History of PHP
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History of PHP

The following lines will describe briefly the history of PHP. Going from scratch to version 5 and soon 6, you'll learn what did each version added to the language and who developt it. If you wish to learn the basis of PHP regarding its history this is the right place. We'll start by saying who invented PHP, who modified it and what it became afterwards. Then we'll be talking about what is happening today regarding PHP.

The beginning:

Like most open source projects, PHP has been created by someone who wanted to push further his personal interests in coding and who's will and passion were great enough to make it happen.  PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf and was at first developt to collect information about the visitors who came on his website. PHP was only used by Lerdorf the year it was released. In the beginning, PHP meant Personal Home Page. It's only in 1995 that the PHP project became open source, making it available to everyone. PHP was then called Hypertext PreProcessor. The language was very easy to learn and, thanks to many others who wanted to contribute in the making of a better PHP, it began to add new features rapidly. The project became international very quickly.

In 1996, there was 15,000 websites that were using PHP. A year later, 50,000 websites were using it. That is when Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans decided to rewritte PHP from A to Z. This new version is called PHP 3.

After this huge step that PHP made, the developers got back into coding in order to make a greater language out of PHP. Instead of processing one instruction at a time, it has been decided that PHP should do it differently than other languages. This is where the idea of "compiling" the code before executing it appeared. These updates took place in Zend Engine, whos nowadays the true center of PHP 4. This new version of Hypertext PreProcessor came out in 2000. The integration of Zend Engine in PHP 4 increased the language's performance and made it more flexible. PHP also became independant from the "web servers" making it compatible to most systems.

Still based on Zend Engine (new generation: version 2), PHP 5 appeared in 2004. The new version was mostly aiming at fix or add what was missing in PHP. As you're reading this (article written in 2012), PHP 6 is currently being developt. This 6th version will normally be perfectly compatible with all the Internationalisation module (I18N).

And where are we today ?

Zeev Suraski founded Zend Technologies (www.zend.com). This firm offers and sells softwares based on PHP:

  • Zend Encoder makes your scripts PHP invisible.
  • Zend Accelerator that accelerates your PHP scripts with a cache system.
  • Zend IDE is a tool allowing you to developt PHP in a more convinient way.

The Zend firm also offers free but not open source product: the Zend Optimizer. It's a library that can optimize your code when it is being executed.

The cycle of PHP is now considered as launched and no one knows where it will stop. Every months or so, conventions about the language take place. Thousands of websites, hundreds of books and e-books and plenty of magasins dedicate their content exclusivily to PHP.

Let's end our article with some numbers that should really impress you about PHP. Over 1,000,000 web servers and almost 26,000,000 websites are running with PHP. And of course, there's one website that really shows the effciency of PHP since it is the most visited website: Facebook.

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