Show reflects Quebec’s PHP hotbed status

Later this month an estimated 250 PHP enthusiasts will descend up on Montreal to take part in the second annual PHP Quebec conference — and organizers say the host city is a natural for this type of event.

“Quebec is very fond of using PHP,” said Damien Seguy, a member of PHP Quebec (a provincial user group) and one of the show organizers. He said it can be found throughout the provincial government’s IS architecture, including emergency 911 dispatch systems. The government also is one of the show’s sponsors.

PHP is an open source, server side scripting language used primarily for Web development. Seguy said its attractiveness lies in its relative ease of use, particularly versus Active Server Pages (ASP), and the resulting lower total cost of ownership.

“The security is also very tight,” he added. “With PHP, the learning curve is very shallow. It’s very easy to gain experience with it.”

He said most of the current interest is coming from companies looking to upgrade aging IT systems, but that are looking to cut costs on the development end, adding that some of PHP’s rivals operate in the Windows environment, where the cost of upgrades “can be very high.”

Scheduled for Mar. 25 and 26, the show has already confirmed speakers such as Rasmus Lerdorf, the inventor of PHP, and Adam Trachtenberg, author of the O’Reilly PHP Cookbook. But most of the show’s attendees will be from Ontario and Quebec, and that’s important to the conference’s organizers, Seguy said. “Two-thirds of the speakers will remain in Canada after the conference…the expertise is in Canada, and will stay there.”

A major theme of this year’s show will be over which online content management system makes the best choice for businesses.

Seguy said last year’s inaugural show started after PHP Quebec’s monthly meetings became popular enough that the group opted to try a larger, one-time show. Nearly 150 people showed up last year and PHP Quebec is hoping to better that turnout this year.

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