Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Big Blue Romances PHP

All thru the weekend, there were articles on IBM’s new commitment and interest in PHP.




Now, this may or may not be big news for you depending on what kind of coder you are. If you are the enterprise-only-learn-one-language-and-one-platform-and-am-satisfied-thnk-you kind of coder, well, I’m guessing you’re already stuck to a platform, and it may not be PHP. If you are one of those that are looking at Open source, and its flagship children – Linux, MySQL, Apache, etc, with disdain, well, again, I guess this will not mean much to you (tho I have one word for you: WAKE UP… ok… so I lied, so its two words…. What the heck?!!)

Now, if you’re like me, an Open Source, Open Standards, Open Technologies, Open OS afficiando, then this is interesting news. Not because all of a sudden PHP has become a usefull language… ofcourse not, it has ALWAYS been a usefull language, and people that use the likes of PHP, Python, Perl, usually have difficulty enjoying work if its in one of the more stubborn languages C#, Java, C++ (have you noticed my EXCLUSION of C here? Yup, C is in a different class of languages, especially wen weilded in the hands of a real code slinger. When used properly, I have far less what-the-heck!!!??? Than I have when using Java and C# libraries (note… libraries).

What this news means really, is that one company is finally bold enuff to admit what all of us code loving lazy programmers have known for ages. That dynamic languages are the future. Its funny because, OOP seemed to have been touted by companies that had stuff at stake, and they tried to force it down our throats like the ONE TRUE SOLUTION, which we know doesn’t really exist. Dynamic Languages on the other hand, have been around like for ever… from when OS Shell’s and shell languages where first invented, and probably, trully born when Perl was written first, but no one wanted to be coporately associated with them, because they were for ‘QUICK HACKS’ not for REAL robust applications… thank God finally, Agile programming has made us understand that the ‘QUICK HACK’ is the correct way to program. Still big firms have not been bold enough to adopt these, only small companies that can’t afford to sit around writing bloat ware have jumped on. Why I mentioned OOP earlier is because, proponents of OOP (ok, some of them), usually site Abstraction as a great Benefit of OOP. Ok… lets agree with them. But C# and Java, in all their OOP gloriousness are not even closely good at abstraction of concepts as Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, etc, so if OOP is all about Abstractions, and Dynamic languages are better at abstractions, why havent’ other big companies jumped on the Dynamic OOP supporting languages yet? Smell a fish? I think so J (one person actually suggested it was because languages like Python, Perl, Ruby, don’t need Million Dollar IDE’s which these Big companies sell, to be actually usefull, since there’s really far less to write.)

Incidentally, Big Blue seems to be making this move now… I think I must really commend them. They will be a point of reference now for lots of other big companies, just like what big blue did for Java then, they’ve been doing same for Linux for sometime now, and they’re doing same for PHP. I’m not a buzzword fellow, but most big coporations and their Managers just need these buzz words. If BigBlue can generate a buzz word of PHP and in general Dynamic Languages, and coporations need buzz words to choose the right thing… then so be it.

All in all, I think its all good. I just hope people in the direct field of technology (software developers, software project managers, ‘software architects’, etc), are taking note. It will be a pain to be running a company on a technology today, be a victim of vendor lock in, and suddently wake up tomorrow to find yourself a niche provider, with the tables turned on you.

Anyways… as usual… ‘tis my blog J


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