The Dark Horse  

By Chris Wine under Languages, Then they laugh at you... on 21. July 2005

Chris Wine left this as a comment and I thought it deserved a page of its own. — Ryan

In a recent meeting with a BEA developer, I was told how a small non profit recently converted their website from ASP to PHP. Why I immediately asked? Because the resources for the implementation were less expensive, and there were thousands of CMS, blog and wiki applications to choose from, rather than just a few in the Microsoft environment. Application availability used to be the Achilles heel of platforms that competed with Microsoft. I remember UNIX vendors not having “enough” applications running on their OS, and paying big bucks to ISVs to port product to their platform. Now these scripting languages with zero marketing budgets have flipped the tables on Microsoft. I am impressed.

Scripting languages are winning the mind share for developers, because recent grads know and like these languages. They are easy and inexpensive to deploy, and you get results fast. While some say they are not scaleable, developments at Google and Yahoo say otherwise. For those that still want a more proven solution for large deployments, Java has its place in companies that have requirements for thousands of concurrent users. That said, there are many more companies that do not have requirements for thousands of concurrent users. And as Joel Spolsky says, “It is easier to start small and cheap and scale up, than to start big and expensive and scale down.”

I ran some quick searches, to determine what people in the technology universe are talking about. While my survey is by no means a scientific random sample, I still believe it has some merit. Also, I used less than ideal search parameters for the scripting languages as some of them are common words (Python and Ruby).The merit is not in the absolute values, but in the ratios. I believe that the number of relevant posts on these scripting languages is 300-1000% higher than what I show below.

Google Suggest (as of July 22nd)

J2EE Results

  • JBOSS J2EE 518,000 results
  • BEA J2EE 999,000 results
  • Oracle J2EE 1,920,000 results
  • IBM J2EE 1,950,000 results
  • Sun J2EE 3,690,000 results

Scripting Results

  • PHP Software 30,000,000 results
  • Perl Software 14,100,000 results
  • Python Software 8,850,000 results
  • Ruby Software 4,780,000 results
  • Jython Software 0 results

Dot Net Results

  • .Net Software 32,300,000 results


Total .NET Results: 32,300,000
Total J2EE results: 8,610,800
Total Scripting results: 23,458,000


.Net Posts

  • .Net Software 55,046 posts

J2EE Posts

  • BEA J2EE 687 posts
  • BEA Portal 415 posts
  • JBOSS 991 posts
  • JBOSS Portal 215 posts
  • Oracle J2EE 1,534 posts
  • Oracle Portal 1,221 posts
  • IBM J2EE 1,456 posts
  • IBM Portal 1, 936 posts
  • Sun J2EE 1,791 posts
  • Sun Portal 4,376 posts
Scripting Software Posts
  • PHP software 15,829 posts
  • Perl software 6,828 posts
  • Python software 4,704 posts
  • Ruby software 2,037 posts
  • Jython software 143 posts


Total .Net Posts - 55,046
Total J2EE Posts -14,622
Total Scripting Posts – 29,398


The revolution is here. It may not be televised (yet!) but it is being blogged, and otherwise documented. BEA may of may not get bought. I don’t know, and now that I am wrapping up this post, I think my original uninteresting. The more interesting question is “Will the scripting languages assume the role of Linux in the mid-nineties?” Can scripting languages be a mindshare leader in 10 years, with growth outpacing all of the J2EE vendors and .NET combined? In 2015, will we talk primarily about .NET, and some scripting language(s)?

Does anyone even doubt this hyposthesis?

End of rant.


3 Responses to “The Dark Horse”

  1. Patrice:

    You may want to revise the number of results for the .Net searches. The dot is not included in the search and “net” has a much wider meaning than just “.Net”. I guess that the correct number of .Net results is even lower than the Java ones.

    comment at 21. July 2005

  2. Ken Pratt:

    FYI, a search for “microsoft .net” yields 3,180,000 results, and a search on Technorati yields only 5,414 posts.

    comment at 21. July 2005

  3. Paul Houle:

    Hell yeah.

    PHP is the Visual Basic of the web. It’s a terrible language in a lot of ways, but it bundles 95% of what you need to make web sites in one simple package that a complete idiot can install on any web server in minutes — and, unlike, say, Cold Fusion, no BS about software licensing.

    This enables software reuse on the web — people can aim software at a standard configuration and expect it to install on ordinary desktop machines, $8.99 /month mass hosting facilities, or the latest 4-way Opteron on monster. You can deploy on Linux, Windows or even Solaris.

    Java has wonderful (and terrible) frameworks and Perl has CPAN, but to put together a comfortable environment for web programming in either of those languages you’ll need to install ten different add-on packages, and every software system out there will pick a different ten.

    Three years ago you couldn’t pick up high-quality software to run a web site, but now you can, and PHP is the lingua franca that made it possible.

    comment at 22. July 2005