Feeds

PHP victory over Ruby: was Gosling right?

Project failure 2.0

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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?®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.