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What's Cool About PHP

17 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Sep 5, 2008 11:14 AM by Perl Junkie

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Kit Davies

Posts: 9
Nickname: kitd
Registered: Sep, 2003

Re: What's Cool About PHP Posted: May 30, 2008 2:39 AM
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One key thing about PHP for me is that it comes out of the box with most hosting packages (along with Perl). This is less true of Python IME. This makes building public applications for friends/family (which I have done) a lot cheaper.

The great PHP wilderness can be tamed to a large degree using things like CakePHP.

John Zabroski

Posts: 272
Nickname: zbo
Registered: Jan, 2007

Re: What's Cool About PHP Posted: Jun 14, 2008 9:27 PM
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The coolest features in PHP are the ones that aren't documented or aren't considered proper parts of the language and aren't even guaranteed to work right! While this sounds amusing in a terrifying way, it is very true. For example, PHP lets you (forces you?) maintain object associations as a stack. However, the cool thing is that this stack can be edited at run-time, arbitrary re-defining an object and giving PHP a prototype-based flavor.

Academics have never looked that deeply at PHP, either. The only project of note was a static analysis program from Rice University's Program Transformation Group that did static analysis of PHP code. However, the project never saw commercial use as far as I know, and I don't think anyone even has an executable for that code base any more.

Perl Junkie

Posts: 4
Nickname: perljunkie
Registered: Sep, 2008

Re: What's Cool About PHP Posted: Sep 5, 2008 11:14 AM
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Sorry to appear "biased" (due to the pseudonym used here!) but... It's entirely possible to write large, enterprise applications using Perl and in particular mod_perl. I don't want to start a "language" and "reference platform" war here, but IMHO, having used PHP and Java, Perl completely outshoots them both in potentiality. There are MANY large sites which use Perl (albeit mainly mod_perl -- I don't know of any parge scale sites which use Perl CGI since it doesn't make any sense at all): TicketMaster, Amazon (not exclusively), IMDb (Amazon owned), Wired, CitySearch, ValueClick, WhitePages,com, PBS Online and more (if I could take the time to pluck all the prospectives out of jobs.perl.org -- you'd be surprised.) I know of one giant International Fortune 50 French company (which I will leave unnamed) which uses mod_perl on all of it's main and affiliate sites.

The problem is that most people who think of Perl think of it as a "scripting" language only and many of the people who write in it don't do a lot to dissuade that opinion. (They write really awful Perl code because Perl lets them do it.) But it's entirely possible to be very disciplined in Perl and write incredibly good, completely refactorable, top-notch, scalable, OO code in Perl. I've only found one language in the last 10 years that excites me as much as Perl and offers and much if not more potential and it's Ruby. I won't deny the power, structure and scalability of Python, but I've always felt "Why switch?" when I have Perl.

Perl used properly. Personally, I think mod_perl blows Java out of the water in scalability, speed, and most importantly in low complexity compared to Java, which, has incredibly high, laborious overhead to get anything done IMO. (Witness the explosion of RoR simply due the lack of overhead complexity, although such MVCs have existed for YEARS in Perl, simply under "marketed.")

I side with you in that Perl allows people to write very bad code and most people use Perl for "scripting." But all that belies the fact that, I have found at least (and I think a good number of other well known companies agree by their choice) that Perl works incredibly well in the big application space when built and managed properly (through effective OOAD and implementation.)

-pj

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