Growing Support for PHP
In the Internet business, and particularly in the adult Internet business, the rapid pace of technological development has left little room for simple, static Web pages and uncomplicated efforts at communication.
The increasing demands of users, partners and the business itself have combined to create a growing pressure on webmasters to build more automation, functionality and dynamic content into their sites. And as complex scripting becomes an increasingly fundamental part of even the smallest adult Web sites, says Brad Young, of PHP program developer Zend (Zend.com), many adult Web developers, and others, are choosing PHP as their platform for building dynamic functions into their Web sites.
In April of this year, says Young, PHP became the Web’s most widely-used scripting language, according to data from Internet research organization Netcraft. But the move to PHP has been a silent revolution, he says, with the platform’s proliferation occurring almost entirely through word of mouth.
PHP’s open source development has had both negative and positive effects on the platform’s growth, says Young. While PHP has benefited from free distribution and its association with the popular Apache Web server platform, it has suffered somewhat from a lack of any strong endorsement or marketing push.
In the adult Internet business, where a significant amount of development occurs at an unsophisticated grassroots level, PHP’s $0 price tag has proven to be an appealing enough reason to begin using the platform. But beyond the simple matter of price, says Young, PHP also attracts developers with its technology benefits.
"From a technology perspective," he says, "PHP is a very fast-executing language. And it's a very easy language to learn. It was developed solely for the purpose of Web scripting, unlike something developed for something else altogether and then turned into a scripting language." Adding to its ease of use is the fact that PHP is automatically supported by most installations of Apache, the Internet’s most popular Web server, making it simple for developers to find a hosting company with support for PHP. It’s almost guaranteed that a Web hosting company will support the platform.
Zend’s own involvement with the PHP movement goes deep, says Young. The company’s two founders, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, were among the original contributors to the coding of the PHP engine, and continue to be active in the PHP community and the larger open source community today. With the promotion of PHP limited to word of mouth, says Young, part of supporting the platform for companies like Zend is providing that professional endorsement that the platform otherwise lacks.
The company itself is a logical extension of that fundamental understanding of PHP. "Zend was founded for the purpose of providing commercial backing and commercial value-added products on top of PHP," says Young. "We have a series of products that make developing, protecting and scaling your PHP applications easier."
From the development perspective, the company’s Zend Studio is a PHP development suite, designed to simplify the process of coding in PHP through color-coding, code completion and debugging capabilities. The Zend Safeguard suite is a product designed to help PHP software developers protect and sell their applications.
"The third piece," says Young, "which is of the most interest to the adult industry from our perspective, is the Zend performance suite. It enables to sites to run much more efficiently, to serve a much larger number of end users with much less hardware. And it does that with optimization and caching of content."
With the promotion of PHP limited to word of mouth, says Young, part of supporting the platform for companies like Zend is providing that professional endorsement that the platform otherwise lacks.
"We spend part of our time selling our particular value-add wares," he says, "but we also invest a significant amount of time in evangelizing for PHP in general. And that brings us no revenue; we just do it for the PHP community at large."