On 1 December 2003, Chris Shiflett announced the PHP Community project from his blog, as well as the php.general mailing list. While the community website envisioned never fully took shape, so many opportunities were created out of this initiative. I believe that, had it not been for the PHP Community project, there are many people—myself included—who would not be involved in the greater PHP community today as authors, speakers, and OSS contributors.
For the most part, the community-building spurred by the PHP Community project took place in the #phpc IRC channel on the Freenode network. I want to use this space to highlight some of the initiatives that came out of this project. If I’m missing something, please let me know, and I’ll add it to this list.
Initiatives Growing Out of #phpc
- PHP User Groups
- Over the years, several PHP user groups started either directly or indirectly from participation in the #phpc channel. One group that can be directly traced to #phpc is the Atlanta PHP user group.
- PHP Security Consortium
- The PHP Security Consortium was an international group of PHP experts dedicated to promoting secure programming practices within the PHP community. It was successful at raising awareness of a variety of web application security vulnerabilities and how to write defensive code against particular kinds of attacks.
- PHP Appalachia
- The first PHP Appalachia retreat grew out of discussions on #phpc among Elizabeth Naramore, Aaron Wormus, Chris Cornutt, myself, and others.
- PHP Women
- In October 2006, Ligaya Turmelle and Elizabeth Naramore both blogged calls for women in the PHP community to “stand up and be counted”1 2. These posts were a reaction to discussions occurring in the #phpc channel and formed the foundation for what would become the PHP Women organization.
- In 2008, after some conversations in the #phpc channel discussing wrapping the libircclient library in an OO API as a PECL extension, Matthew Turland launched Phergie an IRC bot written in PHP.
- PHP Mentoring
- In the early days of PHP Women, a Big Sis/Little Sis mentoring program was established to mentor developers in both technical and life skills. The program was wildly popular and grew to be inclusive of women and men. Fast-forward to July 2012, through increasing interest in a broader program and after giving several conference talks on mentoring, Elizabeth M. Smith launched the PHP Mentoring project. Though not a direct result of activity in #phpc, I feel that there’s an indirect relationship with the PHP Community project.
- PHP Community Conference
- In 2010, there were almost no regional, community-organized PHP conferences in North America. I decided to change this by creating the PHP Community Conference in 2011. The goal was to create a different kind of conference atmosphere. We encouraged our speakers to focus on projects rather than technical how tos, as we wanted to highlight people with a passion for making things with PHP. I think we succeeded in this goal, and as history has shown, a multitude of regional, community-run conferences erupted following ours.
PHP Community Logo
A modified version of this logo is still in use in many places, and I’m often asked why the logo contains these colors. Historically, the PHP project had three major, flagship projects, of which these colors are representative:
- Green for the PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR)
- Orange/yellow for the Smarty template engine.
- Blue/purple for PHP.
My very first blog post was about the PHP Community project. In fact, it’s why I created this website. Here are some links over the years related to the PHP Community project.
- Initially, PHPCommunity.org was a wiki, where the project took shape, trying to decide how it would be organized and the content it would contain. We organized into subcommittees, each focused on particular aspects of the website (advocacy, registration, interface, news, content, etc.).
- In March 2004, Chris Shiflett wrote about the progress of the PHP Community project for International PHP Magazine.
- One of Ligaya’s first blog posts discusses her early involvement in volunteering for the PHP Community project.
- In 2005, the PHP Community project launched a Drupal-backed website.
- As for producing content, in 2005, we published several issues of the PHP Community Gazette:
- In 2006, Ligaya wrote about PHPC successes.
- In 2007, we decided to move our community to Ning (unfortunately, the Wayback Machine was unable to preserve any of the styles for the website).
- At ZendCon 2007, since at least 17 members of #phpc were attending, Ligaya organized a t-shirt order for the PHP Community project. I also wrote about the t-shirts.
- In 2009, we moved to a placeholder website and remained in this state for a very long time.
- In December 2013, I put up a better placeholder website, with links to various resources.
- Over the years, we’ve experimented with organizing our community on Google+ and Facebook. These have come with their own particular challenges with community moderation.
I’m not sure what the future holds for the PHP Community project, though I have some ideas. In the later half of 2015, I plan to share some of these ideas on my blog, so stay tuned.