Why PHP?

An associate of mine recently asked for some metrics to help him back up their decision to move away from JSP and toward PHP. In a recent post, I looked at the fact that many major corporations are using PHP, yet we rarely hear about it. To help address some of the concerns about deploying PHP in the enterprise, this month’s article in International PHP Magazine will focus on, “Enterprise PHP Coding Standards” you can enforce in your organization to ensure high-quality code. A teaser article on the topic is currently available.

But is this enough to make the case in the boardroom?
For those that want hard facts and figures, the PHP site’s usage statistics report shows that PHP is poised to break the 20 Million domains mark very soon. That means 20 million sites running PHP. Furthermore, it is the most popular plugin to the most popular web server on the Internet–Apache.

Zend seems to have stepped up to the plate these days with a page for businesses evaluating PHP that puts some of the decisions into a business context (albeit still very technical). They also attempt to answer the question, “Why PHP?” with a quote from Gartner, some whitepapers, and some bullet points. Just the kind of thing executives want to see before signing off on a major decision.

Clearly, Zend’s agenda is to sell Zend products and services to businesses that use PHP. Yet the information is well presented and I appreciate that it is being made available. Unfortunately, the php.net web site remains entirely geared toward developers. The closest thing to a business case is their usage statistics, which are still more inclined to turn the heads of developers than executives. My question to the community: isn’t it about time for a vendor-agnostic set of resources and information about the business value of PHP?