Let me join the 15+ years club and dive into memories of the old times, being one of the „scripting kiddies“ guilty of writing HTML, PHP and MySQL in the same file. ;)
We definitely had some awful introductions into the language long ago, that I shouldn’t have read. The web was still relatively new and many people (like me) felt that it was more fun to just try coding with the ease of PHP, than to read programming books that have been so boring. I know better today.
In the meantime things really changed a lot and from large recipe websites (with a huge forum and community) to tracking APIs with billions of requests, I’ve written so many different applications in PHP in the past 15 years. It just works. We never had security issues (fingers crossed) and scalability was never as bad as people believed, even in the times when I was still driving new servers to the data center in my car.
But ... as you say ... so many people believe in the things they've heard in the old days. I get the „PHP is not a real programming language“ flag every few weeks. People tell me quite often that they learned it from someone with the real programming skills and that they never used the language themselves. It takes some time for them to understand that in 90% of all cases the chosen language isn’t the problem. I’ve seen horrible code in many languages - and the developers always believed they’re better than a scripting PHP guy. :)
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