> First of all, PHP is characterized as an embedded language in HTML
> documents.  Its grammar is likely to be a mixture of Perl and
> JavaScript, with some Java's OO flavor.

I must say PHP3 is the first "OO-supporting" language I've ever seen
lacking support for SmallTalk's "super" (or Self's "resend"). Also, it
seems that all extension module functions were thrown into the main
package, and no OO allowed; so you had [1] to pollute the main package,
and you had [2] to write yourself a wrapper. 

Thus, PHP3's OO is very unlike Perl's, Python's, Java's, and Ruby's, etc.
Note that I didn't take a look at PHP4. 

>  Ruby can be used for general purposes, as well as some
> specialized purposes.

Well, I thought general-purpose is for many purposes, while
special-purpose is for small sets of purposes. In this sense, PHP is a
language that started blatantly too-special purpose and which is growing
towards general-purpose. Someday it will be found that there is no such
thing as a "web programming language".

matju