Ever since I was a teen I’ve always been into computers but I was always more interested in setting up a business of my own. I wasn’t particularly interested in the nits and grits of developing applications and I could already assemble my own computer with parts, so what more did I need to know about computers, right? I just needed to sell them. Which is why I chose to study Marketing instead of Computer Science.
Flashback to 2004. I was eighteen and was running my own computer webshop with proprietory e-commerce software for a year now. During that time, my best friend Alex was studying ‘Graphimediatechnology’, a typical buzzword study where he attended a lot of courses related to developing front-end media applications.
One of these courses was PHP and I had heard about it before. Wasn’t that the thing that made websites *dynamic*? I was eager not to rely on the proprietory shopping software I was using and I was determined to create a webshop from scratch with Alex.
Turned out Alex wasn’t particularly driven in developing applications either (he later changed direction and he’s now finishing up on his construction studies) so I was basically stuck in using that crappy software.
On a rainy afternoon I took matters in my own hand and started reading PHP tutorials online. Surprisingly I was able to apprehend it quickly and had a basic CRUD website with MySQL running after 2 days.
This was awesome!!
I was finally able to build everything I ever wanted. I felt that the sky had no limits. I was able to transform my (plenty) ideas into something tangible within moments thanks to PHP.
Of course, my code looked horrible. It was quick and dirty and I totally didn’t put any efforts in creating a sustainable code base. I stumbled on every project I did and I gradually improved.
Eventually I dropped out of business school and interviewed for my first fulltime PHP job at MediaMedics. They liked me and my drive, but they were worried about my skills as I had no clue about any of the OO stuff in PHP5. I said: “give me 3 days” and I learned everything I needed to know about OOP that weekend and showed off a OO-based numbers game on Monday. I got the job and it was the beginning of an even steeper learning curve. After 2 years I was running my own startup and now here I am in San Francisco with a funded startup and all.
PHP is awesome for me. It isn’t considered a “real” language by many and it’s full of API inconsistencies (why the hell doesn’t implode() has the same needle haystack order as explode()..??) but you know, I really don’t care. I get shit done in PHP. I guess my lack of interest in general Computer Science is the reason why I’m not really interested in the “Art of Programming” itself, I just use it as a tool to ship, which is ultimately the most important thing for me.
So here’s to the PHP Misfits. The pragmatic ones who would pick up anything – even double-clawed hammers - to build their own future. Often ridiculed and belittled by the hip guys in class who write cool code in ruby or python, but always the ones who just *get shit done*. They are many. You can’t ignore them, they’re determined to change the world. Even if it means writing in PHP.