If you're a PHP Developer, you are familiar with the PHP web site, www.php.net. This site has looked the same, for I don't know how long, but for at least, six or seven years, if not longer. The old pastel purple and gray colors were instantly recognized when you went to the web site.
A side note, notice in the image above that PHP 5.3.9 has been released. This is just a subtle way for me to announce a new release of PHP.
Back to talking about the web site, I have visited the old site a multitude of times, and it's usually my first click when I want to do a quick check for the correct syntax. The site was OK, but quite frankly, I never cared for it much, and found myself always looking for another site to round out my knowledge of a particular code snippet.
The reason why I didn't like it was I always thought the examples weren't good, and the explanations were worse. I wanted to see the syntax used in a code snippet, and a simple use, and explanation of the code in question. Somehow you always ended up paging down the page, and not finding what you were looking for, It was frustrating. I also didn't end up reading the comments on the page, because I was in a hurry, and it was just easier to go to another web site, and find a better tutorial. A lot of my articles on PHP stem from my frustration with the PHP site, and the fact that I needed to go some where else to find what I needed.
Well, this may be changing. Apparently, I'm not the only one who didn't like the site. The PHP Group has decided to gradually retire the old site, and is in the process of building a new site, more modern looking, and I, for one, am highly optimistic that this will be a one-stop site for my PHP questions.
You can view a preview of the new site as it is coming together here: http://prototype.php.net/
The really good news, is that The PHP Group is asking for contributions to their documentation, and are not just going to paste the old documentation into the new site. I have viewed some of the pages in their new documentation, and it seems improved.
A comment on the new design, I think it is a much cleaner looking, an easier-to-read site. At first, I thought the font was too small, but you can re-size the site with your ctrl-mouse wheel to your preferred size font. You could do that with the old site too.
The font and the white background, not surrounded by gray sidebars, like the old site, is much easier to read. It makes the site more wide open and not as cluttered. A big improvement over the old site. The gray sidebars of the old site were a downer to me, and made me want to move on to another site to get to a brighter and cleaner environment. The gray of the old site was like a rainy day, gray, and gloomy, and the content was like baby food, bland. Good reasons to upgrade the site.
On the new site, if you click on the documentation, community, or help top menu, for example, the site mimics the CodeIgniter documentation layout in using a table of contents as the intro page to that section. This is a nice touch, and makes you want to look around more than if the option were stuck in the sidebar, like in the old site. I found myself clicking various topics that provoked my interest, a big plus for the new site.
For a while it looks like you may have to visit both the old and new to get your information, or go to one of those "other" sites. A lot of the pages on the old site are not available from time to time. While I was writing this article both sites showed up with white space instead of the documentation. If you would like to speed the new site along The PHP Group is looking for contributors.