One big thing about PHP is that it really is focused entirely for the web. It’s not a general purpose programming language like Ruby (or Python/Java/C/Perl/etc.). Many of its inbuilt functions are specific to solving web problems and this makes it a very straightforward language to program for the web. E.g. if you want to send a header to the browser, just use the header() function. An MD5 or SHA1 hash is simply md5() and sha1(). It’s not as straightforward to do this with Ruby/Rails as you have to load in libraries and use namespaces/modules to get to the same functions.