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Well, as mentioned below, today I was doing a little research. On the futility of a Computer Science major. Specifically, on the fact that the overwhelming odds are that in a career in IT, system administration, or even web programming, I’ll probably never apply 90% of what I learn in CS courses.

So, I went looking for online certificate programs, knowing that most of the vendors’ programs run $500 or more just for testing. I came by eCertificates.com. And this brings me to another topic… I clicked on the “Software Programming” category, and was surprised to see no PHP test. On a hunch, I looked under “Web Design”, and sure enough, there it was.

I know this is a common misconception, and I know that because it plays so well with the web, and Apache, PHP has been pigeonholed as a web language. Maybe I’m just crazy, or maybe it’s just because I know PHP better than anything else. But PHP is NOT a web programming language. It is a programming language that happens to work very well with web applications.

Using fread() and fwrite() I can slam together a command-line menu-based PHP script for administration quicker than I could write the def’s for a Python script. I’ve done it, I have a number of PHP CLI-based scripts running on my machines. Database access with PHP is a no-brainer. And one day, when I get around to reading my “ancient” pile of books and learning NCurses, PHP will be right there with me.

So I guess it is just a fact of the modern web mentality. But PHP has myriad uses aside from web applications and web content handling. Sure, my web site is written in it. But one of my backup scripts is, too. And more importantly, if I’m working with a database that already has a PHP-based web frontend, PHP seems like the natural choice for a CLI-based administration backend.


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