Meeting the father of PHP programming language Rasmus Lerdof

One of our dreams, as code lovers, came true. We met Rasmus Ledorf.

PHP Summit is a conference where all PHP enthusiasts meet in a healthy and professional environment. IT personalities usually come and hold speeches about different things in PHP, such as new trends and good practices.

And guess who attended it?

After 400 kilometers of a windy and full of potholes road, we managed to reach Bucharest, the capital of Romania. We had some adventures along the road, though: a meal at Subway with some “good guys” who listened to dirty rap songs; over 100 notifications from Waze (police, potholes, accidents in front of us), and a heavy rain that kept us company for almost the entire journey. But it was fun.

The conference started with Rasmus, the creator of the PHP language. He presented a short history of the coding language and how he started the project with the intent of creating a templating engine (you have to remember that, back then, guys used C to write small CGI scripts – Rasmus was not happy with this). The project started to grow at an unprecedented scale; it got language constructs baked in and finally got where it is today.

Rasmus allocated a large part of his presentation to take questions. We asked him about how he feels when it comes to highly opinionated frameworks – for example, laravel – that have their own coding style and define a very strict structure for the project. He stated that he’s not a fan of frameworks – but we should use them if and only if they help us. We use Laravel to deliver our agile projects very fast to the client; it helps us a lot with scaffolding and such, so we agreed.

It all started on a Thursday afternoon. After waiting for almost 2 months for this conference to start, we finally packed our things and left the office around 15:00 PM. A long road was standing between us and Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP. Yes, Rasmus was one of the speakers at PHP Summit 2017.

After he finished the presentation, we asked Rasmus if he wouldn’t mind taking a picture with us. This was a dream come true! So much win! I suppose many admirers would kill for a photo with the creator of PHP.

While taking the photo, we discussed current projects – more specifically, Optymous, our back-end cool code generator. Again, Rasmus is not a framework guy – but he did understand our vision – to be able to help people with simple automation needs. As long as it was helpful, he said, the project is really nice.

Rasmus Lerdof with two men in a conference room
We did not wait for the presentation to be over – we uploaded our photo straight away on our slack channel – we wanted our coworkers’ opinions and, maybe, a little bit of geeky jealousy from them.

After our little talk with Rasmus, we enjoyed the rest of the conference. There we encountered other speakers, not as famous as Rasmus, but certainly interesting ones. The one who definitely got our attention was the kitten guy. He used a combination of GPS collars and PHP code to track his stray kittens. He needed to know where to look for them in order for him to give them their medication. He accomplishes this using PHP.

Another cool speaker was Georgiana Gligor. She taught us a little bit about the strategy that she applies when she’s building large-scale applications. Mostly tips and tricks that are really nice when dealing with the performance of a large application.

Rasmus is a very nice person with a keen interest in listening to the PHP community. The conference was a really nice place to learn and listen to how others use this great language.

We learned that there are no barriers to the use of this language, and this is why it has become so popular. We also learned that, although PHP has an ongoing myth that it is a slow language, this is not true. It is used by big brands and big names to deliver high performance.

We can’t wait for the next PHP Summit. Maybe next time Taylor Otwell (the creator of the laravel framework) will make a presentation. It would be very interesting to know why he created the framework the way it is now.

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