FI was a collection of Perl scripts that he used to handle common web tasks like logging website visitors and processing forms.
- It was a simple toolset for managing personal websites and basic web functionality, but it needed more features and structure for broader web development.
2. Development of PHP
- Over time, Rasmus Lerdorf decided to extend and rewrite his toolset to make it more usable.
- In 1995, he released PHP/FI 2.0, which included significant enhancements and additional features.
- He continued developing PHP, which gradually evolved into a more comprehensive and powerful scripting language for web development.
3. PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)
- As PHP continued to evolve, it became more than just a set of tools for managing personal web pages. Rasmus Lerdorf extended its capabilities to create a more general-purpose scripting language for web development.
- PHP gained features like support for many databases, more advanced data handling, and better integration with web servers.
- PHP 3.0 was released in 1998 as “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor,” a full-fledged scripting language.
- This transition marked the point at which PHP became a popular choice for building dynamic websites and web applications.
Example PHP – FI Code
PHP/FI (Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter) was the original precursor to the modern PHP language. It was primarily used for simple web tasks and was quite different from the PHP language we use today. Here’s a very basic example of PHP/FI code:
$name = "Diego";
$age = 32;
echo "<p>Hello, my name is $name and I am $age years old.</p>";
In this example, PHP/FI embeds PHP code within HTML. Here’s what this code does:
- It’s an HTML document with a simple structure.
- Inside the <body> of the HTML, you see the PHP/FI code enclosed within <?php … ?> tags.
- Two variables are defined within the PHP/FI code: $name and $age. These variables are assigned values: “Diego” and 32, respectively.
- The echo statement is used to output a message within the HTML content. It displays the values of the $name and $age variables within the <p> tag.
PHP 3.0: A New Beginning
PHP 3.0 marked a pivotal moment in the language’s evolution, signifying a significant departure from its origins. Released in 1998, it shed the acronym “PHP/FI” and embraced the name “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.” This version introduced numerous transformative features that elevated PHP into a powerful server-side scripting language. PHP 3.0 supported a broader range of databases, handled forms and data more effectively, and integrated more seamlessly with web servers. Its support for multiple platforms, web servers, and databases made it accessible to a wider audience. PHP 3.0’s open-source nature encouraged a growing community of developers to contribute to its expansion, ultimately leading to its status as one of the world’s most widely used web development languages. This new beginning laid the foundation for the robust and versatile PHP ecosystem we know today.
The PHP 4 Revolution
PHP 4, released in 2000, brought about a revolutionary transformation in the PHP programming language. This version introduced several critical features that bolstered PHP’s capabilities and solidified its position as a prominent server-side scripting language for web development. Key advancements included the introduction of the Zend Engine, which significantly boosted performance and allowed for a more modular and extensible architecture. PHP 4 also incorporated support for a wider array of web protocols, improved object-oriented programming capabilities, and enhanced data handling functions.
Additionally, it featured enhanced support for databases, including MySQL. These changes made PHP more versatile and capable, enabling the development of dynamic and interactive websites and web applications. The PHP 4 revolution greatly expanded PHP’s user base and cemented its status as a leading choice for web developers, setting the stage for further growth and evolution in subsequent versions.
PHP 5: A Leap Forward
PHP 5, released in 2004, marked a significant leap forward in the evolution of the PHP language. It brought numerous enhancements and modernizations, greatly expanding PHP’s capabilities and performance. The most notable addition was the introduction of full support for object-oriented programming (OOP) and the Zend Engine 2, which delivered substantial performance improvements. PHP 5 also included new features like interfaces, exceptions, and improved memory management, making it a more robust and reliable language for complex web applications.
It introduced the SimpleXML extension for efficient XML processing and the filter extension for data filtering and validation. These changes made PHP 5 a more versatile and developer-friendly language, enabling the creation of large-scale, maintainable applications. With improved support for databases, including the introduction of the MySQLi extension, PHP 5 was a significant leap that solidified PHP’s position as a top choice for web development.
