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Community News:
A Look Back at 2006
Jan 01, 2007 @ 20:14:02

Welcome to a brand new year in the PHP community - all sorts of possibilities are out there for this next year, but let's take a second to look back at 2006 and see some of the happenings to know where we've come from.

Read on for the full story!

The year started out great with the two new PHP releases - 4.4.2 and 5.1.2 (including the final release candidates for both versions to prepare for the final). Jim Plush posted about a growing trend in the PHP world - the decoding of Zend Encoder files (including Zend's inattention to it) and Chris Shiflett got the ball rolling with more on PHP insecurity.

The eZ components crew saw the release of of the stable version of their application development platform - eZ compontents - and announced a workshop to be held in Germany to give developers the full informetion. Some developers were still looking back at 2005 including Chris Shiflett and Derick Rethans while others in the community looked forward towards the just announced New York PHP Conference & Expo.

The Pro PHP Podcast and php|architect magazine teamed up in a collaboration that came to be known as "php|architect's Pro PHP Podcast", providing the latest news and interviews in a compact, audio form for the masses to download. One if their first shows was an interview with Andi Gutmans of Zend.

The big talk going on in February was the collaboration between Oracle and PHP. Rumors were floating around about what it could be about and how Zend would be involved. Several people mentioned it including Pierre-Alain Joye, Christian Wenz and Richard Davey.

Some negative vibes were floating around this month with some comments from Marco Tabini about how the "PHP brand" has been diluted by some of the actions of the community and from the Sephitroth site that asked if PHP5 was just a big failure because of its slow adoption rate. Tim Bray also had some comments on PHP and what he thought of it and it's future. Chauy.com helped to balance it out a bit, though, with their positive spin on LAMP being the most popular server system ever.

This month also saw the release of PEAR 1.4.7 and talk of best practices, MVC frameworks (a top 10 list), and code coverage with PHPUnit 3.

March was a big month in the PHP community - it was the first release of the (now infmous) Zend Framework, their first Release Candidate. This first release was soon followed by another, Candidate 0.1.2, to help address some of the issues that had already popped up. With the framework project going strong, many updates were made around it including new additions to the manual and many comments from the community. The SitePoint PHP blog looked at the Zend_Filter component, Paul Jones mentioned some of the differences between it Solar (his framework), Davey Shafik gave an example of using it with Flickr and PHPied.com showed how simple it was to grab an RSS feed with it.

IBM also published a popular item on its developerWorks blog - a suggested reading list for any PHP developer, both budding and the old hands. The latest version of PEAR was released (1.4.9) and two release candidates were made available for PHP - 5.1.3RC1 and 5.1.3RC2. Even more looked towards the future with a look at PHP6 from DotVoid.com and the announcement about the upcoming Zend/PHP Conference & Expo to happen later in the year in San Jose, California. PHP statistics also were seeing a rise, encouraging the community even further.

When April rolled around, things were still going strong in relation to the Zend Framework. More and more tutorials were popping up around it - people were integrating it with Smarty, integrating it with eZ components, using it with the Google Calendars, and talking about the contributor license it has in place. The framework itself also had another release - version 0.1.3

Also big news this month was the php|tek conference put on by php|architect. Many bloggers shared their experiences at the event including: Davey Shafik, Scott Johnson and Ilia Alshanetsky. Other bloggers wrote from the other conference held this month, PHP Quebec, such as Chris Shiflett and Andrei Zmievski.

And, of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention our little prank played on the community - a post joking that Zend was splitting off from the PHP project.

Conferences were the big topic this month with some people in the community looking forward to events like the New York PHP Conference and others looking back at php|tek. The session list for the New York PHP Conference was posted, including many of the popular speakers and topics, and the French PHP group in Paris issued their Call for Papers for their upcoming Forum PHP conference in Paris. Several bloggers wrote more about their experience at the php|tek conference including Christian Wenz, Davey Shafik, Andrei Zmievski, Chris Shiflett, and even a podcast from the even from Scott Johnson.

The latest version in the 5.1.x series was also released (5.1.3) but was quickly followed by another (5.1.4) to fix a large bug in the previous edition. Filip de Waard posted a warning after the first release for developers to avoid using it until the update was posted. Thankfully, the PHP team was quick in releasing the update.

By this month, the New York PHP Conference and Expo had wrapped up and bloggers around the community were posting slides and talking about their experiences. Another group, however, was looking forward to another event just starting out. The PHP Appalachia conference was announced and a reminder for registration was made later in the month. The event, similar to the other "camp" series found for other languages, was a different kind of conference that took developers out of the conference halls and into the woods.

