More than the language

Posted 2013-11-10
Written by Matt Frost

There isn't a week that goes by where someone, somewhere isn't hating on PHP. The language sucks, the people that use it aren't real programmers and let's not forget, the language sucks. PHP the language takes it on the chin all the time and you know what I'm ok with that. I don't feel a need to defend the language itself, because the opinions of people who don't use the language matter very little to me on the topic. Does that make me a hobbyist? An amateur? Maybe, whatever, I've been able to make a living with PHP as primary language and for that I'm very grateful. PHP is still widely used across the internet and I've come to learn some very important things about the community itself.

People care about learning/teaching

This was one of the largest things I noticed at True North PHP this weekend. People genuinely care about learning and teaching others to become better at the their trade, it's inspiring to see programmers sitting together, working through problems and concepts together. People willingly give their time to others to help them improve understand a new concept and expect nothing back in return, except that those programmers pass it on to others. The PHP community, in my experience has been receptive of being open about not knowing how to do certain things and the amount of people that are willing to jump in and help is incredible. PHP is not without it's problems, but for my money the helpfulness of the community far out-weighs the squabbles.

People care about each other

People care about each other beyond their skill-level, they care about the people and what people are going through. At a tech conference, it's very easy to focus on the technology and forget about the fact that the conference is full of real people, with real problems and in some cases; people that are hurting in very real ways. I try to not base my thoughts around a community on what I see on Twitter, though admittedly, sometimes that is very hard. There are times when competition levels between products step outside the bounds of reason, but I can say from what I've seen, people care about the well-being of others. I've had some dark times in the last few months and one of the first groups of people to jump behind me, encourage me and listen to me were people from the community. I've only been an active part of the PHP community for a year and a half, and in a short amount of time have met incredible people and forged incredible friendships. At the end of the day, any community is made up of imperfect people regardless of whether the community is based around technology, faith or lifestyle. Being humble enough to accept your own shortcomings and support those in spite of their imperfections and shortcomings is incredibly difficult, and something this community does very well.

Hate if you must

So I conclude with this; if you don't like PHP as a language, that's fine. I take no offense, nor will I draw up any urge to "prove you wrong". You make your living working in a language you like more and frankly, I think that's pretty awesome. People will say, community works, but I don't think that's always true. There are preconditions for any community to work; respect being one of the most important of these. When people try to manipulate community for their singular benefit, things get ugly, but when people who generally care about and respect each other get together, great things can happen. Maybe you don't like the sappy "I love being part of the community" type posts and that's ok, if you don't like the overall sentiment of the content, I hope you are in a community that makes you a better programmer and a better person. If you aren't, look for one, or take the first step to start moving the community you are part of in a positive direction. As they say, "haters gonna hate" but there is literally nothing you can say about my language or community that will outweigh and overtake the experiences I've had. Hate if you must, it all rings hollow, unless of course you can provide something better. Good luck with that.


Cal Evans



Excellent post! I wish every developer that uses PHP could attend at least one conference just to see the community in action. I have been a part of a lot of developer communities and love them all, but not nearly as much as I love the PHP community. It truly is a community and not just a collection of developers.


Chris Tankersley


And we're glad to have you in the PHP Community! I've met so many wonderful people through it (including you) that it's hard to remember trying to make it on my own in PHP.

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