For many, today marks the beginning of the Olympics. All eyes are on Beijing. But, 08/08/2008 also has some significance that many, unless they are web application developers, may miss.
Today is the official End Of Life for PHP 4.
Me and PHP go way back - pre-college, to my job at high school writing web applications. I used it to do minor things, but I tried to stick to Perl when I needed to do something on the site, and most of what I was doing at the time was VB6 anyways. I finally got serious about it when PHP4 was released while I was at Auburn. I wanted to write a gallery program for my website, and since Auburn didn’t let your run Perl scripts on the University web servers, my choices were Mivascript and PHP. I tried to implement what I wanted in Miva, but it was clearly inferior, so I hopped on my bike and rode down to the Hastings on Glenn and picked up a book on PHP.
It’s interesting when I look back on what a big deal that turned out to be. I got back to the dorm and started working on some scripts in PHP. I was able to get my gallery up and working in pretty short order. I started doing other things in PHP (I wrote an early blog feed on my site, abstracted out the headers and footers, wrote a quote listing tool, etc). Later on, I took another job at a local company doing graphic design at first (it was a foot in the door), but quickly moved into development in PHP when they needed some web application work done. This lead eventually to my move to Huntsville and my current full-time job doing software engineering.
Through all that, I got to witness the birth of PHP4. Its awkward early releases, its explosive growth, its fading and eventual replacement by the technically superior PHP5 and now finally its official death. And while I long ago moved to doing everything in PHP5 (currently 5.2), I’ll always be a touch nostalgic for the release that got my career started.