Having read John’s posting, I can tell you something about the switch from Java to PHP.
In our last year’s project for the biggest european power supplier E.ON, we ported an application from Microsoft Access to PHP. No Java? Indeed. E.ON had two bids – one from their own IT daughter company, is:energy, and one from another company that bidded with Java. The reason why E.ON chose PHP for that project is the following:
PHP: about 550 mandays
Java: more than 2500 mandays
If you know what E.ON paid in whole for the PHP project, you can imagine what the Java project would have cost. The PHP project cost about 1 Mio. EUR.
There are also some other projects: for a well-known car rental company, we port their Java-based web applications to PHP. For a project for one of the biggest home retail stores in Germany (the one with the beaver), I wrote a PHP middleware (based on PHP, MySQL and the wonderful lighttpd from Jan Kneschke) which interfaces with Siebel, SAP and Flash clients at the POS. Not only that we could develop it in a rapid way (14 man days), but our customer also chose the PHP solution in favour of a Java standard product which required several servers (4 Java application servers, 2 Oracle servers – our solution has only a cluster of 2 servers) and could save more than 50,000 EUR with this solution. BTW, this PHP application has nothing to do with a normal web application – it receives requests from a Flash client, changes it to XML based requests for Siebel, receives answers from Siebel and transfers it to the Flash client. And in the night, the daily batch for SAP…
At one of our other customers, we manage about 35 customer extranets/portals since 2001. We displaced the software from Broadvision and Webfair with our flagship product, Chairman (a multi-brand, multi-international, multi-portal framework solution). The customer had a cost saving of about 90%. You can look at the powerpoint file downloadable from this place. Christos Marazidis from our customer held this session at the LinuxTag LAMPArea 2004.
There are more stories available. If you want to know more, feel free to e-mail me.