In a matter of a week, I’ve been “trolled” twice - I may be exaggerating a bit here - on Twitter by two very serious and talented developers: @dhh (creator of Ruby on Rails) and @JBossMike (a core engineer at JBoss).
The DHH incident
First, I got a bit pissed at @dhh for this tweet:
It's the same thing about PHP. Its simplicity and niche was and is amazing. Trying to grow it into a full OO env is folly.— DHH (@dhh) December 29, 2012
I could have let it go but it was not the first time I saw a Ruby developer bashing PHP about it being simple or messy or not professional.
So I answered with:
And now @dhh is trolling about PHP… You should look at Symfony 2 or Zend Framework, you'll learn a couple of things about true OOP...— Simon Jodet (@sjodet) December 29, 2012
and got his attention with:
The discussion went on for a while but basically, @dhh said he admired PHP for its original simplicity but it shouldn’t have evolved toward OOP.
Discussing with Mike Brock
Then today I had a Twitter conversation with @JBossMike who reacted to this tweet of mine:
ROFL "Java has eclipsed most dynamic languages" ocpsoft.org/opensource/jav… Except at Facebook, Twitter, Google, Dropbox and the list is long...— Simon Jodet (@sjodet) January 5, 2013
Basically, he took offence of “ROFL” associated with Java - or maybe because I made fun of his colleague’s article - and spent a surprising amount of time listing how much Facebook, Twitter and especially Google were using Java and how much Java is scalable. I can’t argue with that, he probably knows better than I do what language is used at Google and it’s absolutely true some very scalable tools like Cassandra or Hadoop are coded with Java.
Scalability is not the only criterium
But, like @dhh, @JBossMike missed my point or ignored it. There is a good reason Google was initially using Python. Facebook still uses PHP heavily and Twitter was created with Rails.
The reason is those languages and their ecosystem allow for a quick development and are easily deployable. I’m no Java expert but I’d suspect Java doesn’t perform as well on small architectures as those 3 languages. I’d also suspect that in order to deliver a working prototype of Facebook, Google or Twitter, the amount of code/work necessary in Java is higher. And finally, I think Java developers are more expensive than their fellow developers specialised in PHP, Python or Ruby.
You’re not your code, you’re not your language!
You know why Cassandra or Hadoop are written in Java? Because they’re developed by better developers!
Yes they’re better developers, more experienced, more trained, more schooled. But they’re not better because they use Java. Those guys just tend to have learned Java early in their career and feel comfortable using it.
To DHH and Mike Brock
But face it guys. PHP powers much more web sites than Ruby and Java:
Your languages are strong but not that strong.
That’s all trolls!
That’s the last time I’ll spend time on this holy war of languages. We got the same argument with web browsers and operating systems before that. And actual religions before that.
People tend to take offense when you criticise their preferred language the same way they’d take offence if you criticised their culture or religion. So don’t do it, that’s petty, mean and counter-productive.
You’d better spend your time developing great apps instead, whatever language you use.