Friday January 30, 2004

Critical Mass

by Jay F. Davis,

I had lunch with a friend a few days ago who's specialty is Cold Fusion development. Don't get me wrong, Cold Fusion is a nice development environment. However, my friend made a comment about the confidence he felt about using Cold Fusion instead of PHP for web development. He said that he trusts Cold Fusion more in a production environment because it's commercial software.

I accused him of a Microsoft-ism, to which he replied that Cold Fusion is anything but Microsoft. Which is true.

My point, however, was that that is the same kind of nonsense that Microsoft throws at us: that commercial software is inherently better than open-source software because the revenue stream insures that the software will be improved and supported into the future.

This misses the point entirely. PHP and Cold Fusion, in fact, are a very bad comparison when thought of simply in terms of which is more likely to be supported and improved into the future. PHP has a much greater market share, in fact it is the fifth most popular programming language on the planet after C, Java, Perl and VB. Cold Fusion is 35th. Which means by sheer volume it's easier to find PHP programmers and PHP support than it is to find the same for Cold Fusion. PHP already has the critical mass it needs to insure it's growth and development way into the future.

The other huge advantage PHP has over Cold Fusion is the wealth of open-source software available for PHP. For example, I've just installed WordPress, a free, simple and attractive blogging package, which I'm using on Patina's news page. And there are lots of choices for this sort of thing in PHP. But only a few for Cold Fusion.

I like Cold Fusion. But it's long term viability is miniscule compared to PHP. And I think that's because it is commercial software.


Above article Last updated: 30 January 2004 11:17:23 PM

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