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Discussion on: Will PHP save your startup?

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jarturoangeles profile image
arturo de los angele

Facebook is written in php and it seems to be a really decent company. It started up, and has kept php. My point is if you can find an application well written in PHP and a bad application written in Java, then the whole argument falls apart. I think , should be obvious,the programming language is just a tool, the good practices don't depend on language. When it comes to easier or more difficult to the programmer, with so many IDE tools, that is just not a discussion. It seems to me, these discussions are quite similar to football ones when you try to argue a team over another but there is not real substance. Of course a web site written on c would not be optimal, but we are assuming none would think so already. So if the language provides the set of tools to develop the product, the success of the company doesn't depend on it, but in the good usage of it.

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kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman

Facebook is written in php ... It started up, and has kept php.

I do not think this is an accurate characterization. As popularity rose, they ran into problems, especially performance. So they tried a number of things, including creating their own custom compiler and language clone for PHP. All of that was deemed cheaper than rewriting their code base in another language. You can google for HHVM and Hack for more information. This Quora question has a lot of good insights from FB employees. Including this quote.

The flavor of PHP we use at Facebook, Hack, is very far removed from the what you typically think of when you picture PHP.

But your latter point is quite correct: Like most successful companies, their success has almost nothing to do with their choice of tech stack. And everything to do with creating a product consumers wanted and an effective way to monetize it.

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peteraba profile image
Peter Aba Author

Facebook is written in php and it seems to be a really decent company. It started up, and has kept php. My point is if you can find an application well written in PHP and a bad application written in Java, then the whole argument falls apart.

Why? Do you feel I suggested that all PHP projects are inherently worse than all Java projects in existence? Because if so, I probably messed up somewhere really badly. The closest to this is that I said it's probably a safer bet to start a green field project in Java than in PHP, given you really have to choose from these two and there's no deciding factor like building on top of existing app or big dog clients.

When it comes to easier or more difficult to the programmer, with so many IDE tools, that is just not a discussion.

I don't see how IDEs can help you better understand or utilise programming language concepts. For example how do they help with understanding implicit interfaces, inheritance, borrowing, union types or generics?

How will these tools help the developer understand whether adding one more level of abstract inheritance is a good idea or not? Or whether that method should really be final or not? Or whether using "==" is okay or not. I could go on, but the point is that languages are different and they do affect the likelihood of your project becoming legacy in no time or not.

Of course a web site written on c would not be optimal, but we are assuming none would think so already. So if the language provides the set of tools to develop the product, the success of the company doesn't depend on it, but in the good usage of it.

Well, you're probably a software engineer and what you're saying probably makes a lot of sense to you, since you're probably aware of your capabilities. I'm not even saying you're wrong. The post however was also not to convince you that you're working with the "wrong" tools but to convince potential entrepreneurs that PHP will not save their startup. For them it's always about investments and risks and I tried to help them get a clearer picture on that.

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peteraba profile image