Thursday, February 24, 2005

IBM Endorses PHP

IBM has endorsed the use of PHP for enterprise web development. This is huge for PHP and LAMP - IBM's endorsement of Java and Linux were what made those technologies acceptable to enterprise customers. Here's a link to an article by Martin LaMonica on Big Blue backs PHP for Web development.

It is always fun to see the industry shift. I started ActiveGrid almost two years ago on the premise that scripting languages would gain acceptance in the enterprise and that there was an opportunity to deliver a next generation application platform for the LAMP stack. I remember that back in the early Java days we used to spend quite a bit of time attempting to convince customers that Java was a viable enterprise language. After IBM, with Ian Brackenbury's leadership, endorsed server side Java, those discussions were over. PHP has now, in marketing speak, "crossed the chasm."

Congrats to the guys at Zend for having the foresight to make PHP 5 use a lot of the same syntax as Java (try/catch/finally, public/protected/private). PHP 5 will be a very easy transition for people who know Java. I remember when I first coded in Java in 1995 I was productive in minutes because I already knew C++ syntax and Smalltalk dynamic OO principles. If you know Java and BASIC you will be all set to go with PHP 5.

PS: A joke we had last summer with the IBM emerging technology folks is that they don't like LAMP, rather PLAD (PHP, Linux, Apache, and DB2).


Josh said...

I too found this very interesting. I was at the Toronto PHP conference last fall and IBM had a couple of people there representing the Open Source side of their business. They got hammered on quite a bit for not supporting PHP better. I was one of those asking IBM to make DB2 a first class database for PHP developers. It's good to see they're about to do that. It's also good to see that they're putting some development effort into enhancing the web services support in PHP5. All in all it's a great announcement!

Peter, when are we going to see the first offerings from ActiveGrid? I keep seeing "a month out" and very little detail on what is actually going to be released. Do you have any hints? I'm very curious to see what you guys are up to. It sounds like it could be great stuff.

ifindkarma said...

PHP 5 will be a very easy transition for people who know Java.After you mentioned this I did a little research, and I have come to the same conclusion as you.

I also agree with the point that a very easy transition from Java to Python doesn't quite exist yet for many applications -- but someday it will be.

I'm convinced that Java has peaked. PHP saves developer time, which is far more valuable than CPU time. Jon Udell's "Myth: IT doesn't scale" article reminds us that architecture matters most when it comes to reliability and scalability -- not programming language choice.

As a result, a project manager's main focuses -- functionality, cost, and time -- all depend on the productivity of the project's devs and ops people. I believe that history will show that LAMP/PLAD makes people more productive. We've passed the turning point, and IBM's announcement gives it momentum.