Lee, Nielsen, Bertrand, Benjamin, Jackson, Stoltz

A Panel Discussion

Business Use of PHP
52 minutes, 23.9mb, recorded 2005-10-20

Panelists from PayPal, Filemaker, StepUp Commerce and Direct Response Technology discuss the reasons why they are choosing PHP for in-house and customer application development over other development platforms such as Java/JSP and .Net. Throughout the discussion one common theme emerges: time to market. Speed of development is the true value underlying their choice of PHP. One panelist concisely summarizes the rationale behind his decision – “quicker, easier, better.”

As PHP advances into larger companies, developers who in the past had favored other languages are recognizing the importance of the continuous contributions and support of the open source community. There are extensive resources built around the PHP core readily available on the web. As one panelist notes, when faced with a business problem they typically query Google and are presented with a number of options built by individuals who have faced similar or in some cases identical challenges. More significantly, he argues that these solutions are reliable. The PHP community has used them over and over. Due to the nature of open source they are improved as they are used and progressively grow more dependable. This results in a considerable benefit for the PHP developer in the form of increased productivity and effectiveness.

Will PHP become a staple in the enterprise marketplace? The future is yet to be written. The panelists articulate a desire for a level of control and authority to reign in what is becoming a fragmented and potentially overwhelming number of practices, solutions and coding styles. On the other hand, they caution that their desire for standards and best practices should not sacrifice the flexibility and open nature that is PHP’s greatest strength. This tension could prove as daunting as it has for other technologies. It is up to the stewards of open source PHP to prove that it can progress to the top end of the market without sacrificing the qualities that make it valuable today. Because, in the world of technology, there is always another “quicker, easier, better” just on the horizon.


Aaron Lee is senior manager, PayPal Merchant Technology. Lee is an engineer, strategist and entrepreneur with a background in operations research, ecommerce, payments, and media distribution. His current role has him actively engaged in changing the reality of merchant services for the betterment of buyers and sellers alike.

David Nielsen is manager of the PayPal Developer Network and co-author of PayPal Hacks. Nielsen helps eBay's PayPal business unit help customers develop innovative ecommerce Web sites built on the PayPal Web services platform. Prior to joining PayPal, he was an expert ecommerce consultant at Persistent Web for seven years.

Mike Bertrand is chief technology officer of StepUp Commerce. Bertrand brings 15 years of Silicon Valley technology innovation to his job. Bertrand founded UptimeOne, a custom solutions provider in the collaboration and logistics management sector in 1992. Bertrand led a team of Hewlett-Packard and UptimeOne engineers to develop and deploy TeamUp!, the world’s first ASP-hosted, Web-based contact, task, and meeting management software. He was also co-founder and chief technical officer of SecureBill, a telco billing company that securely billed Internet transactions through the phone bill, for all U.S. local exchange carriers.

Jeff Benjamin, a senior manager at FileMaker. Inc., is a 20 year software developer veteran, Benjamin is currently an information systems manager and business systems developer at Filemaker, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Computer. His responsibilities include systems development, support and maintenance of CRM, Webstore, sales force automation and other business productivity applications.

Adam Jackson is small business program manager at StepUp Commerce. Jackson has 7 years ecommerce software development experience helping online and offline retailers enhance their businesses through their online presence. The company he founded, MarketSquare, a popular San Francisco Internet local shopping service that allowed consumers to search for unique local products from the city's rich set of retailers, was acquired by StepUp Commerce in March 2005. Jackson's current role is to drive new technologies that further expose the inventories of small retail businesses across country to foot traffic.

Gregory Stoltz is vice president of technology and chief technical officer of Direct Response Technologies, where he develops ebusiness systems. Stoltz is former chief technical officer of Vention, where he was responsible for all facets of technology and its application to the company's client base. Prior to joining Vention, Stoltz co-founded an e-commerce company, eReserve.net designed to deliver a scalable and horizontal scheduling platform. Before starting eReserve.net, Stoltz held several technology management positions with Cerner Corporation, a leading supplier of clinical and management information systems and software to the healthcare industry.

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