Ext/elephpant : the furry PHP mascot

  • Ecrit par Damien Seguy
Image pour le titre du contenu

Ce document est aussi disponible en français fr 

Mesdames, Mesdemoiselles et messieurs, in world avant-première, here is the famous PHP elephant turned into a real plush toy!

The PHP plush toy is based on the PHP world-famous elephant from Vincent Pontier : Vince evolved the logo from the three letters into an animal. It gave us this funny looking yet cool and attractive logo. There have been quite a number of declinaisons of it and the latest version

A community project

The elephphant is a community project. It was started as a crazy idea that I used to suggest to a number of people. I managed to draw a lot of happy smile, but I suspect that half this happiness was due to sheer crazyness of the project. That was until the AFUP, the PHP User Group from France, came back to me, and told me that they planed have this plush toy for a even more secret project. I guess I was framed…

They needed to get the initial plush toy, an idea of the pricing, and a substantial order, but without reaching any reasonnable level. This was the typical situation,  that is best described with this quote : so close, yet so far. The obvious solution here was to check if anyone else had the same idea. Basically, than meant everyone who gave me smile over this Plush toy idea was now in my visor.

The feed back was great. Quite a number of user groups were happy to hear about them (the others thought I was some kind of spammer. I guess my introduction message was definitely ranking high with spam filter). We rapidely gathered a team of user group that were interested and we launched the prototyping.

Of course, it was impossible to prototype this mascott without involving Vincent Pontier. He is the phather of the elephant, and he would be of invaluable artistic knowledge to make the plush toy consistent with the fun and friendly community. I'll keep his reaction as a fond memory. You can bet he was happy to join. Not to say, he as a full blue print of the elephant and a clay model of it within hours.

The rest is history. We started prototyping, and within a month, we got this excellent looking plush toy (we'll tell you about the manufacturer once we get the full load of them). My elder daughter immediatly declared that the elephant had to sleep with her, and started fighting with the younger one to have it. This torture-test was good, as we managed to make sure the toy was safe enough : I can tell you it's safe to leave in the hands of possessive toddlers.


Here are the first pictures of the elephant in action.

Friendly and happy elephpant!

elephant supports PHP 5 and best practises!

Already  making friends with dolphins!

You may also visit the full galery on or on Flickr, using the elephpant tag, and of course the officlal elephpant web site from Vince.

A word from Vincent Pontier

'I dream about it, and Damien did it!

it's now almost 10 years... indeed!
After having trampled on your HTTP headers, invaded your hard disks and settled in every page footer, the elePHPant will now find a new home in your bedrooms, on top of your screens or below your inner mirrors!

No, you are not dreaming. Just like Tux and other mascotts from Open Source, you'll be able to adopt a real elePHPant, or make a nice surprise for your fellow developpers.

Yet, I'll have a word of caution : don't kid yourself, this is not a toy! This is first and foremost a special partner for every PHP coder. Trouble with sessions? a bug in a class? a crashed method? Don't worry! Just tell your elePHPant the problem, and he will give your the solution (and if the solution is not worth it, you may also throw him on the walls. And with the elePHPant with you, at home or at large, you'll be stealing the show!

Again, many thanks to Damien, for this exciting project, that will be special to the hearth of PHP aficionado worldwide.
And don't forget to send us the picture of your elephant ! This will be for the family scrapebook!


Technical details

For those of you who like figures :

The elephpant is 18 cm long (7 inches) but you may include another 5 cm with extending the tail and nose; it is 15 cm high and another 18 cm wide, when he shows his hears (also called the aerobrake position); when in racing position, with his hears along its body, it only need 10 cm in space. All in all, the elephant is about 100 g heavy.

The gigantic version will be 61 cm long, and all proportionnal, and about 1 kilogram heavy.

Here are some extra information, including a blue print, and a clay model by Vincent Pontier.

What for?

The elephpant fulfills several goals :
•    It is fun, blue, cozy and furry. What else?
•    The elephpant is definitely friendly and welcoming, just like the PHP community in general. It will be a flagship for many gathering.
•    It will tremple stand on top of any Linux penguin during IT conferences around the world, as it is well known that Linux supports PHP very well. Numerous groups are looking for a way to attract attention during the shows, and the big version will be perfect eye-catcher.
•    It already suppports a number of books and jokes
•    It will be an ice braker for many people, within the community, the IT world and in the world in general.

Roadmap to birth

  • Until June 30 th : pre-ordering
    • Until june 30th, I'll be gathering the orders for the user groups, and sizing the amount of elephpants that will be stocked for retails orders.
    • This is the only time to get a chance to order a big version, or to jump in the PUG program. See below.
  • Until October 1rst :
    • Fabrication : basically, that means we'll wait, and get updates on the birth of this huge family. This will be done in China, and shipped to Montréal later.
  • Until November 1rst :
    • Shipping to PHP User groups around the world
    • Starting retails sales
    • Available at the Paris Forum 2007 and other places in the world

Side projects

galeries and world invasion
As you get your very own elephpant, get a picture of it, and upload it on Flickr, with the tag 'elephpant'.

If you want to see where the elephpant as already been, you can check the map online, with the current state of the invasion.

Reward program
On a side project, we plan to set up a reward program, where meriting PHP authors, may they be entrepreneurs, programmers, agitator, bug closers or simple a new PHP parent will get a chance to get an elephant shipped directly to him or her by happy users and fanatics. Stay tuned for more later

Secret programs

Mm… which word didn't you understand?

Special for groups

The PHP Plush Toy has always been though as a community project.

If you are running a PHP User Group, you are welcome to join the initial order. It is not important if you are a small group in a big town or a huge group in a country, an informal PHP meetup or a highly structured non-profit organisation, or even a company working with or for PHP : in fact, you may be even remotely related to PHP, though we'd like to see you involved with the project in a way or another.

If you fit the above description, you may take advantage of our PUG programm. You'll get the producing prices (or close enough), the earliest shipments (as soon as we get them ourselves), and the opportunity to order one of the huge sizes elephants. We ask you to get at least 50 of the small or just a big one, and to pay in advance.

Then, please send me an email at : . I'll take care of you.

As a result of this program, quite a number of PHP User groups around the world have now a sizeable stock of PHP Plush toys. They may resell it, or give it to members, or cook them on barbecues : in any situation, they may be your first stop to get one of them.

Where to buy ?

There are several ways to get an elephphant in your kids hands. 

Meet the community

Some PHP user groups have ordered a big bunch of them. They may be for sale, or for members, or just for petting, but you sure should take a look at them. This will help save costs (especially shipping ones), and that may also help fund your local group. Here are some groups known to be part of this project :

Meet the PHP companies

Some companies also decided to be involved. We don't know what they will do to this cute little elephant, but they sure are very friendly. Take a look at them!

Directly from

The easiest will be from We are working hard to make our online shop ready. You'll be able to book your elephant, and have it shipped directly to you.

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