Sometimes a discovery is too cool not to share.
This pretty much explains why I haven't worked on PHP much any more. The PHP code is extremely ugly, and the Rails code is elegant and easy to understand. TL;DR: The original PHP code vs the Rails code.
Many sites use a grid layout for easy yet beautiful layouts, but the underlying style has a lot of non-semantic code that makes changes brittle. This article explains a better solution and shows why I like SCSS.