Rasmus Lerdorf: Founder of PHP

Greenland has its very own computing influencer! Way back in 1995, Rasmus Lerdorf got PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) off the ground and thus paved the way for a blindingly simple way to do web programming. PHP placed the emphasis of website design firmly on the user interface, with the dynamic 'PHP code' simply filling in the gaps. The conventional wisdom had been to output the user interface using the programming language, making it exceptionally difficult to implement designs and to maintain.

I came up with something similar called stdhtml, whilst at university in 1996. This system was not 'dynamic' in the sense of PHP, but it allowed HTML pages to be updated from database entries using a command-line script. This meant that the HTML pages were 'real' HTML with custom HTML-comment placeholders in them. A run of my stdhtml script on one of these files would update the HTML within these comment placeholders. PHP was obviously much more advanced than stdhtml, as it was integrated into the web server and thus would run on each page load. All of the language complexity was also exposed in the HTML, so you could basically do anything that PHP allowed. I would conclude that my stdhtml system was in the right line of thinking, but didn't have the legs.

So, back to Rasmus... not surprisingly, he is active on the web, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on SlowGeek and he also has his own site, lerdorf.com. He has a Crunchbase profile and a Wikipedia page.

The photo of Rasmus is from his Twitter profile; I hope he doesn't mind me reproducing it here!


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