I was first introduced to PHP in 1998 as I had begun looking for an alternative to Microsoft’s Classic ASP and Netscape LiveWire which my consulting company was using extensively at the the time.  It was only a few years later after I had joined the Developer Tools & Platforms initiative at Microsoft that I got a call from Brian Goldfarb, who was then also at Microsoft working in the Developer Marketing group. Brian knew that I had done some PHP work prior to joining Microsoft and he was preparing for an executive briefing on “this open source web development technology” that Microsoft was worried about competing against.

For a few years I was the PHP competitive specialist at Microsoft but after a couple of years Microsoft’s PHP strategy started to evolve and the Windows division, along with the IIS team came to believe a better approach was to embrace PHP and work to make it run well on Windows. I spent six more years working with PHP on Windows. At that time, PHP worked on Windows but lacked the performance and stability needed by mission critical production applications.

I met Andi Gutmans (the co-founder of Zend Technologies) as Microsoft contacted Zend to solicit their help with improving the PHP experience on Windows. Around the same time I met Zeev Suraski (the other co-founder at Zend) at a PHP Developer’s event that we were both speaking at.

Over the years Andi and I continued to cross paths and, since Zend’s USA headquarters is in Cupertino CA, and Mozilla’s is in Mountain View, last year I was able to stop by and see the things Zend has been working on. I was amazed.

Andi introduced me to Elaine Lennox, Zend’s CMO. Conversations ensued, the timing is right and so, today I join Zend as Director of Developer Strategy.

What does that mean, exactly. Well, I’m not sure I know, (it’s my first day) but i have a few high level goals that I’ll be focusing on.

  • Helping Zend take a more active role in the PHP community as a whole.
  • Helping Enterprise PHP Developers, including over 40,000 Zend customers successfully build and manage world class applications.
  • Helping the Zend engineering teams understand PHP developer’s needs to that they can build the best possible professional PHP development products.

Ok, but what does that translate to in terms of action ?

Well, it;s only 8:00am on my first day 🙂 but I plan to ….

  • Build a team of community rock stars
  • Build tons of great content for PHP developers
  • Build content that helps developers get the most from Zend Server (including the free version) and Zend Studio
  • Drive adoption of Zend Server FREE Edition
  • Grow DevZone
  • More, more, more…….

I’ve always been enthusiastic about PHP as a language. If you consider the trends toward mobile applications and cloud based computing, PHP presents an even more attractive choice for developers that in the “classic” era of dynamic web applications.

I’m incredibly excited. This feels not just like a great job, but a great opportunity to do exciting and significant things. I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life doing technical community building with a product influence focus, I excited about being able to immerse myself in the PHP community

So I invite you. Use the contact form here on my blog and tell me as a PHP developer or Zend Server / Studio user, what would YOU DO !