I attended my first DrupalCon earlier this year and was amazed by the fact that I was surrounded by people who were using a project built on top of PHP – a project I dearly love – and many had no idea. In fact, out of 3,000 people in attendance, I ran into 2 members of what most of us consider “the PHP community”. Granted, I didn’t meet everyone but I did expect to run into more PHP developers. What I discovered throughout the ‘Con was that there are many developers there that are intimately familiar with PHP but identify with Drupal; they are Drupal developers, not PHP developers.
With that thought in mind, I began to think back to MSWDC’09. A discussion “errupted” there during one of the sessions that was quite telling. A core PHP developer challenged a core Drupal developer with the statement “What would happen if development stopped on PHP tomorrow?” The Drupal developer retorted “Then we would move Drupal to another language.” The room got quiet for a second as what he said sunk in. The Drupal core is interested in Drupal, if PHP becomes a pain-point for them, they feel they can switch to something less painful.