More information on php|works & db|works conference was also shared in the form of the speaker list being posted. The PHP Vikinger event got off to a great start. Several releases and tutorials were posted including one that got a good bit of attention - a PHP script for decoding CAPTCHA images. The Zend Framework release their latest version, 0.1.4, and Oracle released their "Underground PHP and Oracle Manual".

June was also the month that this site got its latest makeover. We decided to keep up to date with things in the community and move over from our custom-made blogging application to a new system using the Zend Framework. This new backend also came with a new front end look and s more back-to-basics approach of just providing the latest happenings in the PHP community. So far, the reaction's been great!

In July, OSCON got into full swing and several PHPers were in attendance. Included in those attending was one that got a bit more recognition than he thought he would for some "playing cards" he created - Cal Evans' OSCON trading cards. There was more framework talk this month too with Paul Jones' introduction to Solar and IBM developerWorks' look at the Zend Framework.

It was also a sad day for the PHP group when one of the lead developers, Jani Taskinen, devided to leave the project. He posted his thoughts and reasons to his blog and news of the event even reached the Slashdot community.

Zend also announced that they are creating a version of their certification for PHP 5 that will be released soon.

August saw a lot of releases and not just from the PHP group. They advanced the language with many releases inclduing PHP 5.1.5, 5.1.6, 4.4.3, and the release candidate for PHP 4.4.4RC1 posted for testing - followed soon by the final release of PHP 4.4.4. Also released this month were PEAR 1.4.11, Seagull 0.6.0, Solar 0.23.0, and the Windows libraries for the PHP 4.4.3 and 4.4.3 series to work with MySQL.

Another hot topic this month was the interview of Rasmus Lerdorf on the Floss Weekly podcast. Also, both the Tiobe.com and Nexen.net statistics show even more growth this month for PHP.

September was a month of updates on everything from conference news to software releases to new offerings from this site. This was the month that we decided to start two things - the "talks" page to try and keep track of all of the slides that have been posted for all of the conferences happening and the job postings that are open to the public. The job postings have been coming in and we've posted them up just as soon as we've gotten them in an effort to share them quickly with the entire community.

The PHP Appalachia group announced their conference schedule (including plenty of time being outdoorsy) and some great topics. The PHP Weekender announced that they officially had 50 people signed up for the event. With the php|works & db|works event completed, bloggers were posting thier recaps of the event including the Zend Developer Zone, Christian Wenz, and Sebastian Bergmann.

Zend also announced the launch of their mailing lists for the Zend Framework as well as the release of a new version of the Zend Core for Oracle.

More conference news came up this month as "PHP conference season" continues on - everything from PHPLondon, the Zend/PHP Conference, the PHP Brasil Conference, the D.C. PHP Conference, and next year's php|tek conference.

There was big news on the Zend Framework front, not only that they released the next candidate - version 0.2.0 - but also that the project now has a new leader. Due to health-related issues, Jayson Maynard was no longer able to head up the project, so Bill Karwin stepped in to take the lead. He sent out an email to the Zend Framework mailing list to let everyone know who he was and where he wanted to take the project in the future.

Two other community events happened this month - Google released their "Code Search" functionality (and opened the code of applictions all over the world to be searched - and possibly exploiting them. hooray for security!) and the PHP Women group launched in an effort to unify female PHP developers all over the world.

The PHP project moved forward on the mission towards PHP 5.2 with release canidates 5.2.0RC5 and RC6.

This month saw one of the most aniticipated PHP releases of the year - PHP 5.2. This release also includes the new filter extension to help even more with the protection of PHP applications and one of the keys to good coding - always filter input. ImprovedSource.com took a look at the differences between this new release and the previous version (5.1).

The Zend/PHP Conference was also in the news, having just wrapped up at the beginning of the month and several people posted about it including Cal Evans (of the Zend Developer Zone) posted his wrapup (including a mention of the deck of cards handed out) as well as many others. There was even a video posted with a collage of photos taken at the event.

Other exciting releases were made this month too - Zend's Studio 5.5 universal binary and PHPUnit 3.0.


One of the big topics this month was the inclusion of taint functionality into the core of of PHP. Tobias Schlitt shared some comments about it as well as the PHP 10.0 Blog and many others. Some people, like Sara Golemon, already started to look back at the year, giving different perspectives on the happenings of the year.

PHP statistics were mentioned again this month, some from O'Reilly (PHP 5 adoption) and from DynamicWebPages. The Zend Framework also released their latest version, 0.6.0.

Well, that about wraps it up for 2006 - we know there's tons of topics that weren't mentioned but were just as important. If we mentioned all of them, though, this post would take you hours to read. So, we've condensed it down and tried to provide links to just about everything. It was a great year for PHP with tons of improvements, problems, and contributions from all over the world.

Here's to looking forward to a great 2007 and great things to come for everyone's favorite language!

tagged: wrapup lookback year 2006 wrapup lookback year 2006


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