I am a IT guy in my fellowship. Three years ago, I started to learn PHP. I developed the first version contact management system. Now, I will use open-source system, may be I will develop some codes. I may add some aJax function.
There are some open source existing system in my fellowship. Mailman is the email list system. It enhance the communications among the members. Now, we have an email address which reach all members. Moreover, I used CopperMine as the photo album. Previously, we had a big photo. If someone take a photo his/her camera, he/she needs to send to everyone. In most of the cases, he/she forgot about it. Now they need to send it to me , I will upload for them. Or I trusted him/her enough and give an account to him/her, he/she can do it by himself/herself.
I am a Java, C#, JScript and PHP Programmer. I like Java and C#. One of reasons is they have a very good IDE. C# has Visual Studio, Java got NetBean. But PHP seem to have eclipse. But This is not bundle with a Deployment Server, and this is hard to debug a PHP script by eclipse. You may argue with me, PHP is mainly for some small web applications. Well, I am not saying PHP is not good. I just think if there is a good IDE for PHP, then I like PHP more.
Last night, I setup PHP server in my Windows XP box.
There are steps I did:
1. Download PHP installer from PHP.net
2. Run it.
(Note: Remember PHP will run in CGI mode, there are no PEAR library)
3. Go to pear.php.net/go-pear and it as a PHP file in the PHP root dir.
4. run http://localhost/php/go-pear.php.
5. edit [WINDOWS]\php.ini
include_path = ".;c:\php\includes;[PHP_root]\PEAR"
I hope these steps can help you.