PHP 6 and UNICODE
PHP 6 and Unicode represent significant advancements in web development. PHP 6, a major version of the popular server-side scripting language, is designed to be more robust, secure, and efficient. It offers improved performance, better support for modern web standards, and enhanced developer tools.
On the other hand, Unicode is a character encoding standard that enables the representation of a vast range of characters from different languages and symbol sets. PHP 6’s integration with Unicode means developers can easily work with diverse character sets and handle internationalization and localization more effectively. This ensures that language barriers do not limit web applications and can provide a more inclusive and accessible user experience.
Developers can create web applications that are more versatile, globally accessible, and equipped to handle the diverse needs of an increasingly interconnected world with PHP 6 and Unicode.
PHP 7 is a major version of the PHP programming language that brings several vital improvements and enhancements to the PHP ecosystem. Released in December 2015, PHP 7 introduced significant performance boosts, making web applications run much faster and more efficiently. This was achieved by implementing Zend Engine 3.0, which brought about optimizations and reduced memory consumption.
PHP 7 also introduced new language features, such as scalar type declarations, return type declarations, and the “spaceship” operator, which improved code quality and maintainability. It also deprecated and removed outdated and insecure features, encouraging developers to write more secure and modern code.
Overall, PHP 7 represented a substantial leap forward for PHP, making it a more competitive and capable language for web development. This version helped websites and web applications perform better and provided developers with better tools for creating robust and efficient code. It laid the foundation for further enhancements in later PHP versions.
PHP 8, released in November 2020, brought significant improvements to the popular server-side scripting language. One of its key features is the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler, which enhances performance significantly. Union types have been introduced, enabling a parameter or return type to accept multiple data types, thereby enhancing code clarity.
Named arguments enable developers to pass values to functions based on parameter names, improving readability. Attributes, similar to annotations in other languages, simplify metadata management in the codebase. The introduction of match expressions offered a concise and readable alternative to the traditional switch statement.
PHP 8 also introduced the nullsafe operator, making it more convenient to handle null values. Constructor property promotion reduces boilerplate code when defining classes. The standard library saw additions such as the Stringable interface, providing a consistent way to implement string conversion in objects.
Error handling improved with the introduction of the throwable interface, allowing better control over exceptions. Additionally, PHP 8 enhanced the consistency and reliability of the language, making it more powerful and developer-friendly for building modern web applications.
|Rasmus Lerdorf created the initial version of PHP/FI. It was a set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries for creating simple web applications.
|Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans significantly changed the PHP parser, improving its overall functionality. PHP 2 offered enhanced web development support.
|PHP 3 introduced the name “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” and brought significant enhancements, including support for various databases, session management, and a more modular architecture.
|PHP 4 was a significant leap in terms of performance and features, with the introduction of the Zend Engine offering a considerable speed boost.
|PHP 5 brought major object-oriented programming (OOP) enhancements, including a revamped object model, exceptions, and improved performance.
|PHP 6 was initially in development but was abandoned in favor of PHP 5.3 due to Unicode-related challenges.
|PHP 7 introduced significant performance improvements with the Zend Engine 3.0 and features like scalar type declarations, return type declarations, and the “spaceship” operator.
|PHP 8 delivered additional performance gains with a JIT compiler, along with new features like union types, named arguments, attributes, and more.
Conclusion – Father of PHP
Rasmus Lerdorf, widely recognized as the father of PHP, laid the foundation for modern web development. His creation of PHP/FI in 1995 paved the way for a versatile and powerful scripting language that has become a cornerstone of the internet. PHP’s evolution under his guidance and contributions from the open-source community has transformed web development, enabling dynamic, interactive websites and applications. Rasmus Lerdorf’s legacy as the PHP pioneer endures, catalyzing the digital landscape’s growth and innovation.
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