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PHP User Groups diffusion initiative

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Categories: New site features, PHP User Groups, Gamification

As we all know, the PHP community has grown without much commercial support from companies investing large sums of money to market it. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful means of spreading news about PHP capabilities.

Unfortunately, however, PHP is not so well known and supported everywhere in the world. In regions where PHP is more popular, user groups exist which promote regular meetings and other initiatives to provide opportunities for users to build their knowledge and obtain local PHP support.

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In many places it has also happened that local PHP groups were started but have ended after a while because there were not enough active users with free time to dedicate to user group activities. The problem is usually the lack of a critical mass of users to keep the user groups alive and ensure that the meetings continue to take place regularly.

Sometimes there are enough users in a region to support a vibrant user group, but it often happens that many of the users of that region do not know about the existence of local PHP user groups.

On the other hand, the PHP Classes site is very popular. It receives visits from users in more than 130 countries every month. So, one thing that can be done is to let the users of each country in the world tell others about the local PHP groups that exist. This is the goal of the PHP User Groups diffusion initiative that has just been started.

The PHP User Groups diffusion initiative is not meant to compete with other initiatives focused on promoting PHP user groups. Other initiatives that have sites that list regional user groups are invited to participate as well and submit their pages for listing.

The way this initiative works is very simple. The leaders of the existing user groups can submit information about their groups, including the user group page and details about its geographic location, to the following page of the PHP Classes site: ...

The submission page contains complete instructions but you should be aware in advance that there are two requirements for submitting a PHP user group:

1 - You must be a subscriber to PHP Classes. This way the site will know how to contact you if there are problems with the user group page.

2 - Your user group page must contain a link back to a special page of the PHP Classes site that points to some interesting information about your country.

The link URL must take the form

where xx is the ISO code of the country of the user group. For instance, if the user group is located in Germany, since Germany ISO code is de the link URL must be:

The inclusion of a link to this page is necessary to verify that this is a page submitted by a member of the group who is responsible for the site. The link will also be verified regularly to check that the user group page still exists and hopefully that the group is still active.

There are sites that list pages of PHP user groups but often some of their links point to pages that do not exist because the user group is dead. This initiative of the PHP Classes site aims to avoid this dead user group listings problem as much as possible.

The country page in the PHP Classes site also shows links to other pages on the site with information related to your country, like: listing of authors from your country who have published classes on the site, listing of active registered user groups in your country, etc. So, the text of the link to your country page may be anything, but it is recommended to be something like: "PHP Resources in Our-Country-name-here" e.g. "PHP Resources in France".

As a side note, I would like to mention that from now on the country pages also have links to a new kind of pages just added to the site that list just classes meant for use in applications mainly used in specific country,

This is a new feature that will help local PHP users locate useful country specific classes and hopefully encourage more authors to contribute with more classes meant to help their country fellows. The list of countries for which there are already some country specific classes is located here: ...

Back to the user groups topic, once a user group is submitted, it will be checked, and if everything is correct, it will be approved for listing. One place where it may be listed is in the welcome page that appears when users login to the site. If the user group is located in a region near the location from where the user is accessing the site, the site will show him the user group page link and other details about your group, in a way that the users can not help noticing it.

Since some user groups kindly cooperated in the beta testing period, these groups are registered already, and you may find out about them by going to this page that lists the countries of those groups:

From now on it is up to you. If you are a member of an existing local PHP user group, do not hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity to obtain what will hopefully be great exposure for your group.

I also would appreciate constructive criticisms or more ideas to make this initiative more effective. If you have any ideas, just let me know about them. Please send your comments to

You may also discuss your thoughts in the PHP Classes community forum in Orkut here:

If you are not a member of Orkut and need an invitation to join, just email me at and I will gladly send you an invitation. If you have already sent me a invitation request, please be patient as I have received several hundred requests in the last few days, but I will send invitations to everybody who asked me.

If in two days you do not receive an invitation message, your message or mine might have gotten trapped in some virus or spam filter. In that case, please mail me at .

Once you have became a member of Orkut you still need to go to the page above and use the button to join the PHP Classes community.

While you are at Orkut, I strongly recommend you to join the main PHP community and help PHP become even more visible. You can join in this page:

Manuel Lemos

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1. Nice article - Jankit (2009-05-14 08:36)
It is really an interesting article... - 0 replies
Read the whole comment and replies


1. PHP User Group Listing (and Rank) (2010-01-14 10:01)
On the blog today there’s a new post from Manuel Lemos looking at user groups - how to keep them alive and what you can do to rekindle a faltering group...

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