Tuesday, June 9. 2015
So Ben suggested we'd all post our history with PHP to celebrate it's 20th birthday, so I am happy to oblige, although I am one day late.
In 1998 I started freelancing for a web agency in Munich, doing mostly ASP work. I was very fond of ASP, since it was probably the last technology I could master without looking anything up—not a surprise if you only have 36 properties and methods. As you might imagine, I quickly hit the limitations of the technology, so I started looking around and found out about PHP. In mid-1999, in a very bold move, I convinced the CTO to buy the only German PHP book at that time and to try out this technology for certain customers. The main customer back then was Compaq, and we even managed to sneak some PHP into their ASP-based web site, but that's a different story, and completely unrelated to HP buying Compaq later on
PHP proved to be very well suited for what we needed, the only issue was that many of the developers used Windows, and as such were considered lower beings by part of the PHP core team then. Every time I meet Frank M. Kromann I buy him a drink, since the PHP project never released a Windows version of version 3.0.18. I had issues compiling it, so he helped me out and sent me a binary he built. I still can't believe that I put a binary from an external source on a critical web server, but at least the release fixed something we needed.
I started speaking at around 2000, first on ASP, but then moved to PHP which I was doing more and more for work. After doing some German conferences I applied for PHPCon in Milbrae in fall of 2002 and, shockingly, was accepted. I had written a book for SAMS Publishing that was due to come out a few weeks after the conference, so I stopped by the SAMS booth (they were sponsoring) and introduced myself. This made me part of a few days that all that were there will never forget, including an over-the-top dinner, and a visit to Puppetry of the Penis. I met Rasmus (Lerdorf), John (Coggeshall), and Shane (Caraveo) there for the first time, and Luke (Welling), Laura (Thomson), and Andrei (Zmievski) at the next PHPCon in the spring of 2003 in New York City (where we all wanted to get a tattoo—another story). Looking back it's just amazing for how long we have known each other, and how many of us are still part of the same family, the PHP community. I started speaking more and more, including two OSCONs and several ApacheCons. Of all the conferences of that time my favorite one was probably ApacheCon in December of 2005 in San Diego. Two weeks before Christmas, warm temperatures, and Java. Lots of it. Chris Shiflett even dubbed the conference "Javapachecon". The only exception—the Gallic village, so to speak—was a set of PHP-related sessions by Adam (Trachtenberg), Andrei, Chris, Rasmus, Theo (Schlossnagle—probably not on PHP ), and myself. We were all coming to each others sessions just to make sure there are a few attendees, and had so much fun on these few days (and probably the most disappointing Mexican dinner ever—Chris' choice). Another memorable event was ZendCon 2009 where we snuck into the Microsoft Windows 7 release party in San Francisco. For those who were there: party bus, the kilt, MC Hammer. Unforgettable! I still think very fondly of those days.
Thanks to my PHPCon credits I also successfully applied for the first ZendCon, and have been to each single one (in the US) since then, not planning to quit before Zeev buys dinner for me and Matthew (Weier O'Phinney) as he promised at the 2013 show. I hope to continue my streak when the conference moves to fabulous Las Vegas this fall! Back at OSCON 2004, I passed the Zend PHP 4 Certification. John, Luke, Laura and I promised each other only to talk about this if we all passed (which we eventually did). I was elected as one of the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for the PHP 5 edition of the certification, also worked on the PHP 5.3 one and was the lead author of the current 5.5 edition. Very proud to see the ongoing demand for this project!
Contrary to popular belief I do some actual, honest work apart from speaking and, sometimes, writing I am very happy that I still do a lot of work with PHP (and, *gasp*, ASP.NET, although I cannot memorize even a fraction of the five-digits number of classes, let alone of its members). I co-founded Arrabiata Solutions in 2005 and am still affiliated with the company that is doing very well. I had also the chance to work with countless companies and enterprises and support their web projects. I have started and contributed a little bit to several open source projects over time, even one in Perl (but I won't link it here ), but most of it is still in PHP. Actually I will do a tiny PR for PHP itself later today!
What was just a stupid idea of a young developer with so-so experience turned into a fulfilling career and many friendships across the globe. It's rare that you work with the same technology for 17 years, and it's also not common that you are still in contact with people you met over ten years ago that live over half a dozen timezones away. PHP did not only advance my skills, it also provided me with a lot of fun. It's paramount that you love what you do! So thank you PHP, thank you Rasmus, thank you Andi & Zeev, thank you PHP community. Looking forward to the next milestone we can all celebrate together!
