In late 2003 and early 2004, as I was getting involved in the PHP Community project project, I learned about the New York PHP and Chicago PHP user groups. At the time, there was no PHP user group in Atlanta, although there had been several incarnations of previous groups:
- Mention of a user group in Atlanta in 1997
- First phpAtlanta meeting in 2001
- Rasmus spoke at the August 7, 2001 phpAtlanta meeting
- phpAtlanta.org domain purchased by new owner in February 2003, with intent to start the group again
In February 2004, after a bit of searching for a local group, I decided it was time to start a group and register a domain. Following NYPHP’s lead with their domain styled as nyphp.org, I decided to purchase the domain atlphp.org. There was only one problem: the domain had already been purchased a mere three days earlier by Matt Kern!
To make a long story short, I met with Matt, we worked with Hans Zaunere of New York PHP to get a website and mailing lists set up, and we started generating interest in the group. However, it wasn’t until a year later (April 2005) that we had our first official meeting.
We later changed our branding from “ATLPHP” to “AtlantaPHP” and began using the domain atlantaphp.org. I organized the user group for about six years (2004-2010). It was often a struggle to find speakers, and as I look back over my personal speaking history, I think I spoke too much at the group’s early meetings. Still, I’m proud that the group I helped put together is still running strong today, led by Chris Spruck, who was also a founding member of the group, taking part from the earliest days of the group’s mailing lists.
A Story Through Links
Here are a few blog posts chronicling the early days of the Atlanta user group:
- Atlanta PHP
- The first blog post I wrote about the user group, detailing my first conversation with Matt Kern to inquire about his purchase of the domain name.
- Atlanta PHP Getting Off the Ground
- A brief post about my first meeting with Matt to discuss the group.
- Atlanta PHP Soft Launch
- I posted this following the launch of our rudimentary website and mailing lists.
- Atlanta PHP Meetup Group
- On the heels of our soft launch, I discovered an Atlanta PHP user group on Meetup.com. This post served as a way for me to reach out to the community for more information about the Meetup group.
- Atlanta PHP Meeting Tomorrow
- In this post, I discuss the group’s third consecutive meeting in June 2005.
- New Site for Atlanta PHP
- We launched a new site with new forums in June 2006. In addition, I explain that we had decided to rejoin Meetup.com, since many people in Atlanta seemed to be looking there for a PHP user group.
- PHP TestFest 2008 and Atlanta PHP
- The Atlanta PHP user group was proud to take part in the global PHP TestFest in 2008.