WEB Advent 2008 / Why Using PHP Makes You Cooler

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of writing a regular column for the now defunct International PHP Magazine where I highlighted sites that were using PHP. I really enjoyed having an excuse to actively seek out cool ways PHP was being used, and was happy to help evangelize the use of PHP. These days, while I’m sure there are still a few idiots out there who question the use of PHP in enterprise, the rest of us know that it can safely and effectively be used for high profile web sites. That being said, anyone who knows me knows that I much prefer the little guys (no offense, Facebook, Yahoo!, and others; xox to you). So, in this post, I wanted to demonstrate why you should be using PHP if you aren’t (and validate your cool points if you are). I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to be on the same platform as these guys, even if they are smallish?

  • Beer Advocate—I did a spotlight article on these guys years ago, and when I recently contacted them to see if they were still using PHP; they replied “Yep, we still are… Love it.” For a site that is everything beer, including beer info, beer reviews, a beer magazine, an online store, and local beer tasting events, they sure have my vote. Quite simply, their motto is “Respect Beer,” and they serve ~7 million page views per month, with a membership of over 150,000 and upwards of 250 new members daily. Who can argue with that?
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000—Fans of the show MST3K know how superior this show was, even if it’s no longer on the air. It mocked everything that was awesomely bad, and if you’ve never seen it then you must do this before you die. Plus, the site uses CakePHP, so bonus points for them.
  • The World Rock Paper Scissors Society—Yes, there are professional “Rock, Paper, Scissors” players that actually go to competitions and stuff—for their jobs… seriously. As a matter of fact, the Society as it exists today has been around since 1918. Take that, losers… you could only hope to be so cool. (Okay, so they use Joomla and didn’t create the site from scratch. Sue me.)
  • Jonathan Coulton’s Web Site—We all know the awesome guy behind “Code Monkey.” Well, if PHP is good enough for him, then it’s good enough for you, right? I mean, really, he could have chosen any language to convey his message of music and geekiness, and thankfully for us, he chose correctly. (Yes, I know he uses WordPress and didn’t create the site from scratch. Sue me. Again.)
  • Rachael Ray’s Web Site—Who doesn’t love the quirky, deep-voiced ball of energy that is Rachael Ray? Aw, c’mon, you know she’s on your “Top 5.” Goodness knows she could cook you up one side and down the other and you wouldn’t know what hit you. The fact that she’s using PHP to power her web site and host all of her recipes, articles, events, forums, and other rachaelrayish things should speak to how cool she is.
  • The Computer History Museum—These guys are class-act all the way. Not only are they preserving the rich history of computers, they are running their site with PHP. I may even donate my old Atari 800 or 2600 to them. God knows I have enough cassettes and floppies to go around.
  • He-Man.org—Ok, so the site looks horrible. Who cares? It’s the official He-Man site. They can pretty much do whatever they want and still rock.
  • The Evil League of Evil—It’s no coincidence that the elusive Evil League of Evil uses PHP and that we all secretly long to join the clan just like Dr. Horrible. Hey, if it’s good enough for them, then it should be good enough for you. So make the Bad Horse gleeful, or he’ll make you his mare… (I’m pretty sure this involves PHP somehow).
  • MulletsGalore.com—There is no way you can argue that this is one of the most awesome sites around. “Join the mullitia,” so they say, and who could resist? This site not only provides an expansive photo gallery, they have also taken the mullet and broken it down into an extensive classification system consisting of 10 distinct types of mullet. Who knew?
  • NASA’s Phoenix Mars Mission—This is the ultimate in cool. As the site says, “The Phoenix Mars Lander surpassed its original three-month mission, lasting five months in the Martian northern plains, digging up scientific ‘firsts’ along the way.” Personally, I think their choice of PHP to deliver the official web site says a lot about how supreme the language really is.
  • The Instant Rimshot—Yeah I know, the site basically consists of a big red button and a rimshot. Bite me. It’s classic, and I’m proud to say that it runs on PHP.

Despite the overwhelming evidence above that supports the superiority of PHP as a language, I am sad to report, however, that Chuck Norris is not using PHP, but ASP.NET at chucknorris.com. I can only hope that this choice is part of some larger, more subversive master plan which my feeble mind can not yet comprehend… in fact I’m sure of it.

In summary, if you’re already using PHP, then bully for you. You can count yourself among the ranks of the cool and quirky. And after reading this, if you’re still not using PHP, then we don’t want you anyway.

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