By Kevin Yank

Sep 18, 2006 News Wire

By Kevin Yank
  • Web accessibility experts accessites.org calls for web developers to give up their dependance on Transitional DOCTYPEs. There really is no reason to still be using them.
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  • Sebastian Werner, developer of the qooxdoo JavaScript GUI framework, has noted a huge increase in JavaScript performance in IE7 compared to IE6. Microsoft has apparently fixed a performance issue that occurred with a large number of objects in scope.
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  • An AJAX component written in PHP for displaying database records (or other tabular data) in a paged, sortable, editable view. slGrid is open source under GPL and is also available under a commercial license.
  • This component is for use with Microsoft’s Atlas toolkit for AJAX, and enables the back/forward button to track AJAX application state, including (for example) partial page updates produced using the Atlas UpdatePanel component.
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  • This update to the popular version control system introduces new support for mirroring repositories, and a great many performance improvements and bug fixes.
  • Developer Dana Hanna is coding a new and useful (albeit small) application every evening for 30 days.
  • Hmm… it took me awhile to find an actual list of new features in Acrobat 8, and when I finally did it was pretty underwhelming. Certainly, there is nothing I can see that will affect web developers in this release.
  • This blogger at TechRepublic believes PHP will lose out to Java and .NET due to its lack of multithreading and its failure to beat back Ruby on Rails. I don’t think threading is the showstopper he makes it out to be, but some of his points have merit.
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  • Has the author of the “PHP is Doomed” article ever coded in PHP, or Ruby, or Perl, or any of the other languages that he referenced? I risk sounding like a PHP fanboy by saying this, but the guy is full of it.

    PHP doesn’t support multithreading. I’ll agree that it’s a problem; but it’s not a performance issue that can’t be overcome with a little ingenuity. Cache your database results so they don’t *need* to be fetched from the DB every time. By the way, the Zend Framework makes such a caching system dead simple. That’s just one example. In a page that requires database results, how much speed will you gain by querying the database in another thread? You’re going to need that complete result to render the page anyway.
    PHP’s documentation is weak. Erm… what?!? It’s not as comprehensive as the Java API reference I’ll give him that, but save for a few functions and a couple of classes in the SPL, it’s fairly complete; and I can download it as a searchable Windows Help file, which rocks my world on a daily basis. He also fails to take into account the fact that PHP has an enormous community built around it. I think PHP programmers make up for their lack of documentation skills with their desire to help their peers.

    And who says the best documentation has to be online? Tell me that a programmer in Java or .Net doesn’t have a few books sitting on his desk to reference when the online documentation doesn’t do the trick. This is a newish idea that EVERYTHING a programmer needs must be available on the Internet; I for one still value my paperbacks and use them often.

    PHP doesn’t have a good IDE or debugger? Zend Studio. The (new) PHP Eclipse Plug-in.

    No packages available in a “ready-to-use” state? WAMP. XAMPP. And with little prior knowledge you can get PHP working on IIS or Apache in just a couple of minutes. And there is a Windows installer.

    With Ruby and Python in the game, PHP is no longer unique. Ruby was hardly a player in the web development field until Rails came along. Ruby did teach the PHP community that they were lacking a solid, standard framework for rapid development, however, and fortunately a lot of people have risen to the occasion to develop the Zend Framework. Ruby just isn’t going to be special for that long either.

    PHP5 still feels like a limited knock off of Perl… with Web pages with a hacky-feeling object model. That’s funny, because I’ve heard the complaint from many people that PHP 5 was trying too hard to be “Java,” which is about as far from Perl as you could hope to be. I love the PHP 5 object model. It is usable, predictable, and robust. Though I admit I hate that I can’t overload a method, have multiple constructors, or use namespaces.

    Ruby on Rails framework… natively supports AJAX. Ruby and PHP are both languages. Neither “natively support AJAX.” Rails is a framework and does. This gets us back to the point that PHP needs a standard library, which is in fact under development as we speak.

    It amazes me that the author made no references to the real problems that PHP has, such as lack of namespaces, Unicode support, and the multiple PR nightmares that the PHP development team has had in the last year.

  • ikeo

    The PHP article was … “special”.
    Its the same thing these developers have been saying for ages and yet PHP is still going strong.

    I just think that system application developers (the guys who do Java, C++, and .NET system development) cannot get used to the fact that developing for the web is different from developing for a Desktop or server. They want PHP to work just like C++/Java etc but what they don’t realize is that what they see as shortcomings in PHP (oftentimes) is what helps make PHP popular amongst web developers.

  • The author of “PHP is doomed” is intellectually challenged in my book. His statement “the Ruby on Rails framework makes PHP look downright Mickey Mouse in comparison” fails to consider the fact that Rails is a framework whereas PHP is alanguage without any framework. That’s like comparing apples with peanuts, so it doesn’t hold any water. For a REAL test what you need is a PHP framework to compare against that RoR framework, and one already exists in the form of Radicore. Take a look at http://www.tonymarston.net/php-mysql/radicore-vs-ror.html to see why Radicore is better than RoR and why “convention over configuration” is a PITA if you don’t follow the same conventions.

  • wwb_99

    I think the PHP is Doomed article is right on general sentiment. But the author’s stated reasons unfortuantely muddle the point.

    The biggest issue, imho, is that there is no firm, guiding light for PHP development. The random breaking changes that were occouring in the 4.4 branch are a great example. The other huge issue, IMHO, is that running multiple versions concurrently is a bear at best. Well, unless one uses CGI mode which is really not an option in production. Finally, being too closely tied to MySql will probably bite in the long run. Especially if oracle takes InnoDB off the table.

    I just think that system application developers (the guys who do Java, C++, and .NET system development) cannot get used to the fact that developing for the web is different from developing for a Desktop or server. They want PHP to work just like C++/Java etc but what they don’t realize is that what they see as shortcomings in PHP (oftentimes) is what helps make PHP popular amongst web developers.

    I would disagree with this. The web is just another UX/interface layer. Albeit with funny rules and a disconnected state. In any case, my windows app just talks to my core libraries. The exact same way my command-line application and my web application talks to the same libraries. The key difference is the web application requires a few more hijinks to maintain state.

  • Yet another person foretelling the “doom” of PHP. What’s up with these people? Do they think if enough of them state it that they will be right?

    It needs a guiding light as wwb_99 stated but PHP is far from doomed

  • US Patent and Trademark Office made a new record for the number of software patents awarded in a single year. The agency has issued 893 new patents yesterday, pushing the total to 30,232 in this year. If this is the trend for registration, more than 40,000 software patents will be issued more in this year, according to the Public Patent Foundation. The previous record was set in 2004.

    Several major technology vendors have pledged not to enforce their patents against open source projects. IBM, for instance, essentially donated 500 patents to open source projects last year.Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court overthrew a prior judgement that required a judge to issue an automatic injunction if he found that a patent was being infringed.

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