PHP Enterprise Applications on Tap

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-06-02 Print this article Print

Started in the mid-1990s as a simple scripting language for Web sites, PHP has become one of the premier languages for developing enterprise-class Web applications.

Started in the mid-1990s as a simple scripting language for Web sites, PHP has become one of the premier languages for developing enterprise-class Web applications (see phpESP review).

Some of the most popular and powerful applications have been developed in PHP, and a growing number of commercial applications and services are also starting to take advantage of PHP, which can be easy for any developer to learn. Here are a few examples of open-source enterprise applications based on PHP.

Community portal applications: PHP-Nuke is probably the best-known and most popular PHP application available today. (Its the No. 1 download at This extremely flexible, easy-to-manage portal application offers everything from easy Web publishing to community forums to file downloads to Slashdot-like blogging (

Discussion forum software: If a site you regularly visit offers discussion forums for its visitors, theres a good chance these forums are running on phpBB. PhpBB provides excellent topical threaded forums that are as good as or better than many commercial services and applications (

Customer service and help desk applications: As customer service applications and self-service applications have become more and more Web-based, PHP has become a powerful player in this software category. PHP Live (at is a commercial customer service and customer relationship management application that provides a full set of live service, communications and marketing options. The RightNow Technologies Inc. customer self-service system that eWEEK Labs recently reviewed is also based on PHP. (See the April 21 review of RightNow eService Center 5.5.)

Web content management: Content management is probably one of the most active areas of PHP development, with an entire range of options, from simple Web publishing systems to full-fledged enterprise content management systems.

Although these are some of the most active areas, PHP has been used to build pretty much any application type that runs through a Web interface, from system management applications to project management to online seminars to surveys.

Chances are, if youre looking for a Web-based enterprise application, theres a PHP-based implementation out there. For more information on PHP, go to

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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