In the early 2000s, I was studying at the University of Cape Town. My undergraduate degree was initially computer science, then information systems, and during that time I learned multiple programming languages, Java and C++ were the main ones. While I enjoyed the structured nature of C and the libraries of Java, to me it was a frustrating experience, in particular, the (at the time) long compile times on KDE, and the endless debugging after compile time. While I enjoyed creating something from nothing in code, I didn’t find it by any means to be “fun”.
Eventually, I moved over to C# during my postgraduate degree on advice from one of my lecturers, and there I found that C# balanced fun and structure really well, and to this day it’s still my favourite language – but it’s not the most fun I’ve had 🙂
Towards the end of my postgraduate degree, I encountered PHP. A few classmates were developing their year-end project in PHP and they showed me how quickly you could get up and running, and with NO COMPILE TIME, I was sold.
PHP quickly became my choice of language, and while some folks mock it for not being a “real” language – whatever that means – it can be strongly typed and structured if you choose – but more importantly, PHP has enabled the innovation and explosion of the web, largely through projects like WordPress, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, and Laravel. These projects all had a low barrier to entry and made writing software accessible to the masses.
Hacking away through a PHP file, mixing classes and inline code, functional and object orientation, and discovering the joys of MVC frameworks – you could really move fast and break things.
I still love PHP, it’s going to be around for a long long time 🙂 It’s just so.much.fun!