JetBrains official announcement: "PHP Foundation" will be established! PHP ushered in a new turn for the better in 26 years

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Recently, PhpStorm developer JetBrains posted on the official blog announcing that it will jointly establish the PHP Foundation with Automattic, Laravel, Laravel, Acquia and many other companies.

This is also a brand new development that has finally ushered in 2021 since the release of the PHP language 26 years ago.

The PHP Foundation will act as a non-profit organization, by funding part-time/full-time developers who contribute to the PHP language, to ensure the prosperity and sustainable development of the PHP language.

Cause of the event: core contributor Nikita Popov left PHP

In these 26 years, many people have been actively developing the PHP language, such as Rasmus Lerdorf, Zeev Suraski, Andi Gutmans, Nikita Popov, etc.

The main reason for the establishment of the PHP Foundation is precisely a plan by Nikita Popov, one of the main contributors to the PHP language-to shift attention from PHP to LLVM.

As early as 2011, Nikita Popov began to study PHP. He was still in high school at the time, he made his first contribution in PHP5.5, and then he has been engaged in PHP-related work at JetBrains for nearly 3 years (later in the PHP field for 10 years), for PHP7.4 The major versions of, PHP8.0 and PHP8.1 have made important contributions, implementing countless features, bug fixes, and improvements to the language development process.

In addition to PHP, Nikita has also been a contributor to Rust and LLVM for a long time. Like PHP, when developing a hobby into a real job, Nikita decided to focus his professional activities on LLVM.

According to reports, Nikita will leave JetBrains on December 1, and his time on PHP will be greatly reduced in the future.

Regarding Nikita's departure, JetBrains also expressed his blessings in the official blog post:

“Thank you, Nikita, for everything you’ve done for PHP! Your work is truly appreciated by millions of PHP developers.”

While feeling sad, JetBrains officials also expressed their gratitude to Nikita for everything he has done for PHP, and hope that Nikita will get better and better in the future.

The "bus factor index" problem involved in the PHP community

As we all know, because core contributors are the bearers of a lot of knowledge and expertise, the loss of major contributors is also a great blow to the PHP programming language community. It will also bring a huge burden to network maintainers, or make 78 % Of networks are placed in vulnerable situations.

This is what we often call "bus factor".


The concept of "bus factor (bus factor)" was the earliest folk definition of team cohesion in the Silicon Valley of the United States. The popular meaning is "a member of your team was hit by a bus. Can your team still Run as usual. For example, if a member of your team is absent and the work cannot be carried out, then your team’s bus index is 1, which means it is more dependent on a certain individual’s ability, which is a relatively unhealthy team status."

In May 2021, after being inspired by a blog post "Avoiding Busses" published by IT engineer Joe Watkins, the PhpStorm team under JetBrains began to discuss the idea of establishing a PHP foundation.

Through interviews with Joe and several other members of the PHP community, including Sebastian Bergmann and Stefan Priebsch (PHPUngy, PHEP.CC), the JetBrains team realized that they had started trying similar foundations as early as 2019.

For more than 20 years, Perforce's Zend has been working on PHP and has made important contributions to the PHP language, including the PHP5 object model, opcode caching, PHP7 engine, and JIT compiler. By continuing to fund the full-time and part-time developers of the PHP project, Zend helped ensure the continued prosperity and modernization of the PHP language and continue to use it for mission-critical application development.

Prior to this, JetBrains currently believes that the problem is not serious and is proceeding calmly. However, Nikita's decision this time forced JetBrains to advance the foundation related matters as soon as possible.

PHP Foundation: To ensure the longevity and prosperity of the PHP language

Therefore, JetBrains immediately started to have many dialogues with community members and companies with vested interests in PHP, and announced the list of companies that will jointly establish the PHP Foundation: Automattic, Laravel, Acquia, Zend, Private Packagist, Symfony , Craft CMS, Tideways, PrestaShop, JetBrains.

The PHP Foundation will be a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the long life and prosperity of the PHP language.

In order to start faster and make the foundation profitable, JetBrains officially decided to complete it through an open collective: OpenCopyVist.COM/PHPFAST.

According to reports, Open Collective is a foundation-as-a-service provider responsible for handling legal and accounting matters. OpenCollective is trusted by many open source projects including Vue.js, OpenWebDocs, webpack, Yii, etc.

According to the estimated fundraising of all participating companies, the JetBrains team plans to raise approximately US$300,000 per year and donate US$100,000 per year to jointly build the project.

The JetBrains team stated that it hopes to be able to pay market salaries to PHP core developers. Therefore, the more information JetBrains collects, the more developers can use PHP full-time.

About PHP

PHP (foreign name: PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, Chinese name: "hypertext preprocessor") is a general open source scripting language. The grammar absorbs the characteristics of C language, Java and Perl, is conducive to learning, is widely used, and is mainly suitable for the field of Web development.

PHP's unique syntax is a mixture of C, Java, Perl, and PHP's own syntax, enabling dynamic web pages to be executed faster than CGI or Perl.

PHP was originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. It was just a simple program written in Perl to maintain personal web pages and count the visitors to his own website. Later, it was rewritten in C language, including access to the database. He integrated these programs with some form interpreters, called PHP/FI. PHP/FI can connect with the database to generate a simple dynamic webpage program.

In 1995, Rasmus Lerdorf started to publish the first version with Personal Home Page Tools (PHP Tools). Lerdorf wrote some documents introducing this program and released PHP 1.0! In this early version, simple functions such as visitor's message book and visitor counter were provided. In the future, more and more websites use PHP, and strongly want and add some features, such as loop statements and array variables.

On June 8, 1995, Rasmus Lerdorf released PHP/FI to the public, hoping to speed up program development and find errors through the community. This released version is named PHP 2, and there are already some prototypes of PHP, such as Perl-like variable naming, form processing functions, and the ability to be embedded in HTML for execution. The program syntax is also similar to Perl, with more restrictions, but simpler and more flexible. PHP/FI added support for MySQL, and since then established PHP's position in dynamic web development. By the end of 1996, 15,000 websites were using PHP/FI.

In 1997, Rasmus Lerdorf worked as two Israeli programmers at Technion IIT: Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans. They rewrote the PHP parser and became the basis of PHP 3. And PHP was also renamed PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor at this time. After several months of testing, the development team released PHP/FI 2 in November 1997. Then began the open test of PHP 3, and finally officially released PHP 3 in June 1998.

Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans began to rewrite the core of PHP after the release of PHP 3. This parser released in 1999 is called Zend Engine. They also established Zend Technologies in Ramat Gan, Israel to manage PHP development.

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