Wonder how many PHP developers there are in your country? Are you curious as to the most popular browser among PHP developers? Manuel Lemos has a new blog post up at PHPclasses.org entitled “How Large Is the PHP Market?”, in which he delves into these questions and more.
Manuel uses a Zend estimate of 5 million for the total worldwide number of developers. There is no documentation or methodology provided by Zend as to how that number was determined, but Manuel seems to think it is a reasonable estimate. I disagree only to the extent I am not so quick to discard the notion this number could have been just pulled out of thin air. For the sake of discussion, however, it is an adequate figure.
Also provided is a methodology you can use to extrapolate the number of PHP developers in your country. In the U.S., for example, he estimates 637,000. If you now feel much less unique and more easily replaceable, just remember that quality of work varies greatly and is your ticket to separating yourself from the herd.
In terms of development environments, the most suprising news is that 68% of PHP developers use Firefox as their development browser (myself included). This is compared to a similar percentage of IE users in the general population. Clearly this is due to Firefox’s superior developer tools and plugins, and probably to a somewhat lesser extent to Firefox’s standards compliance. Why bang your head against the wall at the start of a project when you can wait until the end to do your IE validation?
There’s considerably more discussion in the article, so I encourage you to check it out if you’re interested in things like the percentage of web servers running Apache, or the number of Linux desktop users among PHP developers.