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    I’m Tony from Perth and I have set up a website – https://www.phpdirect.net

    What is it and why am I doing this?

    * Short Version *

    I’m trying to bridge the technological divide for small businesses looking for free software. I’m a database developer and I strongly believe software should be free or very cheap!

    * Long Version *

    I have been involved with IT for the past 20 years either as an avid consumer or providing services to small business. Mainly I programmed web driven database applications for people to regain control over their business systems, reduce paperwork and reduce the time they spent doing mundane tasks. The way I charged for the systems was purely on my time that it took to program the system. Generally people were absolutely astounded at the functionality they could get for several hundred dollars. I still provide advice and do work through my company Freshfield Solutions.

    I discovered that as time went on it was costing me less and less to complete a system as I reused code and resolved problems quicker. I came to a point where I would quote based on what I knew the customer would expect. This seemed a bit broken to me so I started work in 2010 on a system to deliver some of my more mature applications to a wider audience at little or no cost, that I had already been paid for many times over. The barrier was to enable someone with few IT skills the ability to set up their own web server and install the application. Xampp is easy enough to install, but if you asked the average user to download a zip file of php scripts, create a mysql database and then edit by hand a config.php without breaking the php code, they’d look at you like you were on fire.

    So in my spare time I decided to work on PHP Direct, a system to allow the average user access to some pretty useful business tools. Currently there are only 4 Apps (Applications) in the Market, but the idea is to open the Market up to other php developers to list their free or paid Apps also. PHP Direct is simply a delivery and installation framework for php applications. There are tens of thousands of php applications available online but for most people they are out of reach due to a technology barrier. First I am pushing the 3 free and 1 paid application in the market. If it is a success I will contact other developers who wish to take advantage of the framework I have setup to allow their Apps to reach a wider audience.

    Most criticism I have had, has related to the fact that everyone is moving to software as a service and hosted applications in the cloud, so why would people want to go backwards and manage something themselves. My response to that is; I could not make this available free if I had the overhead and responsibility for data integrity, security and availability that comes with hosting someone else’s important information. Once installed there is virtually nothing that is required to maintain the local web server. Most users will not have their web server exposed to the internet, so there are few security considerations. If this is something they do want, I can provide assistance in that matter through the support system. If the user wants backups and support there is an extremely reasonable paid option for this. The system should fit into most small businesses IT infrastructure whether they run windows, linux or mac. It is easily backed up and restored and very simple so problems can be resolved fairly easily. Sometimes businesses want to control their own information and PHP Direct can be installed on pretty much any desktop or server. Working with large files across the internet can be painful and managing configuration differences between hosted installations can be a nightmare if they share resources.

    This may flop as most new ventures do, but based on my experience there are people out there who could benefit from something like this and everything has an App Market these days so why not php?

    • Total posts: 660

    Hi there,

    Welcome to the Flying Solo forums!

    I hope you enjoy being part of the community here, and am looking forward to your reading more from you.

    All the best for your new venture.


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