"Symfony represents the ability to surpass oneself" : interview with Fabien Potencier, creator of the Symfony PHP framework and founder of the Symfony company

June 30th, 2023 by Rayene Imane Chikhi

Rayene: Fabien, in 2 points / highlights (pro or non-pro), who are you?

Fabien: An entrepreneur who is passionate about Open-Source and fascinated by the radical changes it has enabled over the past 20 years.

Rayene: What does Symfony mean to you, beyond dates and international success?

Fabien: Community sharing, multi-culturalism. The ability, demonstrated before Covid, to work in a completely distributed way with several hundred people. Organization without hierarchical links. Symfony also represents the ability to surpass oneself: Symfony forced me to submit sessions to international conferences despite my shy nature and poor level of English.

Rayene: Do you have an anecdote to share about the history of Symfony?

Fabien: Symfony was my very first PHP project. Before the arrival of PHP 5, I had always refused to get involved, preferring Perl. PHP 5's healthier class/object implementation made me want to give it a try. So, at Christmas 2004, I went on vacation with an e-commerce site to develop for the new school year. The Symfony's ancestor was born.

Rayene: Smile and you have a long history. First with SensioLabs, then now with Symfony. Beyond the shared values of open-source, how would you describe the link with Smile Group?

Fabien: How could I not mention my first visit "to the castle", followed by a pizza with Marc :) It seems to me that Smile still described itself at the time as an "Internet engine". I'd like to think that Symfony is one of today's Internet engines, with its widespread adoption, notably by many major Open-Source projects.

Rayene: Finally, what's the most important thing to remember about the arrival of Symfony in the Smile Group, through SensioLabs?

Fabien: Through SensioLabs, Smile Group will be helping to perpetuate the Symfony Open-Source project. But beyond that, the synergies between Symfony and SensioLabs, and more broadly with Smile Group, should enable the Open-Source project to continue to evolve, and I hope that Symfony's reputation will enable the Group to continue its internationalization.