25 Ways to help out PHP

1) submit bug reports (anything from technical problems to documentation errors/typos)
2) contribute to the user comments in the manual
3) volunteer at a forum to help answer some of the questions the best you can
4) lurk in the IRC channels and help where you can (they can be a bit testy at times- but mean well)
5) subscribe to the mailing list and help where you can
6) Advocate PHP

help QA team
7) write phpt tests for the QA team
8) volunteer access to your server to a QA Team member.
9) contact the QA team to help test PHP release candidates

help PEAR
10) propose and write a package
11) volunteer to take over a package that is no longer maintained
12) check out the bug reports on your favorite package – pick one and fix it.
Then submit your patch to the lead developer for inclusion.
13) volunteer to write docs for your favorite package
14) buy something from someones wishlist for them

help Docs
(contact their mailing list for more inforamtion)
15) Help write docs for new features or features currently with little documentation (with PHP6 coming out – there will be a lot of new features to document – as well as old pages that will need adjustments/rewritings)
16) mirror the docs on your server
17) help with translating the docs
18) help clear documentation bugs

help Pecl
19) Write an extension
20) volunteer to write docs for your favorite extension
21) check out the bug reports on your favorite extension – pick one and fix it.
Then submit your patch to the lead developer for inclusion.
22) buy something from someones wishlist for them

help Core
(it is not uncommon for patches to be discussed and modified before acceptance. Contact the mailing list for more information)
23) submit patches to fix known bugs
24) submit patches for new features (these usually are “discussed” the most)
25) help benchmark releases

Have I missed any other ways? Let me know.

Comments (83)

stefanAugust 10th, 2006 at 10:49 am

Helping PEAR is a bit short-sighted I think. It should read “Helping Open Source projects using PHP”. PEAR is just one of the many projects out there, and even though it’s one of the official projects, it’s not the best one out there (well, imho of course).

Sara GolemonAugust 10th, 2006 at 3:18 pm

26) Help the unicode conversion effort ( http://php.net/~scoates/unicode/render_func_data.php )

P.S. – Use a darker font, this renders like ash on snow

ThomasAugust 10th, 2006 at 4:34 pm

PHP does not seem to want any help. Anywhere you try to help you will encounter snobs.
They mark your bugs as bogus or tell you it would be intended behaviour although someone else fixes them couple of weeks later.
Enter an IRC-Channel and get kicked out as soon as you admit that you are unhappy with a certain feature / the lack of a certain feature.
That are just 2 examples i experienced recently. The PHP world is very unfriendly in general. Especially when you are not a PHP guru. It does not matter how much experience you have with other languages. If you do not have as much knowledge as they (the snobs) have, they will hate you.
By the way: your 25 ways are not really 25 ways. Most are very similar.

Philip OlsonAugust 10th, 2006 at 9:58 pm

Information about writing documentation for any PHP.net project, especially the PHP Manual itself, can be found around the following site (read the HOWTO!):


Stefan: PHP installs PEAR by default so it being improved directly affects the PHP project unlike some random open source script that happens to be written in PHP. Nothing short-sighted here unless everything is compared to “helping promote world peace” but that wouldn’t be fair ;-)

Thomas: Complaining about a feature in a general PHP help channel sounds like trolling and trolls are disliked by all. And likely your complaints have been discussed before and humans get tired of hearing about it so quickly act accordingly. Humans are human. ~1100 people can comment on bugs (as Devs) all of which work independently of each other. Judging an entire community based on a tiny sample isn’t fair especially when providing no real evidence. But, we digress.

ligAugust 10th, 2006 at 10:53 pm

stefan – I intensionally chose PEAR becuase it is an offically sanctioned project. Yes there are many other projects one can help (and should), but I couldn’t go listing them… and it never occured to me to say “Helping Open Source projects using PHP”. So we can make that 27.

Sara – is this better or do you want it a little darker again?

Thomas – I am sorry you had such a rough time of it. I have always found the PHP Community to be an extremely friendly and welcoming group. But then I first joined it knowing next to nothing and knowing how completely ignorant I was so I walked softly. I must have been pitiful since a couple of people took pity on me and have basically become my mentors. I can’t thank them (zircu and lunatech) enough.

The bogus bugs – well sometimes things slip through the cracks. They are overworked volunteers after all. As for the IRC – yeah they can be a bit intense/short-tempered. But then it is their playground and until you have “earned your strips” you have to play by their rules. I personally have never had a problem logically discussing the various features/lack of features in PHP in the IRC so don’t know what to say. Maybe they were in a bad mood, maybe you had come in after someone else was trolling on the subject. Don’t know.

AmitSeptember 20th, 2006 at 9:26 am


Ribamar FSOctober 2nd, 2006 at 3:37 pm


I want to help the eliminate errors in the manual of the PHP translate to postuguese Brasil.
But I don’t obtain to contactar the responsible ones for the same.

I have a text with the correction suggestions. You it could help me to contactar some of them?

ligOctober 2nd, 2006 at 8:54 pm

Sure – you just need to send the corrections to the php doc mailing list.

go to http://www.php.net/mailing-lists.php and join the mailing list. the will be bery happy for your help. There is also an article in this month’s phparchitect by philip olson on how to help with the php manual.


helpOctober 27th, 2006 at 4:08 am

I ran across your site while just surfing around, wanted to say hi and I like the blog.