Sebastian Bergmann has instrumentally contributed to transforming PHP into a reliable platform for large-scale, critical projects. Enterprises and PHP developers around the world benefit from the tools that he has developed and the experience he shares. Read on to see what the upsides and downsides of using PHP are and how he came up with the idea to create PHPUnit – a unit testing framework for the PHP programming language.
What are the upsides and the downsides of using PHP?
Every programming language, PHP included, has upsides and downsides. Forrester once wrote in a study that “the platform you use is only as good as the people and process you have to work it.” Having an architecture that allows you to scale and continuously roll out new features with minimal risk is more important than the choice of the programming language. PHP, though, is — at least in my humble opinion — the natural choice for implementing web applications. One of PHP’s upsides worth mentioning is its diverse and vibrant community: the core developers who advance the platform, the vendors of components and frameworks that provide reusable solutions, and the developers who use PHP for changing the way we live and work through products and services nobody would have thought of twenty years ago.
What is the main thing that you learned as being part of the PHP Community?
Being a part of the global PHP community allows me to make a living doing what I enjoy the most (sharing my knowledge and experience with developers at conferences, at usergroup events, and at our customers) but also continues to make me a better developer because there is always an opportunity to learn from somebody else when you engage in a conversation or discussion.
How did you come up with the idea to create PHPUnit?
In late 2000, early 2001 I was exposed to software testing in general and unit testing in particular for the first time when I worked with JUnit at the university. Around this time I started to work on what would become PHPUnit, triggered by a discussion with a professor of mine who thought that a tool like JUnit could not be implemented for PHP.
How much time per month do you spend on developing and maintaining PHPUnit?
On an average day, I spend at least one hour every day just to look at new tickets on GitHub, new questions on StackOverflow, questions sent via email, etc. but I don’t track the time I invest into Open Source development. It’s only during the weekends, if at all, that I get to work on Open Source at home. Most of my actual coding on PHPUnit, for instance, happens while aboard a plane or train. Coming back to your question, my estimate would be anywhere between ten and twenty hours per week.