Goodbye PHP

Last night it occurred to me, I might never use PHP in a serious manner ever again. It’s bittersweet. No one is a bigger advocate for leaving PHP behind then me, but it was where it all started for me. I had played around with VB in grade school, but desktop programming never got to me like web programming. PHP was ready for me, meaning the metaphorical person who doesn’t know how to program but wants to learn. PHP has things in it, that after you learn a little bit, shouldn’t exist, but those are also the things that make it so easy for a beginner to get shit done, and feel good about themselves. My favorite example is something like file_get_contents (more). File get contents sounds like it should just open a file, and then give you the contents, and it can, but it can also open things across the network. $homepage = file_get_contents(‘http://www.example.com/');

If you have been a programmer for a while, and have never seen this feature, it might scare you a little. Like, there’s no check if the stuff was returned successfully, or not. To a beginner though this is such a wonderful piece of code. I learned how to use file*get*contents, before I knew what an API was. I would then hack at HTML with spliti( a case insensitive split, because there is also split which is case sensitive), until I got the piece of data I needed. I think that better tools will be created in the future. Things like YQL are great places to start.

Update:

In the comments someone asked what I would recommend instead of PHP on the server side. To be clear the reason I suggested YQL is that I think it can be a good intro to programming, a gateway drug if you will. PHP was there as kind of a stepping stool to other languages. If you had to pick a server side language I would say python, but I am not certain it’s awesome as a starter language.