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  1. #1
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    How do you know when a language is "enterprise ready"

    Hi, I've been thinking about this at the back of my mind. You know we've been hearing people saying "PHP is not yet enterprise ready", "we have to help bring PHP to the enterprise", etc. From a "newbie" point of view, how you know if a langauge is enterprise ready? What exactly does a language have to have for it to be enterprise ready and why is PHP not considered one? Also, what are the languages out there that are considered enterprise ready and why? What do they have that PHP don't? Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru momos's Avatar
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    scalable and modular

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    throw me a bone ... now bonefry's Avatar
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    Enterprise ready languages are needed for mission critical applications, which are basically applications on which companies depend on.
    If such an application fails, the activity in the company using it ussualy freezez.
    Many big companies depend on such applications.

    That is why, it is important to have backup plans for when it happens.
    In case of a failure, the company calls the software company that made the application. Right ?
    Well, what if the software company concludes that the application's failure was provoked by some bug in the platform ?
    The fastest thing to do is to call the software company that maintains the platform and request a bug fix.

    It is not enough when a platform is open-source. Even if you ussualy find enthusiastic hackers willing to fix the bug for you for free, you cannot persuade them to work fast, because you are not paying them. What if it is Christmas or New Year's Eve ?

    So there you have it - an enterprise-ready platform should have good commercial support.

    Another condition, for the language this time.
    The language should be scalable, maintainable and predictable.

    Some say PHP is not scalable because it uses the shared-nothing architecture. Others are saying exactly the opposite

    Some say PHP is not maintainable because it encourages bad code design (I happen to agree here). Others say you can write poor/good design with any language.

    Some say PHP has poor support for connection pools, transactions and fail-overs. Others say that stuff like persistant connections are enough.

    Also, backwards compatibility between 2 consecutive versions should be kept, and things that are going to be removed should be first marked with a deprecated status.
    In my oppinion, PHP did a poor job at handling backwards compatibility up until now.

    Another critique brought to PHP is that PHP is a dynamic language, and dynamic scripting languages are not considered safe enough in the enterprise.

    Safe enterprise-ready platforms are considered Java, .NET and C++ (yes, it's still in the game) for the moment.

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    SitePoint Guru dagfinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonefry
    Some say PHP is not maintainable because it encourages bad code design (I happen to agree here). Others say you can write poor/good design with any language.
    It's easy to have bad design with PHP. That not quite the same thing as encouraging it. It's easy to drink and drive, too, but I wouldn't say people are encouraged to do so.
    Dagfinn Reiersřl
    PHP in Action / Blog / Twitter
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    and the easy elegant"
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    Mongols of the world, unite! Lira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagfinn
    It's easy to have bad design with PHP. That not quite the same thing as encouraging it. It's easy to drink and drive, too, but I wouldn't say people are encouraged to do so.
    Well, it's easy to do a bad job with virtually anything
    Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
    Choose washing machines, cars, tableless sites, and SEO.
    Choose DIY and wondering who the f' you are on a Sunday morning.
    Choose a marketing strategy. Choose your future.
    Choose life.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot ShytKicka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonefry
    It is not enough when a platform is open-source. Even if you ussualy find enthusiastic hackers willing to fix the bug for you for free, you cannot persuade them to work fast, because you are not paying them. What if it is Christmas or New Year's Eve ?
    Have you read his post? Or any of the posts above me?

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    SitePoint Addict Corobori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonefry

    Safe enterprise-ready platforms are considered Java, .NET and C++ (yes, it's still in the game) for the moment.
    No joke but I would add COBOL to the list if you're talking about languages used for entreprise wide application. It's rather old but you would be surprise on how many entreprises are still using it.
    Jean-Luc
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    Working in the Concepcion area, Chile, since 1999
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  8. #8
    throw me a bone ... now bonefry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShytKicka
    Php is less reliable because it is open-source. If you are having problems with the language you have nobody to contact. You have nothing. Who are you going to contact? The geek squad on phpgeeks.com? I'm surprised at the number of jobs available for Coldfusion vs Php on hotjobs and monster.com. It is very close, yet php is so much popular, that says something about the language. Coldfusion is not opensource.
    I know that lots of open-source projects don't have professional paid support available, but many popular open-source projects do.
    PHP does has paid support available, and being open-source in this case is an advantage.
    Do not underestimate the importance of open-source. It changed the world as we know it, and only Microsoft is strong enough to not embrace it.
    And if ColdFusion was released as open-source, it would have enjoyed a LOT more popularity, because if Adobe now concludes that ColdFusion is not reliable and terminates the project ... ColdFusion would be dead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corobori
    No joke but I would add COBOL to the list if you're talking about languages used for entreprise wide application. It's rather old but you would be surprise on how many entreprises are still using it.
    I agree Forgot about Cobol.

