By Craig Buckler

PHP is Fifteen Today!

By Craig Buckler

PHP was released by Rasmus Lerdorf on June 8, 1995. His original usenet post is still available online if you want to examine a computing artefact from the dawn of the web. Many of us owe our careers to the language, so here’s a brief history of PHP…PHP originally stood for “Personal Home Page” and Rasmus started the project in 1994. PHP was written in C and was intended to replace several Perl scripts he was using on his homepage. Few people will be ancient enough to remember CGI programming in Perl, but it wasn’t much fun. You could not embed 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.PHP 4.0 was released on May 22, 2000. It provided rudimentary object-orientation and addressed several security issues such as disabling register_globals. Scripts broke, but it was relatively easy to adapt applications for the new platform. PHP 4.0 was an instant success and you’ll still find it offered by web hosts today. Popular systems such as WordPress and Drupal still run on PHP 4.0 even though platform development has ceased.Finally, we come to 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. Long may it continue.

tip: Do you want to learn PHP?

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  • Hds

    Happy birthday!
    I hope you’ll begin to act mature now.

  • Muhammad Yoosuf

    Happy birthday PHP, now you have become little matured with the help of Zend Framework, wish you all the best


  • Happy Birthday PHP! without you I probably wouldn’t have become a programmer.

    PHP has provided a solid foundation for server-side programming and web application development for the past 15 years

    And provided me with an income for 5 years!

  • Gaurav Mishra

    Happy Birthday
    Pe Hatch Pe..
    kidding lolz

  • Naresh Sikhwal

    Many many happy returns of this day….
    Hope you to be blessed, and be the leader…

  • A Suresh Kumar

    Happy Birthday PHP.
    Be a Leader in web platform

  • programmer-mood

    Happy Birthday Lovely PHP :)

  • veedee

    Please change Ramsmus to Rasmus on the third paragraph :)

  • Omar

    Happy birthday PHP.

  • dieq41

    Happy Birthday, thanks to Rasmus Lerdorf! and all developer team..

  • Wish PHP will come up with lots of new features in next version(s) in coming year. Just waiting…..!!!

    • Salathe

      There are numerous amazing new features already implemented in the code base since the last release (and great ones in recent releases), lots still being worked on and I’m sure many new ideas that haven’t been considered yet (and old ones that might have had some pondering) that might come our way. If you have an idea that you would really, really like to see then why not submit a feature request?


    Happy birthday PHP.. I love you full.. :)

  • LOL @ Hds

  • vishal shah

    My warm wishes to Rasmus Lerdorf for developing such a language.thanks

  • mak diose

    Happy Birthday PHP . Thanks to you Sir Rasmus, Zeev and Andi.
    I owe to you my career. Greeting from the Philippines. More power to PHP.

  • AllanH

    NetNerd85 here-here.

    Php opened up a whole new world for programmers its easy, fun and MySql rocks. Correct me if I’m wrong but we would not have a database if it wasn’t for php?

    • Databases existed long before PHP. So yes we would have MySQL and other databases without PHP.

      • Although would MySQL have achieved it’s popularity without PHP’s influence?

  • Mandeep Singh

    Happy Bday PHP

  • pcdinh

    Happy birthday. PHP is the greatest language ever designed for the web.

  • Tobias

    “Happy Birthday, PHP!” and “Thank you, Rasmus!”

  • Wish you a long life

  • Milan

    Happy Birthday PHP . Wish u a long life ! :)

  • Abhijeet

    Happy Bday PHP
    just rock over rest things…

  • Pradeep K Gupta.

    Happy Birthday PHP. Without you I would have not been where I am right now in my life.

  • Benjamin L.

    Happy Birthday, following you since 99 with pure happiness (BTW PHP has been criticized over the years by tech folks who can’t understand that easiness doesn’t mean “for dummies only” – same for WordPress now – despite of that, seems that’s the n°1 language and long before having framework).

  • Darren884

    Happy Birthday to you PHP you gave me a purpose! PHP is what I do now everyday!

  • php4life

    10 years ago, my first professional job featured php. 10 years later and it’s still going strong. I remember my friend’s bagging me out about my choice of this technology, but every year after I graduated I asked the younger student’s; what’s installed on the uni servers? what are you doing your assignments with? PHP was the common response. PHP won the developers, that is why it has longevity.

    Viva PHP!

  • Suresh P

    Wishing you a very happy birthday “PHP”!
    You are the BEST in web platform forever!…

  • David

    “Few people will be ancient enough to remember CGI programming in Perl”

    Thanks a lot! I certainly don’t feel old let alone “ancient”.
    Not to mention our team still uses a lot of Perl – both legacy code and new code/crons to parse and process huge text files on the server.

    “, but it wasn’t much fun. You could not embed code within HTML and development was slow and clunky.”

    You’re right – it was not a lot of fun, and could be slow and clunky.
    You can embed your HTML into the Perl however :
    print <<HtmlEnd;
    html mark up

    It may have had it's limitations, but generally people needed to hire a programming expert to get their site off the ground, and they would need to pay accordingly.
    Now with crappy PHP code, WYSIWYG editors, point and click hosted web solutions the client thinks your skills are devalued and often say they can simply "do it themselves".

    • OK, it’s me who’s the ancient one! And I don’t mean to be hard on Perl – it’s a great language. But although it was adopted by many CGI coders, the language was designed before the web existed. To be fair, CGI was the primary problem – PHP made everything so much easier.

  • Adil Shahzad

    Happy Birthday to “PHP” :)


  • Ejay Imperial

    Happy birthday PHP and thank you Rasmus, Gutmans and Zeev!!

  • LesleyB

    +1 with David here
    I get really irritated by people dissing Perl/CGI programming and Perl itself -particularly with the ‘ancient’ routine. Perl/CGI did a lot of good work in the early years, is still relevant now and you’ve completely ignored FastCGI.
    There are plenty of good Perl resources out there, not least of all CPAN and plenty of MVC frameworks such as Catalyst and — oo look! — CGI::Application.
    Movable Type can be installed to operate in either a mod_perl or CGI environment,
    CGI::Ajax is alive and well on CPAN.
    OO programming exists in Perl..
    So before you diss either Perl or Perl/CGI bear in mind it is still going strong – Perl 5.12 is out this year and Perl 6 continues to bubble on in the background.
    One reason PHP became popular is because mod_php could be installed on Apache servers and become available for use for all domains hosted by the server without further ado. The second reason was avoidance of the nitty gritty of secure programming practices for web-based data. The first was a plus for many web service providers and the second a plus for people who couldn’t be bothered to study and comprehend the problems created by insecurely processed form data.
    Perl’s taint mode forces data verification.
    One UK based web service company, providing PHP4 across all its machines got very badly caught by the severe security issues presented by register_globals to the point where most of its customer base couldn’t log in to attempt to preserve their accounts. The polite bleat about PHP5 became a notice about not using register_globals and an imminengt upgrade to PHP5.
    As for not being able to embed Perl into a web page – what about HTML::Template at and Template Toolkit at ?

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