My first interaction with PHP happened around mid of 2004. A friend of mine was working in a telecom company based in the USA and he referred me to his boss who wanted to develop a reporting web application which could communicate with Informix.
I used to work only on Microsoft products (Classic ASP/ASP.NET 1.1) back then with some Java and JSP related projects coming around every now and then. I had come across PHP 4.3 at that time and installed the PHP version for Windows on my computer. I developed some simple PHP scripts to check out the syntax and working but nothing major.
So when this opportunity came up I thought of using PHP for this purpose. I initially wanted to develop it in ASP.NET but at that time most businesses were not too enthusiastic of using ASP.NET to run their websites as they felt that the technology needed to mature (it was the time of .NET 1.1) and so PHP was chosen. I wonder whether PHP being free was a reason for it 🙂
Configuring PHP to talk to the Informix database was no easy task and I had to search for the right version of php_ifx.dll file. After going through forums and talking to other users I finally found the right version and PHP started talking to Informix. I started work on the reporting application and I learned a lot on how to code in PHP.
From that time onwards there has been no looking back and I have loved developing websites on PHP so much that I strongly feel that PHP is the right language to use when developing your website.
The language itself has evolved a lot from PHP 4.3.x to PHP 7.x.x which I am currently using for web development. New MVC frameworks have come into the market such as Zend, CodeIgniter, YII etc. Open source frameworks for e-commerce and CMS websites such as Oscommerce, Zen Cart, Open Cart, Magento, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal were introduced and they have become hugely popular as most companies choose them over proprietary software. The community of people using them grows on a daily basis and over 50% of the projects on websites promoting freelance work and outsourcing are related to PHP web development.