PHP Programming: Journey from Procedural to Serverless in 25 years

Abdul Jaleel Kavungal
4 min readJun 13, 2020

PHP has been around for almost as long as the Web. 25 years! Rasmus Lerdorf introduced PHP to the world as “Personal Home Page” tools, initially designed to replace a set of Perl scripts to maintain his Personal Home Pages.

PHP has set an unbeatable standard of global acceptance. Statistically, some about 20 million websites and one million web servers are using this popular programming language. Wordpress Homepage says 31% of the internet still runs PHP based WordPress. PHP is still dominant in the CMS space and is just way ahead of everything else available today. Modern CMSes like Craft, Kirby, Twill or even things like Bolt, Processwire or Grav.. they are pretty great mature platforms for custom content websites.

Fig : 1 — All these logos are very familiar and popular too — even today

My experiments with PHP

I wrote PHP programs first as fun, then to build some serious projects. From 100 LoC contact us page to an advertising platform to buy and sell ad spaces on Web — even before Google Adsense/Adwords were mainstream products. Pleasant memory about PHP is that the advertising platform took me to interview with Google way back in 2006 — still chasing that dream of working for Google though.

Fig: 2. — PHP based advertising platform — codenamed ‘AdZant’

PHP 8.0

PHP has taken a long journey in 25 years — from procedural to Object-oriented and the latest Just in time compiler (JIT) in PHP 8. From Django to Symfony — frameworks and ecosystems around PHP had significant growth in the last few years — both in terms of features and performance.

Fig: 3 — The PHP’s interpreting flow with JIT. If compiled, Opcodes don’t execute through the Zend VM.

Facebook & PHP

Abdul Jaleel Kavungal

No one is ready for the future, the best way to predict the future is to BUILD it