In 2007, the first Plat_Forms contest took place with support of Zend Technologies, University of Berlin, Heise Publishing Company and OSBF. It was a web development platform comparison like it had never been done before: 9 teams in controlled environment doing the same task in a limited time. During that time, the team of Prof. Lutz Prechelt collected data and after the contest, the results together with the data regarding the workflow of the individual teams was evaluated in a scientific way.
Back then, the PHP teams had outperformed Java and Perl in terms of development productivity and usability of the resulting applications. The results of this contests helped to position PHP in many large organisations because they proved common prejudices against PHP wrong: No, PHP is not insecure, no it is not slow, etc.
In 2011 a second contest was helt with 16 teams. Unfortunately the results were not that inspiring this time (as shown here some time ago). Now the third event of this kind is coming up:
Plat_Forms 2012 will take place on April 3rd and 4th, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.
Plat_Forms 2012 will focus on scalability and cloud computing. Unlike
in 2007 and 2011, this year's teams will implement a highly scalable
web service on Amazon Web Service infrastructure.
Again, multiple teams consisting of 3 persons each are invited for each web programming platform: PHP, Ruby, Perl, Java. They are searching for strong PHP teams with the will to compete.