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From PHP to - Introduction

My first real successes with server programming were back in 1998 when I started tinkering with PHP.  Back then, ASP was at version 2.0 and was - similar to PHP - a way to mix markup and scripting.  Both tended to yield some fairly interesting results and I'd say for the most part, both were quite comparable.

As such, even back then I had a choice.  I could focus my tinkering on the Microsoft based tools, or I could try my hand at this thing called open source I'd been hearing about. I had everything I needed to succeed in both spaces. I could either download everything for free or I had complete access to a set of MSDN discs in a binder with a cover like this:

If I wanted to build ASP scripts that spoke to Access or SQL databases, it wouldn't have been a problem.  In some ways, I even tried, installing all the tools and trying out the environments. Each time however, I abandoned the effort because I felt like I couldn't tinker my way into it.
So, Instead I ended up choosing the open source route because the community was open and it was easy to learn via examples on the internet.
(Despite being long before Stack Overflow, one could have pretty decent luck with searches on PHP topics at the time.)

The reason I went that way was because much of the Microsoft philosophy back then was to hide knowledge behind courses, certifications and licenses.  To make matters worse, an even higher proportion of people in the community were dark matter developers!  I had no mentor, high schools were a few years away from becoming tech savvy and I was just a teenager trying to impress himself at home in a smaller prairie city.

From 1998 to 2016, the primary ecosystem I've coded with and had demonstrable results and experience with has been PHP.
That didn't mean however that I didn't stay curious about alternatives. I've toyed with Ruby, Python and Java at various stages or for school assignments.  JavaScript is obviously there and I even played a bit with Scala. PHP matured considerably as a language through the years and so did I with it, adopting new best practices and eventually frameworks.

Microsoft for the longest time has been subject to considerable derision because they just couldn't keep up with an economy of software that was literally free.  Their attitudes towards the people promoting and using their products was considered to be toxic and until Steve Ballmer resigned, there seemed to be no end in sight.
Only after almost 20 years do I think it's finally become safe to consider the things from out of Redmond lately.

I've landed a great local opportunity recently where I've been able to start developing 9-5 using C#.  Owing to the fact that I'm always keeping up with technologies outside of my comfort zone, it's a transition I've been able to make without too much upset.
It did however give me a thought that it would be neat to document the subtle differences between the technology, culture and approaches to problem solving.  At least so long as the observations remain interesting or useful.

I've got a few blog posts already lined up for this mini series, barring a few more edits.  I'll try to get them out in the next little while, but I'd like to leave you with one thought: For what it's worth, if ever you've been told to not put all your eggs in one basket, let me tell you: That is damned good advice when it comes to tech skills.

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