Startup platform-as-a-service provider AppFog has been named PHP community lead form the VMWare’s Cloud Foundry open source initiative. PHP is a scripting language used in web development.

In its role as PHP community lead, AppFog will contribute and maintain PHP support for CloudFoundry.org, and Cloud Foundry will be used within AppFog’s core technology. AppFog (formerly known as PHPFog) created a Cloud Foundry-based PaaS for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is conducting a private beta for developers, with information here. Since it was formed in August 2010, the company has been refining its PaaS, said founder Lucas Carlson.

“AppFog is the next step in our evolution,” he said. “We’ll take what we’ve created and deliver it to other languages.”

The collaboration with Cloud Foundry is part of that expansion, he said.

“We’re tapping into the open source community to help us help them,” Carlson said. “Developers will use PHPFog and AppFog for side projects maybe. But because they find it so fast and useful, the next time they come up with an enterprise development project, they’ll use it for that.”

Carlson described Cloud Foundry as early in its development but “a really great piece of software.” “It doesn’t have user experience or orchestration with IaaS, but that’s where AppFog comes in,” he said.

The “Fog” part of the company’s name is a reference to “bringing cloud computing down to earth,” Carlson said. “Infrastructure-as-a-service is an amazing leap forward, but there’s so much in between IaaS and the developer,” he said. “That’s really where PaaS shines and will be a big force for the future.”