Wednesday, December 22. 2010
The Serendipity project has released version 1.5.5 of their blog system a few hours ago. This is a security release, since there is a 0-day exploit out in the wild that is already used heavily. The security issue allows uploading script code to your server, so in other words: if affected, you are hosed.
If you are using Serendipity you should consider updating as soon as possible. Garvin has more on the issue in the release announcement.
Thanks to the Serendipity security team for their prompt actions (as always!), and to Stefan Neufeind for providing logs and insights about how the exploit was used.
Wednesday, December 23. 2009
Serendipity Upgrade to v 1.5.x Gotcha Posted by Christian in PHP at 08:32
Just a quick note: I just updated Serendipity to version 1.5.1 on one of our servers; yet afterwards I could not log in anymore. Also, Serendipity reported that version 1.5.1 was present, although I did not run the update script from the admin console yet. At first I thought I did something wrong, but a s9y forum posting described a similar issue.
The fix was actually quite simple: for some reason—may it be due to my own fault or due to a bug in the upgrade logic—the SQL upgrade script was not run, but Serendipity still thought it had been upgraded already. The file
HTH. Once again, Happy Holidays.
Sunday, December 13. 2009
Just a quick note that my JSON Gotchas article has just been published. The editors removed the last sentence, so here it is again: Happy holidays everyone!
Monday, January 12. 2009
Microsoft have released the first public beta for their upcoming Windows 7 operating system. To me it looks surprisingly similar to Vista (which is a good thing and a bad thing ), so I thought that installing PHP on it should be easy, as well. Actually, it was really easy, but since yesterday two people indenpendently from each other asked me how to do it, I thought I'd write down the required steps.
Continue reading "Installing PHP on Windows 7"
Friday, August 8. 2008
Today is a day many people have been looking forward to for quite some time. No, it's not mass-marrying on 8-8-08, it's the day after the release of PHP 4.4.9. The important fact of this release is that it will be the final one for PHP 4. Ever. (Well, of course there might be the scenario of companies offering posthumous security patches, but that doesn't count here.) If you are still not convinced that PHP 4 is at the end of its life, just have a look at the changelog: the previous release is seven months old, and since then only five issues have been fixed.
I am aware that many sites, especially those with really old legacy code, will still not update (heck, I even know of some large PHP 3 based sites running strong [and insecure]), but if you have the resources to update your code base, you should do so really soon. PHP 5.3 will (most probably) be released later this year, and PHP 6 will get rid of a lot of stuff that has only been kept for the sake of backwards compatibility.
Wednesday, March 5. 2008
Zend Studio for Eclipse 6.0 Released ... Posted by Christian in PHP at 14:19
I am probably not the first to notice that, but thought it would be worth mentioning anyway. Zend have released version 6.0 of Zend Studio for Eclipse. Actually, this version 6.0 is the first final version of the Eclipse edition of Zend Studio.
According to Zend,
[they] will provide customers that are currently under maintenance for Zend Studio 5.5 a free upgrade to Zend Studio for Eclipse. If you wish to continue to use Zend Studio 5.5 simply renew as you would normally and licenses will be provided for both products. Any Zend Studio purchase will entitle customers to use both products.
I have to say that I am rather in the "I can achieve better results without Eclipse" camp, but will try the new version nevertheless. So far, the IDE looks very good. The only minur issue I found is that it ships with a quite old version of JRE (1.5.0_08_b03, which translates to 5.0 update 8; the latest version as of today is 5.0 update 15 or, even better, 6.0 update 5). Oh, and the PHP 4 version that comes with it is 4.4.7.
While downloading the Eclipse version, I also found out that "classic" Zend Studio 5.5.1 has been released about a month ago. New features include Leopard and Vista support (finally!); the versions of PHP and Zend Framework have been bumped to 5.2.5 and 1.0.3.
When using the "check for updates" feature of my 5.5.0a installation, it neither showed me the 5.0.0b update nor the 5.5.1 version. When installing 5.5.1, it refused to use my 5.5.0 license key, though. I contacted support and will update this entry when this has been resolved.
Update: The Zend support staff regenerated my license, Zend Studio 5.5.1 now works seamless. And make sure to read the comments: Obviously, the Zend Studio for Eclipse 6.0 release is from January — but it's still not clear why one local Zend subsidiary sent me an email on the "new" release yesterday
Tuesday, December 18. 2007
Found this in Stefan Fischerländer's (German) blog some time ago, and although I do not quite agree, I found it really funny. Since today is Perl's 20th birthday, I thougt it would be a good day to post that.
