Meadowlark: Sheffield based computer consultancy

Programming languages we use

PHP Hypertext Preprocessor

The Php programming languages is one of the runaway successes of the web. It was originally conceived by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995 as a web scripting language to facilitate the implementation of dynamic web pages. In that particular capacity it excels.

According to this source. Php is the most popular scripting language.

It is a powerful language, and that possibly explains its immense popularity on the web, but its success must be partly due to its simplicity. Typical programming tasks in php seem easier, and that has a corresponding impact on productivity. Given a choice of a scripting language I would always opt for php over for example its more needy competitor ASP.NET. I recently undertook a project using php MySQL and Apache for a well known organisation where no other technology would have sufficed. Some detail about this project might be worth recounting.

I was developing an e-learning application, and had already written several hundred lines of javascript - the questionnaire code. I needed to write the server side code - which would be quite simple, but I had only a Windows XP machine, and no set date by which I would receive a Window 7 machine as a replacement.

Window 7 would be necessary if only to run Visual Studio 2013. I would need this to start any Asp.NET solution. But the available server technology was not known to me either. Would I even have the services of an internet service provider that supported Microsoft's Asp.Net technology? Meanwhile, the project was starting to run late, and I had to bite the bullet, and deliver something that was fit for purpose. Very late in the day I heard that I might have access to a cloud based internet service provider that supported php MySQL and Apache. With an ageing XP machine at my disposal, and a lot of rumour, I wrote the server side code in php as this was the only option; php runs happily on XP where Visual Studio 2013 does not.

One of the many advantages of php is that it does not need licensed proprietary software to develop and test it. It therefore presents not barriers to entry. Any editor will do along with a free webserver, and other free software tools. The latter tools are of exceptionally high quality, and quickly inspire confidence when used.

There is a wealth of high quality publications to assist learning.

Documentation and supporting literature is outstanding, and web development using this language is fast and fun.

The project I recounted above is a good example of how php and its supporting software can fulfil a need that other more exacting tools cannot.

What you can expect from web technology in the future?

1. Mobile phones are going to take over our lives, even more than now, until they are integrated into our nervous systems. Neuroscientists have been working on this quietly for years, or something similar.

2. Traditional PC's will disappear.  The screens of mobiles will occupy as much of the phone as physicallly possible.  "Soft buttons will have largely replaced mechanical buttons in top of the range phones.

3. Security on the web will become a minefield, as it will become more and more difficult to detect malicious activity and stamp it out.

4. Micro-factories: places of work no bigger than a loft extension, where budding entrepreneurs labour in their free time "printing" products with 3D printers and selling their wares by the internet.