    Quote Originally Posted by shakin
    Right now I work for a company whose lifeblood is a PHP app. It was originally written in PHP 3 and upgraded to PHP 4 a few years ago. It's been solid. The good thing about an Open Source infrastructure is that if something terrible goes wrong we can fix it ourselves. Larger companies could hire programmers to correct any bugs and make any programming modifications they want. Commercial support is not as good as an Open Source app if you can hire your own programming team.
    Of course it is more reliable to fix the problems by yourself, but that's going to cost at least as much as with paid support because I don't see too many programmers that hacked the PHP source code.
    Companies can even modify the Java source code for internal usage, but this posibility only brings peace of mind as few companies have programmers good enough to rely on their skills for modifying the Java source code.
    Anyway, I do agree with you, and if the company has the posibility of relying on its own programmers ... it's the best option.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy Luke Redpath's Avatar
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    I would say a language is "enterprise-ready" when it is successfully being used for enterprise apps. Ruby is. Java is. C# is. Python and PHP may well be too, but I don't have any references (though Python is used by Google and PHP by Yahoo but I don't know if their use is mission-critical).

    That said, being "enterprise-ready" doesn't neccesarily make a language right for the job.

  10. #10
    eschew sesquipedalians silver trophy sweatje's Avatar
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    When it is 100% buzz word compliant.
    Jason Sweat ZCE - jsweat_php@yahoo.com
    Book: PHP Patterns
    Good Stuff: SimpleTest PHPUnit FireFox ADOdb YUI
    Detestable (adjective): software that isn't testable.

  11. #11
    throw me a bone ... now bonefry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweatje
    When it is 100% buzz word compliant.
    Cool answer

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Redpath
    I would say a language is "enterprise-ready" when it is successfully being used for enterprise apps. Ruby is. Java is. C# is. Python and PHP may well be too, but I don't have any references (though Python is used by Google and PHP by Yahoo but I don't know if their use is mission-critical).
    Sorry dude. But Ruby is not.
    Not quite yet at least.
    A language has to have a certain popularity and Ruby does not qualify.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy Luke Redpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonefry
    Sorry dude. But Ruby is not.
    http://www.rapidreporting.com/

    Used by 80% of the top 1000 mortgage underwriters in the US and is built to handle 2 million mortage application transactions per month
    Source: Agile Development with Rails

    Sounds pretty "enterprise" to me.

    I fail to see how being top of some popularity chart is relevant.

  13. #13
    throw me a bone ... now bonefry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Redpath
    Does this not qualify?

    http://www.rapidreporting.com/

    Languages aren't about popularity contests.
    Ohh yes they are
    Yes, languages ARE definitely about popularity contests.
    Managers don't look at unpopular languages because managers know something you don't - it is ussualy hard to find programmers working with that unpopular language

    Notice the description - "enterprise language"

    Let me comment a little on your first definition
    "I would say a language is "enterprise-ready" when it is successfully being used for enterprise apps.
    No, that would be a turing complete language.

    A more accurate definition:
    - a language is "enterprise-ready" when it is successfully being used for LOTS OF enterprise apps
    And that means - popularity

  14. #14
    throw me a bone ... now bonefry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Redpath
    Source: Agile Development with Rails
    Sounds pretty "enterprise" to me.
    I fail to see how being top of some popularity chart is relevant.
    So, if I code an enterprise application in BrainF*ck, does that make BrainF*ck enterprise-ready ?

    Also, a simple question, and I want a quick answer, how many shopping carts do you see around coded with Rails ?

    Another question, whom can I call on Christmass or on New Year's Eve if I find a bug in the platform that's critical to my client's application ?
    (let's remember that on winter hollidays it is not that smart to close your shop)

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy Luke Redpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonefry
    Also, a simple question, and I want a quick answer, how many shopping carts do you see around coded with Rails ?
    I assume you mean an example and not an off-the-shelf e-commerce platform.

    http://www.iconbuffet.com/ uses Rails and has a shopping cart system.

