Rasmus Lerdorf & History of PHP

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

In this lesson, we'll take a look at Rasmus Lerdorf and learn who he is, what PHP is, and PHP's history. At the end, you should have a good understanding of this important figure.

The Importance of the Internet

For most of us, the Internet contributes to a significant portion of our lives. We use it to check the weather on our favorite websites. We use it to purchase things from a wide variety of wholesale and retail outlets. We even use it to stream much of our entertainment such as television, radio, and movies. Is it any wonder that even from the earliest days, we've been looking for ways to improve it? Not really! Advancements in Internet speed, technology, and features are ongoing. And there have been many contributors. One of the most notable is Rasmus Lerdorf.

Who is Rasmus Lerdorf?

Rasmus Lerdorf is a computer programmer that was born in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland on November 6th, 1968. A graduate of King City Secondary School in 1988, and from the University of Waterloo in 1993, he holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering. Rasmus has held a number of positions over the years, including stints at Yahoo!, WePay, Etsy, and Room77. He has also worked on a number of open source projects and wrote the LIMIT clause for the Apache HTTP server. But his most significant achievement, with respect to the Internet, is his creation of the first two versions of PHP.

What is PHP?

PHP is an acronym for Personal Home Page, a tool created by Rasmus to help him manage his website and monitor traffic. It is a server-side scripting language, meaning that it resides and executes on the central server of a system, rather than a remote client that sits on the user's desk. It consists of three main elements or parts. They are:

  • PHP Parser - This is the part of the system that breaks the language up into syntactic units, converts those units into commands that the web server can understand, and then sends those conversions off for processing.
  • Web Server - This part of the system executes the converted PHP commands received from the PHP Parser, and sends the results off to the web browser.
  • Web Browser - This part of the system accepts input from the web server and displays output to the user.

Today, PHP enjoys a loyal following and has been extended to incorporate many new features.

What is PHP's History?

PHP has gone through a number of iterations over the years. And although there are too many individual changes to list here, some of the more notable ones appear below:

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