Andrew Burke

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PHP expected T_ what?
Posted on: 2006-07-30

I haven't blogged much lately since I've been very busy and I'm also planning to redo my entire blogging system shortly in Rails on a new server. Stay tuned for updates!

One of the things I'm really busy with is a new project I'm doing in PHP. PHP is really useful and flexible and fast and is available on almost every hosting site - but I always have the feeling I'm working with a bunch of hacks put on top of another bunch of hacks put on top of yet more hacks. Having spent eight years building elaborate web applications out of Lotus Domino, I know from hacks on top of hacks - and it's nice that they're not all my hacks - but I do miss working in Ruby.

The project is going well, though - although a few days ago I was working on a database access function (yes you still have to do that in PHP) and got an error: 'Expected T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM'. I know a lot of the PHP work is done out of Israel, and I recognized the 'IM' ending for plural (seraphim, nephilim - can you tell I grew up a little bit Goth?). I was actually at a coffee shop and didn't have internet access, so I wanted to yell out 'does anybody here know Hebrew?' Given the current geopolitical situation I wasn't sure if that would make people nervous, so I just worked it out myself. Turns out there was a misplaced ::, which I later discovered has the name 'paamayim nekudotayim' in Hebrew.

It's easy to take for granted that programming is all done in English (unless you're Damian Conway), even though many of the newer languages are designed by people from Japan or the Netherlands or Israel. Tech is becoming much more global and I expect we'll see more of other languages popping up, at least in the obscure error messages, if not in the syntax itself. Concurrency with the Greek 'men ... de' sentence syntax, anyone?

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