Larry Wall recently wrote the very amusing article "Programming is Hard, Let's Go Scripting...". He draws a pretty darn funny line between scripting languages and programming languages. He also mentiones PHP, of course. At first, he compares PHP to JAM (Jury-rigged All-purpose Meta-language), a language Larry wrote himself, in BASIC!
JAM was an inside-out text-processing language much like PHP, except that HTML hadn't been invented yet. We mostly used it as a fancy macro processor for BASIC. Unlike PHP, it did not have 3,000 functions in one namespace. We wouldn't have had the memory, for one thing.
Alright, cheap shot. However the following cracked me up about as much as the Perl 6 release schedule:
We've also seen the rise of PHP, which takes the worse-is-better approach to dazzling new depths, as it were. By and large PHP seems to be making the same progression of mistakes as early Perl did, only slower. The one thing it does better is packaging. And when I say packaging, I don't mean namespaces.
You may agree or disagree with Larry, but the article really is a jolly good read!
Thursday, November 8. 2007
As far as I have seen, a two part interview the German online portal Golem conducted with Zeev Suraski in Mid-October went quite unnoticed in the non-German speaking community, so I thought that I would sum up the most important topics he covered (translation errors are all mine; I also tried to maintain the context of what Zeev said, but you never now):
Some interesting points here. Thoughts/comments?
Tuesday, October 9. 2007
I have been following the FastCGI development for quite some time; it is currently available for IIS 7 (i.e. Windows Vista). I just saw that a pre-release version of FastCGI for IIS 5.1 (Windows XP) / 6.0 (Windows 2003) has been released, coming with a go-live license (which means that you may actually use it in production, but have to decide for yourself whether you really want that). Microsoft now dubs it "FastCGI for PHP", wow. Our experiences with previous builds have been quite good, so if you are hosting on IIS (as some of our customers are), you should have a look. And now -- back to the ZendCon keynote
Saturday, August 4. 2007
I just noticed today that a few days ago, WSO2 released the final version 1.0.0 of their WSO2 Web Services Framework for PHP, or WSO2 WSF/PHP in short. I've worked with some of the beta versions and really liked them.
The framework comes in form of a PHP extension and is available both as source code and as a binary distribution. Additional information exists in form of a manual, an installation guide, and of course release notes. Here are some of the key features:
Also, WSF/PHP is backward-compatible with PHP5-SOAP, although this feature is still marked as experimental.
As usual, hosters will be rather hesitant to install a third-party extension for their customers, so not everybody will be able to use this extension. But if you need some of the aforementioned features and would like to reduce the hassle involved in implementing the various standards, you should definitely try out this framework.
Monday, July 9. 2007
phpa-norl, a phpa port for Mac OS X ... Posted by Christian in PHP at 10:34
phpa is an interactive command line shell for PHP by David Phillips. Stefan Fischerländer, usually known as a SEO expert and Perl admirer, has patched phpa for Mac OS X and Windows (the default builds theredo not seem to support a feature required by phpa). The result: phpa-norl. Stefan successfully ran this on OS X, and I could confirm that it runs on Windows, as well:
phpa and phpa-norl come with a convenient history feature. Using it is simple: type PHP code as you go, with the following special features:
Monday, November 27. 2006
SANS Top-20 Internet Security Attack ... Posted by Christian in PHP, Security at 09:09
Two weeks ago, the SANS Institute has released its annual Top 20 Internet Security Attack Targets list. Of course you can debate how such a Top list came together and what the real value behind that is, but there are two specific points in this year's list that I found quite interesting.
First of all, there is a new entry: Users (H2). This shows that phishing, social engineering and related attacks are getting more and more prevalent. User education is therefore more important than ever.
Second, PHP is specifically mentioned a couple of times (one wonders why). In entry C2 of the SANS Top 20 (Web Applications), the institute gives some very specific advice:
From the PHP system administration and hosting perspective:
You could argue whether the PDO migration is superior to using, say, prepared statements (and why no other databases are mentioned). You could also argue why there is such an emphasis on PHP and that all advice is somehow well-known. But fact of the matter is, there are still so many PHP installations and PHP developers that do not follow these guidelines, as for instance Damien's survey shows. In my opinion, there is only one possible solution: Continue to talk with developers, continue to talk with hosting providers.
Friday, September 22. 2006
Just a quick pointer for those of you who are currently testing the RC1 of Windows Vista: Installing PHP on IIS7 there now works just as easy as it was on older versions of IIS. Read this blog entry by Bill Staples to see how. Basically, just add a mapping to the PHP ISAPI DLL or PHP CGI executable for the .php file extension and you are done.
Friday, September 22. 2006