This past week Burlingame, California was host to the first Zend/PHP conference. The keynotes included presentations by the founders of Zend (Andi, Zeev and Doron), as well as Marc Andreessen (Netscape wunderkind), Rod Smith (IBM's open source guru), Ken Jacobs (Oracle's Dr DBA) and Adam Bosworth (Google) among others.
Zend also announced their initiatives around a collaboration platform for PHP that involves many vendors including MySQL, Oracle, IBM, Actuate and SugarCRM as well as the PHP community at large to develop the Zend PHP framework as well as integration with Eclipse.
Marc Andreessen's keynote was particularly interesting as he made the case that PHP is really the language going forward. For those who missed the 1990's (or are still trying to forget it) this is an amazing endorsement both for PHP and for Zend. Andreessen was a huge proponent of Java and he's come to the realization that PHP will likely dwarf Java in terms of overall programmer penetration. There are perhaps 5 million Java programmers and PHP could easily exceed 20 million worldwide. I believe that PHP is really the Visual Basic for the next generation of web developers. It's easy to use, easy to get started and enables you to deliver great applications in less time.
PHP is used by major organizations like ADP, Disney, Lufthansa, Nasa, large scale web sites like eBay, Flickr, TheFaceBook, Yahoo, startup companies like ActiveGrid, SugarCRM and thousands of others.