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Boston PHP Message Board › Why you should learn PHP...

Why you should learn PHP...

Michael B.
Boston, MA
Boston PHP'ers,

A few months ago I was asked to write a foreword for an upcoming PHP Programming Book by Rasmus Lerdorf (the creator of PHP), Peter Tatroe, and my good friend Peter B MacIntyre (whom I met while organizing Northeast PHP last year).

While writing it, I had a realization on what is so different about the PHP developer. I've been pondering this questions for years, and as I thought about all the people I have met. What they do, why they do, etc. I realized that PHP is merely a tool to build things. Since it is easy to learn and get started - interesting people get into it. PHP just attracts people who like to build things. Creative types who are driven with an idea, yet crazy enough to start on it. People I like to hang around with :)

Today I learned the book was published. If it were not for PHP I would not had this great opportunity. Proof that learning PHP pays off. If you are learning PHP, or want to move your skills foreword, then read this book. What are you waiting for?

Programming PHP : Third Edition : Foreword
When the authors first asked me if I’d be interested in writing a foreword for the third edition of this book, I eagerly said yes - what an honor. I went back and read the foreword from the previous edition, and I got overwhelmed. I started to question why they would ask me to write this in the first place. I am not an author; I have no amazing story. I’m just a regular guy who knows and loves PHP! You probably already know how widespread PHP is with applications like Facebook, Wikipedia, Drupal, and Wordpress. What could I add?

All I can say is that I was just like you not too long ago. I was reading this book to try and understand PHP Programming for the first time. I got into it so much that I joined Boston PHP (the largest PHP user group in North America) and have been serving as lead organizer for the past four years. I have met all kinds of amazing PHP developers, and the majority of them are self-taught. Chances are that you, like most PHP people I know (including myself), came into the language quite by accident. You want to use it to build something new.

Our user group once held an event where we invited everyone in the community to come and demonstrate a cool new way to use PHP. A realtor showed us how to create a successful business with an online virtual reality application that lets you explore real estate in your area with beautiful views of properties. An educational toy designer showed us his clever website to market his unique educational games. A musician used PHP to create music notation learning tools for a well-known music college. Yet another person demoed an application he built to assist cancer research at a nearby medical institution.

As you can see, PHP is accessible and you can do almost anything with it. It’s being used by people with different backgrounds, skill sets, and goals. You don’t need a degree in computer science to create something important and relevant in this day and age. With books like this one, communities to help you along, a bit of dedication, and some elbow grease, you’ll be on your way to creating a brand-new tool.

Learning PHP is easy and fun. The authors have done a great job of covering basic information to get you started and then taking you right through to some of the more advanced topics, such as Object Oriented Programming. So dig in, and practice what you read in this book. You should also look for PHP communities, or user groups, in your area to help you along and to get “plugged in.” There are also many PHP conferences going on in other parts of the world, as this list shows. Boston PHP, along with 2 other user groups, hosts a PHP conference each year in August. Come and meet some excellent folks (both Peter MacIntyre, one of the co-authors, and I will be there) and get to know them; you’ll be a better PHP’er because of it.

—Michael P. Bourque
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