What's the site about?

And who am I, Matthew Setter, your erstwhile trainer?

Why did I start the site?

In short, I started it because I 💖 teaching web development!

I've been doing it for so long now, since a chance encounter while working in the UK, several years ago; whether writing tutorials, writing books, or creating online courses. I've taught web development through my previous blogs and for sites including Pluralsight, Twilio, Envato Tuts, Sitepoint, PHP Architect, Sqreen — and so many others!

And if you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, or listen to Free the Geekplease do! — you'll know how much I regularly share what I'm learning there as well. I post at least once or twice every day — except Sundays, and there's a new episode of the podcast each Tuesday at 13:00 / 1pm CEST.

Given that experience with and joy of teaching, along with my never-ending passion for it and love of web development, I decided to create a place where I could bring together all I've learned about teaching web development, something that I could build over the longer term, and something that I could look back on and be really proud of.

So on this site, I share what I've learned and what I continue to learn about the craft of web development, primarily focused around four areas:

So, who am I?

If we've not met before, I'm Matthew. I'm a software developer, author, podcaster, and speaker, originally from Rockhampton, in Queensland, Australia. However, I now live in Wendelstein, which is a little place just outside of Nuremberg, Germany. I’ve been developing web-based software with PHP since 1999 and still love it!

Because of being a developer, I've had the good fortune to travel to many countries and locations for work, such as you can see in the photo below, where I was at the University of California, Berkeley Campus, back in 2016..

The University of California, Berkeley Campus.
The University of California, Berkeley Campus.

Little known fact: the first computer that I bought for myself originally ran Microsoft Windows A (not the more stable B or C releases). Because Windows crashed so regularly, I went searching for something stable and came across Linux (Red Hat Linux, 6.0, in fact) and open source. It wasn't too much longer before I learned about PHP.

I’ve written web-based apps and services, largely in PHP, against all manner of databases and backend services, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and MSSQL Server, and queuing, caching, and logging servers, to name just a few technologies. I've also developed apps using Ruby, Python, and Go.

I stumbled upon PHP (and MySQL) quite by chance. Since then, I've spent a considerable amount of time learning how to build them, as I worked for companies and organisations in Australia, the UK, Germany, the United States, and elsewhere.

Out and about in Dresden, Germany
Out and about in Dresden, Germany.

What I found during that time was that as well as building applications, I had a passion for sharing that knowledge and teaching others. Teaching others and helping them grow faster than they otherwise might is truly one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have.

So, after over 8 years of blogging, creating courses, writing books, and speaking at user groups and conferences, I decided to get focused and start this site.

Little known fact: The path that my web development career took happened almost by accident. I studied C and Java at university and loved the way that they worked. I imagined that that’s what I’d be doing till my career ended.

However, very early in my career, I was working for an engineering firm in a small town and the boss asked if I knew anything about PHP and MySQL. I said that I’d not heard of PHP, but that I did had worked with MySQL. After that came: "Well, are you keen to learn them better — because no one else will!"

And the rest, as the saying goes, was that.

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