Feeds

PHP victory over Ruby: was Gosling right?

Project failure 2.0

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Remember when Java father James Gosling got flamed for uttering the ultimate Web 2.0 heresy: scripting languages aren't good enough for enterprises?

The world's second favourite Canadian was taken down a notch or two for the thought crime of "not getting it". A year and a half later, and a user case study has popped up that supplies a nuanced twist to the debate.

Derek Sivers, a musician and online entrepreneur, found fame this week by telling the community he's cancelling a seemingly simple project to re-write his CD Baby site in Ruby on Rails after two years, and is sticking with the existing PHP language.

In the old world, we'd call that a project failure. Now all the rules are changed, though, it's probably been rebranded as something a little less negative to help downplay the wasted time, effort and money, and lost business.

What went wrong?

Despite hiring Jeremy Kemper, who is considered one of the industry's most capable Rails developers, and making good initial progress, Sivers found Rails too prescriptive.

"Jeremy could not have been more amazing, twisting the deep inner guts of Rails to make do things it was never intended to do," he said.

"But at every step, it seemed our needs clashed with Rails' preferences (like trying to turn a train into a boat. It's do-able with a lot of glue. But it's damn hard. And certainly makes you ask why you're really doing this.)"

Sivers has published seven reasons why he switched back to PHP. You can read them here.

Sivers runs a small shop, but his pain will strike a note with companies of all sizes and should serve as an object lesson in careful project evaluation.

Was it the technology - the immaturity or the complexity of the language, or the restrictions and inflexibility of the Rails framework? Maybe it was the classic customer error - picking the wrong technology for the wrong project, even though Ruby on Rails are - theoretically - at home building rich internet applications and interfaces. Or was the supplier at fault: did Kemper lack the technology and management skills for the project at hand?

Sivers's story is familiar to any enterprise IT project that's running late and over budget, and a lesson for developers being deafened by the noise on scripting.

Who thought a Canadian might be right?®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.