[Clug-work] Now Hiring: PHP Programmer wanted: Bellville W.Cape, South Africa - PHP/Apache/Linux/Postgresql - Development

Jeremy Thurgood jerith at jerith.za.net
Thu Jul 26 15:41:42 SAST 2007

David Maclay wrote:
> I'm working in Python currently, but in a classis case of 'worse is better'
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worse_is_better) PHP often scales better,
> exactly BECAUSE PHP sucks.  Nobody in their right mind writes a serious
> library for PHP in PHP, they use C.  With Python, people write libs in
> Python because it is a serious language, and Pythonistas tend to be quite
> ideological about this.  But while Python outperforms PHP, it gets smoked by
> C.  A classic case is the memcache API's for PHP & Python, where performance
> REALLY matters.

Mazeltov, you've just pushed a couple of my buttons. (Accordingly, my 
rant isn't at you.)

Getting more {users,sessions,connections} on a single box only bumps the 
real scaling threshold a little further out. To scale *properly*, you 
need to spread out horizontally. This means your application needs to be 
able to partition work and/or do a bunch of stuff in a stateless 
frontend layer. This depends far more on system design and architecture 
than implementation language.

If you're going to do the difficult work of making your system scale 
beyond a single box, rather do it in a language that actually works. 
Hardware is cheap. Bugs are expensive.

In the case you're citing, you're just replacing a crap language with a 
mediocre (for webdev) one. You've made your system a lot less 
maintainable, too.


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