KillerSites Blog

PHP vs. Ruby

May 9, 2006

With all the buzz about Ruby these days (because of the web application framework ‘Ruby on Rails’) Zend (the people who manage PHP) are feeling the pressure.

Nerd Note: a ‘web application framework’ makes creating databased driven websites much easier because the framework takes care of a lot of the ‘dirty’ work that you would normally have to build yourself.

As far as Zend is concerned, PHP is not getting its’ fair share of attention even though PHP is:

  • Much more available than Ruby – in terms of hosting.
  • PHP is a widely used and a proven language with big sites like Yahoo, Digg and Flickr using it.
  • PHP is easy to use and easy to learn.

As I mentioned above, Ruby’s recent rise has been largely due to the web application framework ‘Ruby on Rails’. So in response to this, Zend has developed their own framework called: Zend Framework.

Along with the Zend Framework, comes a nifty new web site. From the press release:

Future of Web Application Design Is Here and Looking Good

Varien, a web design and development firm, has redesigned the Web site for Zend Technologies’ PHP framework. Varien completed the redesign as part of an effort to reposition PHP as the cleanest and most simple programming language.

Los Angeles, CA—April 20, 2006—Varien has completed redesigning the Zend Technologies’ new PHP Framework Web site in an effort to make the Framework more accessible. The Framework is a powerful new tool for Web developers, providing a simple, standardized way to create powerful web applications using PHP.

The redesign was part of a broader effort to reposition PHP, which included designing a new logo for the Framework. By repositioning PHP Zend hopes to make the Framework and PHP more appealing to current Web developers and less intimidating to those looking to get into Web development.

“Here you have PHP, a programming language that runs Flickr, Wikipedia, Digg, and even Yahoo, and yet Ruby has become synonymous with the new Web,” said Ben Blumenfeld, the Design Director at Varien. “Hopefully this redesign makes Web designers and entrepreneurs take another look at PHP. With Zend’s Framework, PHP is now simpler, faster and more powerful than it has ever been.”

PHP usage has grown tremendously since PHP4 was released in 2000. However, PHP has recently lost some of its mindshare to the heavily touted Ruby on Rails, despite a huge gap in actual usage. (TIOBE programming community index)

The Zend Framework aims to provide a high-quality, commercial-friendly and open-source based solution for programming in PHP. Zend is excited about the Framework’s usability and knows the site redesign will help developers get the most out of the new technology.

“The coolness fact is also important in initially attracting Web developers and is complementary to the technology. The new look of our Web site enables us to build a more appealing perception of the Zend Framework,” said Andi Gutmans, the vice president of technology at Zend.

The Framework can be found at The redesign allows users to download the framework from the front page and highlights projects created using PHP in a section on the front page.


This is the $64 000 question. But we have to consider one point: Ruby has capability that is widely used in Rails that PHP simply does not have; so can a PHP framework be as effective as Rails?

Nerd-minds want to know!

Stefan Mischook