    What has a shopping cart got to do with anything? It doesn't really stand on its own as an example of anything because shopping carts can range from simple to complex on sites that range from small to massive. Shopping carts themselves are easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bonefry
    Another question, whom can I call on Christmass or on New Year's Eve if I find a bug in the platform that's critical to my client's application ?
    (let's remember that on winter hollidays it is not that smart to close your shop)
    I've had my fair share of poor support experiences with IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and others. I've called 24/7 support lines that are only staffed by one person only to be put on hold for thirty minutes when that one person has gone on break. I've had to wait a few days for Great Plains to bring in support people from a few hours away even though I was in a very large city. Commercial support guarantees nothing.

    Right now I work for a company whose lifeblood is a PHP app. It was originally written in PHP 3 and upgraded to PHP 4 a few years ago. It's been solid. The good thing about an Open Source infrastructure is that if something terrible goes wrong we can fix it ourselves. Larger companies could hire programmers to correct any bugs and make any programming modifications they want. Commercial support is not as good as an Open Source app if you can hire your own programming team.

    Who can do that? Enterprises. That's why IBM and others hire Open Source programmers. IBM is selling Linux and Linux apps, so it makes sense to have the programmers in-house. If a fortune 500 company wanted better support for a language they'd be best off by using an Open Source language and hiring programmers. They might even be able to hire the lead programmer on the project. It's the only way they can guarantee that their language will be supported for as long as they need it, will do what they want, and problems can be fixed right away by people who really know the software.

  17. #17
    throw me a bone ... now bonefry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Redpath
    Used by 80% of the top 1000 mortgage underwriters in the US and is built to handle 2 million mortage application transactions per month
    You see, you are talking about a single system here that's used by 1000 mortgage underwriters in the US - and let's remember customers (the 1000 mortgage underwriters in the US) don't really care.

    If 1000 mortgage underwriters in the US would have been chosing Ruby for their systems on purpose - that would have been something.

  18. #18
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    I used to be a member of a 5 person committee that evaluated programming tools and languages for a company with $2 billion annual sales. I did evaluations of Java, Delphi, some databases, and "enterprise tools" from Cognos among other things.

    Here are some hurdles that PHP would have to clear to have gotten our recommendation:

    • Are other companies our size using PHP for what we want to do with it?
      This is a variation on "Nobody ever got fired for picking IBM." Another reason why enterprise sales always involves case studies.
    • Can we hire developers familiar with PHP?
      I'm not talking about rent a coder here. Can you hire degreed professionals with x years of experience in PHP? With they have experience in a corporate environment? In ten years, can we hire PHP developers?
    • Who do we call for support and how good are they?
      This where the true Enterprise vendors show up with salesmen. They come in pairs, a tech rep and a sales rep. We shower the tech rep with questions. The sales rep picks up the lunch tab. We would use these meetings as a proxy for understanding how professional an organization is and how well they might support us. The purpose is mostly to convey warm fuzzy feelings.
    • How well does PHP integrate with the other development tools in our company?
      Why Zend is embracing eclipse.
    • Can I sell this product to the rest of the organization?
      This is where product reputation and salesmen can help.
    • Does this product look professional?
      I have to advocate the product in the organization. Will it make me look bad?
    • What do other people think about this product?
      The Gartner Group believes that choosing PHP will harm your career [.70 probability]. (a joke)


    Check out Zend's Why PHP page against my list.

    Notice how little of this has anything to do with the language itself.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Guru BerislavLopac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selkirk
    In ten years, can we hire PHP developers?
    This criterion doesn't make much sense. PHP, Java and Python are all ten years old; programming landscape looks very different now than it did ten years ago.

  20. #20
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    PHP will still be in use a decade from now I'm certain of that, much like languages that are 10+ years are still in use today.

    The larger the application (and business to that extent), the longer the life span I imagine, the application would have to be sustained. Due to renewable technologies that emerge and the nature of those larger applications, those applications are under continued scrutiny - the business backbone after all, relies heavily on the application.

