10k users: The Journey

The journey from 1 user to 10k users

10k users: The Journey

I was asked how I feel knowing that 10k people trust and use what we are building.

Well, it starts with huge excitement and an uncontrolled frequent spark somewhere in your belly that whispers in your ear you got this. This sometimes gives an adrenaline rush to ship more features with great motivation. Well, you might not take my word for it because I am simply describing how I feel right now. Yes, PHPSandbox now has over 10K registered users.

PHPSandbox started out as a simple one-page app as a way to allow PHP developers to write PHP code in an online IDE with composer support and access to everything the PHP community has to offer. ​​We wanted something that truly provides an all-encompassing and robust solution while allowing users to code from their browsers without restrictions and ensuring that security is at the core of the platform.

Bosun made PHPSandbox known to the public for the first time via a tweet with a 2-minute video of what we then called phpKIT. The idea behind phpKIT was to allow developers to run PHP codes in the browser with support for all composer packages.

PHPKit tweet

While phpKIT was far from perfect, the response from the community was impressive and in less than four months a lot of work was put into building a more stable platform with a much better user interface and user experience. This new version was released with out of the box support for Laravel allowing users to create a Laravel project in seconds.

PHPKit tweet

The adoption and feedback from early users gave us confidence that we are solving real problems for real people. Hence we set out to release the first version of PHPSandbox. By this time it had been renamed from phpKIT to Ciroue. Between the first release and the most recent release (PHPSandbox V4.0), PHPSandbox has seen massive improvements in many areas. BASH support was added to non-interactive notebooks to allow users to run console commands and get responses in a standard input and output terminal. The development environment was built to be flexible and customizable by users so that users can take control of their development environment. This includes changing PHP versions, customizing NGINX public path, customizing environmental variables and several others. The 4th release also saw the release of the PHPSandbox CLI which allows users to quickly ship code from their local development environment to PHPSandbox and also import projects from PHPSandbox to their local environment.

The UI has also seen a complete revamp. PHPSandbox V4.0 was launched with a new UI. Careful attention has also been paid to the user experience to provide an intuitive interface for different user groups that would be using the platform.

From the very day we had our first registered user right to the 10,000th user, our focus has been to provide the best experience in an online IDE for PHP. Perhaps, that explains why we currently have over 85K projects on PHPSandbox and users from over 100 countries in the world. Reviews have been from all-level developers who find the platform as a great tool to reduce the barrier in writing PHP since no setups are needed, you can start learning and start coding immediately.

We need your feedback

While we are excited about this milestone, we are not relenting in our effort to make PHPSanbox the defacto online IDE for PHP development and we believe that a crucial part of reaching this goal is understanding the needs of our users. Hence why we are launching our kampsite page (https://phpsandbox.kampsite.co). You can suggest features you want and get the community to vote on your features. We would also add features we intend to work on here allowing the community to help us prioritize what they need the most hence helping us know the next feature to ship. We also have a discord channel where you can interact with the community.


Composer UI

We have also spent the last few months working on Composer UI. Composer UI provides an intuitive interface that enables you to manage Composer based projects and libraries without having to use the Composer CLI to perform actions. It simply helps you to make the best use of Composer. No need to memorize Composer commands or worry about forgetting them.​​ The team is working hard to release the first version in the second quarter of the year and people have started signing up for the waitlist.

Composer UI will be available on both PHPSandbox and as a standalone desktop application.

If you would like to be up to date about its development and release, you can join the waitlist here.

We are currently working on improving the notebook editor to help developers be more comfortable when working on their notebooks. Other features in the pipeline for this next quarter include:

  • An improved GIT and GitHub integration
  • Availability of private notebooks to allow users to control who has access to their notebooks
  • Improved sharing means for notebooks with complete control over who has access to notebooks
  • Improvements to our infrastructure

Open source

PHP has a huge open source community that is backed by lots of creators in the ecosystem. We are exploring some improvements in PHPSandbox to aid open source contributions and collaborations.

We are particularly excited about this milestone because it is a huge motivation as we work towards providing a great experience for our 10K users and every other creator that will be joining us in the future.

Cheers to the next 100K users.

Haven't tried out PHPSandbox? check it out here.

If you think there are ways we can improve PHPSandbox or you have things you would like to see on PHPSandbox, feel free to use any of our feedback channels to communicate with us. You can reach us quickly on Twitter, Discord, or GitHub.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing the amazing things you are building with PHPSandbox!

Tobi A.
PHPSandbox CTO