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Coming back to PHP

I'm back and contributing to PHP again. Though I was never quite gone, really.

Nine months ago I caused a lot of drama when I spontaneously, and quite publicly, quit PHP development. This was while I was the owner of a particularly controversial RFC which a lot of people wanted to see passed, so it's no surprise it caused considerable panic.

And that panic was largely my fault. I should've carefully handed things over rather than just disappear and leave others to pick up the pieces. I should've made sure it was clear what would happen to the stuff I was working on before I thought of leaving. If it wasn't for certain heroes, scalar type hints declarations would have died then and there. Doing things the way I did was reckless and I sincerely apologise for it.

Though there were some good things to come from it. Arguably, me quitting ensured scalar types' success, in fact. Cancelling the vote on the original scalar types RFC, which I'd initiated hastily in the first place, and withdrawing the RFC, meant the RFC now had to be reintroduced by someone else, giving it a second chance; the original RFC didn't look it was going to pass. That reintroduction also gave more time for discussion and let a few small issues be cleaned up. And the RFC needing a champion to reintroduce it brought Anthony Ferrara back to PHP internals (after he'd previously quit himself; sorry, Anthony).

Quitting also gave me undeserved fame. It's the only thing that's made people write news articles about me in German. Es gab tatsächlich eine unsichere Zukunft. If you want to be famous in the PHP community, quit.

But that's just the consequences, what about why I quit? Well, I said this in the original post:

This isn’t a judgement of the PHP community nor the internals mailing list, you’re all wonderful people and it’s really been a pleasure, and I mean that completely honestly. However, this has ended up taking up too much of my time (which is my own fault, and my own fault alone) and I can’t really justify it to myself anymore.

As the post says, it was about personal issues, not the toxic kindergarten and the dramatic saga of the hints of types of scalars.

As everyone knows, though, clearly stating your motivations is the best way to make people not believe you. It looks like most people assumed that my problem was internals. Which is a reasonable thing to think.

But the post was truthful. At the time I quit, I had four concurrent RFCs that I was trying to rush through before the feature freeze. I had overburdened myself with too many responsibilities at once. Time I should have been spending studying (I am a student) was being spent fretting over whether I'd get the patch for the language specification done. Time I could have spent on more fun things was spent procrastinating about fixing issues in PHP pull requests.

And, well, I was a little bit tired of PHP. Well, that's not quite true. PHP is fun, and it still was fun, but I wanted to try something else for a bit. Perhaps create my own language (though I've made others before). Maybe learn something vastly different.

Also, the failure of my biggest PHP project was kind of a downer. That definitely contributed to the decision.

In the end, I wasn't really leaving forever. If you watched the PHP respository carefully, you might have noticed I made a tiny little commit while I was supposedly gone. I was still watching a bit from the sidelines. Not gone, just rather inactive.

Come August, then, I saw that PHP North West 2015 had a Call for Papers. Encouraged by others, I decided, hey, why not submit a talk? So I did, and, happily, it was accepted, and I ended up giving a talk about scalar types. It went pretty well.

While I was there, I promised more than one person I'd revive the void Return Type RFC. So I did. (It passed.)

So... I guess what I mean to say is that I didn't mean to worry you all so much, and I'm back now. Interesting things lie ahead! 😊