The renowned programmer who created PHP "hates programming" and said he's "not a real programmer."

Originally published at: The renowned programmer who created PHP "hates programming" and said he's "not a real programmer." | Boing Boing

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As you get more experienced with programming the more you realize that aside from some niche areas that it’s all art. It’s all aesthetic choices meets engineering constraints so you can get useful work done and sometimes it looks or seems pleasing.

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PHP is my favorite language which makes me enjoy those statements all the more!

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I actually hate programming, but I love solving problems.

This sums up my view of coding. A lot of programmers I’ve managed had a tendency to get lost in the weeds of making their code elegant and efficient, effectively struggling against languages that make that task near impossible while losing sight of the actual goal.

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As the adage goes: always hire a lazy person, because they will spend hours doing something in order that they will never have to do it again.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: A Chrome extension let you bulk-unfollow everyone, until Facebook squashed it

No one who’s had to use PHP will be surprised by any of that.

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Can’t say I’m surprised. It’s obvious that PHP was written by someone who hates programming, and who wants other people to hate it too.

(/s, but only a little.)

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I’m not a real programmer. I throw together things until it works then I move on. The real programmers will say ‘Yeah it works but you’re leaking memory everywhere. Perhaps we should fix that.’ I’ll just restart Apache every 10 requests”

Sysadmin/ops guy here, with many, many years under my belt. Rasmus is selling himself short. No offense to my programmer friends and colleagues, but in my experience this is the default approach of the majority of programmers. Therefore, Rasmus is a real programmer.

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I really don’t like programming. I built this tool to program less so that I could just reuse code

Unfortunately, I think that’s what the majority of websites using PHP are doing. They lift some PHP code into their site, and then it sits there and they never patch it, so it’s basically a big gaping security hole waiting for a bad guy to notice it’s got known vulnerabilities. That’s a problem with other languages and systems, too, but I think it’s especially acute with PHP. There are a hell of a lot of crappy PHP frameworks and site tools out there and a lot of lazy and/or clueless sysadmins who just want to slap something together. (Wordpress is written in PHP but at least is somewhat well maintained. Still, a lot of sites are running unpatched Wordpress).

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The niche areas all boil down to aesthetics too. Provability, parallelization, expressive power, and any other consideration you might see on Lambda the Ultimate are all just aesthetic properties.

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This is just another way of describing the “move fast and break things” ethos popularized by Zuckerberg, only without the urge to change the world.

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I’m not a real programmer. I throw together things until it works then I move on. The real programmers will say ‘Yeah it works but you’re leaking memory everywhere. Perhaps we should fix that.’ I’ll just restart Apache every 10 requests”

Yeah, I was going to say, this sounds exactly like a “real” programmer to me. Or part of a “no true programmer” fallacy…

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But not very often.

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As a software developer, I ask why does the headline repeat itself? I kid mostly.

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Well, PHP is a “hypertext preprocessor” so not so much made for Computer Programming as much as simply “doing a little bit of behind the scenes to your HTML” And for that it’s well and very specifically suited. To get Java or C++ to output HTML you have to do a lot of overwrought and unnatural things.

But I guess the good news is that after years of pooh-poohing PHP as a fake programming language, everyone turned to a real softw…oh I’m sorry, I’m being told we just extended the client-side scripting language into a serverside preprocessor so REALLY no one had to become a programmer.

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I continue to learn to code simply b/c no one else at my place of work will step up to the plate, and yet some digital shit absolutely needs to be done. While I like the results in some cases, I absolutely hate the fucking mind numbing drudgery of coding…endlessly beating your head against a wall only to learn a week later that the answer was FUCKING STUPID.

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That explains a lot, that’s for sure. PHP is definitely the “blunt instrument” approach to programming. It doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, and but it can be very effective when wielded properly.

A programmer’s best skill is often effective search engine use. That being said, it also helps to understand the damn code you’re using for copypasta – most are just happy when it works.

So is MediaWiki, which is used by a popular site called Wikipedia.

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Congratulations, you have just described my entire career :slight_smile:

I started by being the guy int he office that people asked computer questions (back in the '80’s) and eventually they basically said “Let’s make that your job”

And for my sins I have spent the last 30+ years as a SysAdmin

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It’s not much better in .Net land if you really look at how it does the work under the covers. It’s wild how much work it takes to automate hypertext processing but we can’t live without it.

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