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Chris Hartjes' Blog: How Not to Suck at PHP

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 8 February 2012.
PHPDeveloper

In this recent post to his blog, Chris Hartjes answers his request for a "rant topic" by responding to a question about "how to not suck at PHP" (from Travis Northcutt).

I thought about this question for a while and have some thoughts on what it really means to know how to not suck at building things using PHP. In my never even remotely humble opinion I think the key is to understand what PHP is really good at.

He talks about how PHP had the early-adoption advantage at first with Apache, but how things have changed so much since then. Now, he proposes, PHP's popularity and usefulness is based on what it can do as a language without messing with frameworks at all. He's worried that, once someone picks up a framework, it'll become so ingrained that they won't know what "plain old PHP" can do (or how to work with it).

So my advice to Travis is that he should worry about learning to use PHP like glue and correctly identify the problems he is trying to solve NOW instead of worrying about the problems he might have to solve later. There will be time to fix your problems. Some of those will be solved by using tools that are not written in PHP, but PHP can still glue them together.