This could be a really long post, but I’m going to keep it pretty short. PHP has been around in various forms since 1994. That’s almost 20 years, which is ancient in the tech world.
It’s gone through many changes over the years but it’s truly beginning to mature. Like most evolutionary changes, it took a couple of things to accelerate the process.
There are a number of content versioning systems. Over the years, I’ve used most of them on various projects hear and there. Git has been around for a while too, but it was always relegated to the status of the “geek cvs” with it’s arcane command line interface, and often difficult to grasp methodologies.
I’m not sure when the community began to rally around git or why. Perhaps the community at large finally became savvy enough to comprehend it, or git itself had enough useful tools and utilities mature so that the entry point or ease of accessibility became more attainable.
For whatever reason, git has become the gold standard. Developers who aren’t using it are missing out on an effective tool to track code changes and a vibrant community of knowledgable people exchanging ideas.
Git made the next major step possible. A lovely dependency manager called Composer.
PHP has had dependency managers in the past. Everyone has wrestled with PEAR. It has still been a struggle to keep software up to date and organized. Spaghetti code has been rampant and often left in place simply because the only alternative was to re-develop an entire project from scratch.