    So, I guess PHP is here to stay, for good or bad.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Guru LinhGB's Avatar
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    What really gets on my nerve is amateur programmers (if you can call them that, some that I know can't even code a login script properly) who rap on and on about Java and .Net and put PHP down, because the other two are "enterprise-ready", when I know for sure no enterprise, not even small businesses, would hire those monkeys. If you are a sh!t PHP coder then chances are you're exactly the same with Java and .Net.

    I have no experience working for the big gangs, but from my experience as an user, an enterprise-graded site written in enterprise-ready language can be *gasp* shocking. A language is a tool for programmers, not magic pixie dust. I switched my mobile phone provider because my previous one, Vodafone, had a terrible website written in JSP that's down half of the time and crashes in Firefox or any other alternative browser for the rest (I need the site for recharging and editing services and stuff). I have similar displeasures with browsing Dell, IBM and Microsoft websites. They are all written in enterprise-ready languages. Their websites only survive because they are doing well offline, not because they are coded in enterprise-graded languages. When I was at uni, I even made quite a bit of money helping people make purchases from Dell website because it's so bad that normal people can't find their ways around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Redpath
    I would say a language is "enterprise-ready" when it is successfully being used for enterprise apps. Ruby is. Java is. C# is. Python and PHP may well be too, but I don't have any references (though Python is used by Google and PHP by Yahoo but I don't know if their use is mission-critical).
    Google uses PHP too in some places, and Wikipedia is big enough to be considered, I suppose.

    [/rant]

    Quote Originally Posted by bonefry
    Some say PHP is not maintainable because it encourages bad code design (I happen to agree here). Others say you can write poor/good design with any language.
    It doesn't encourage bad code design, it just happens to allow that to work. I would argue that the fact that PHP is a more relaxed language makes it easy to spot bad programmers. Those who lack good programming practices and self discipline will stick out like a sore thumb when writing PHP code. Those who are capable will stand out more, because there's no "strict" point and click IDE generating code for the programmers.
    "I disapprove of what I say,
    but I will defend to the death my right to say it."

  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot ShytKicka's Avatar
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    I tend to agree here with bonefry, except for his popularity post. PHP is probably the most popular language yet the least reliable and never used in mission critical applications like he said. So popularity doesn't always matter.

    I am a Macromedia advanced certified Coldfusion MX 7 developer, and I know Coldfusion is not the most popular language. Are people hiring Coldfusion developers? Yes. Is Coldfusion more popular than PHP? Definetely not. But is PHP or Coldfusion farther down the Enterprise road? Definetely without a doubt Coldfusion.

    So popularity isn't always the key role. As you can see, PHP is popular, but it doesn't mean squat, you have 2 million developers that will create your buggy application for a $1, but only 3 developers that are actually professional developers that have studied the language for 10 years.

    Then again, Coldfusion is pure Java, so would it be considered on the same level as Java? Maybe.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Evangelist Scheisskopf's Avatar
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    How do you know when a language is "enterprise ready"
    When you can quickly/easily create a tractor beam with it.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy Luke Redpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShytKicka
    I tend to agree here with bonefry, except for his popularity post. PHP is probably the most popular language yet the least reliable and never used in mission critical applications like he said. So popularity doesn't always matter.

    I am a Macromedia advanced certified Coldfusion MX 7 developer, and I know Coldfusion is not the most popular language. Are people hiring Coldfusion developers? Yes. Is Coldfusion more popular than PHP? Definetely not. But is PHP or Coldfusion farther down the Enterprise road? Definetely without a doubt Coldfusion.
    How exactly did you come to the conclusion that ColdFusion is more "enterprise-ready" and that PHP is the "least reliable"?

  25. #25
    SitePoint Zealot ShytKicka's Avatar
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    It's already been for 10, and it will be for over another 10, especially now since Macromedia has been acquired by Adobe December 3rd, 2005. Every language we see today will exist for number of years, it doesn't just dissapear, and the popularity of Coldfusion shot up by a milestone with the last release of MX 7. I get payed more for developing Coldfusion applications per hour then all your php projects combined. I shouldn't even be talking to you, you're on the other side of the road, your online business does hardcore php applications.

    I only side with people like selkirk and bonefry, they've been there done that.

    Another thing to think about is Java. If Java doesn't exist, that's when Coldfusion won't exist. Until then, it is here and going strong.


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