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back to article Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun

Terrible things are about to happen in Microsoft's web application hosting environment, Windows Azure. Redmond's Slugworth, desperate to keep up with Mountain View's Chocolate Factory, has introduced support for PHP on their web application platform. Microsoft's Windows Azure is a competitor to Google App Engine and is trying to …

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Flame

Mostly drivel and poor analogies.

What basically comes out of this article is that the author doesn't like PHP. That's about it.

Oh, and the author doesn't like FastCGI too. Blah blah. Microsoft implementing FastCGI somehow makes them bad but google only supporting heavy weight languages like Java and Python is fine?

With Java at least the point regarding PHP running under FastCGI keeping processes running is pretty moot you should have realised,... Java also requires that a few processes are kept running i.e. a JVM. Also I have a feeling keeping the processes running is so that your users don't have to wait for PHP to start up every time they make a request.

>Yahoo would never have happened.

I think back in the day, when Yahoo actually meant something, most of their stuff was written in Perl.

>then there would be no Digg

They would have written it in Perl instead.

Meh

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Feeding the Trolls at the Register

Lets make an analogy. Lets say a guy with little construction skills uses a hammer to build a crappy dog house.

He's happy, the dogs happy ... but you are skilled construction worker and you are upset that he didn't use a nail gun, didn't get building permits, didn't hire a carpenter and a structural engineer.

In fact all dog houses should have a cement foundation, steal beams, .... you know this because you build skyscrapers and you know what you are doing and no one else does.

Grow up.

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Flame

My X is better than your X

My car is better than your car

My dad is better than your dad

My house is bigger than your house

My mac is better than your PC

My operating system is better than your operating system

My programming language is better than your programming language

You get good developers and bad developers regardless of the language they use. So you hate PHP. Great, good for you. But without it there would be far less innovation on the web due to a higher barrier of entry. However you would still get badly written, unscalable applications no matter what language you are using.

Your mum is better than my mum.

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Gates Horns

"you must be this awesome to ride"

Ted might not like PHP much, or more accurately the clownfest that will most likely occur when someone like MS "open up" to PHP, but he certainly made me chuckle through my bank holiday breakfast.

Don't get me wrong, I used to code in PHP, and still do on occasion. I like the language but I don't think Ted is on the thinnest of ice when he takes a pop at PHP developers for have a high percentage of interwebz for dummies readers.

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Do not feed the troll

Rofl.

This piece got me laughing so hard. I won't comment on this language vs. another since nothing in this article warrants that kind of thought. It's a good quality joke. But beyond that it has zero value.

Maybe PHP isn't the best but so isn't Perl or Python(whitespaces anyone) as is Ruby...

There is no one true uber language. There never will be. Different uses different means etc...

So have fun and thanks for this great joke of the day... And not even friday...

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Boffin

Oh boo freakin' hoo

Are the bad men who don't have years spare to learn your chosen programming language using your interwebs? Does the idea of a programmer who isn't utterly "elite" scare and confuse you? I think the correct term for you, sir, is "technical prima donna". I laugh in the face of your pointless pretention and call your article a silly thing. You sound like the boy racer of coding- not entirely sure why the induction kit you've stuck on your car makes it faster, but you're pretty sure it does.

And what, pray tell, is wrong with most of the stuff that you wrote about earlier? So long as it's functional it's fine. And if you commit the oh-so-heinous crimes detailed in the article, surely you're that bad a programmer that you'd not be let into a position of any real programmy influence?

Finally, before this erupts into an outright flame, remember that the popularity of the computing industry is based on it's accessibility. That's why Linux hasn't taken over yet and why Apple gets away with charging a premium for IT Duplo. And the ability to write apps- to make a computer do what YOU, as the user, want it to do- is anothe big draw. So you need accessible ways of writing apps.

If you don't like it or if it's crap, don't use it. No-one's forcing you.

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Microsoft SOP surely

"The great draw of PHP is that it allows less experienced programmers to solve small problems quickly"

AFAIK MS has always sold its development tools on the hello-world-is-just-2-lines-of-code routine, neglecting the small mountain you'll climb to wade through all the docs, "features" and actual (but not admitted) bugs to do anything significant.

MS have been convincing programmers that with *any* of their tools any project is a piece of cake, despite the inappropriateness of the package. (AI in COBOL, with Developer Studio its a snap). No change there then.

Although an admirably restrained piece from Ted.

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Happy

PHP ~ professional?

Have to agree. As a professional developer, I often see a trend for neophytes to use PHP without any understanding of the art of coding. It gets rather disconcerting to hear that they can implement the world in a few minutes, until you see the results.

Bit like Access. Say what you like about it, but it is a useful little database for smaller web applications. The problem is when put in the hands of someone with no knowledge, it runs like a dog. In the hands of someone experienced with building database applications, Access is fine.

With so many numpties opting for Azure, its performance will no doubt suffer.

Question: will Microsoft get the blame, or will they work like Billy-oh to put in more servers? Two-edged sword you see.

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Heheheh

I'm sure the PHP fanboys will descend with their flamethrowers, but it's still a good article :D

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PHP is just right

I was asking one of my top tech leads who is called in to tune large (20+ server) web applications (typically .NET), what was his favourite language. He said he was quite impressed with PHP.

In contrast to the author, I think .NET is much more dangerous in the hands of novices. Instead of a handgun, it's like letting them loose with the USS Enterprise.

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Paris Hilton

OMFG Python and Java heavy weight languages!!!@@!

I'm sorry, writing your web app in straight up K&R C and Berkley sockets would be a heavyweight. Or fcuk it going a functional language like Haskell just to screw over who ever has to maintain it would be laying down the law. But no, Java and Python are happy sandboxed playpens of where you actually have to plan and scheme to graze a knee, and PHP is just VB for Gen Y .

Don't know why I needed to rant this but the word heavy weight almost make me choke.

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Stop

And another one takes a swing at Java...

@Daniel Palmer. The JVM that is kept running as a of part of the server. Everything with regards to the actually assembly of the response is passivated to cache (when, obviously depends on your caching strategy). For a site with a large number of requests Java is more efficient than PHP by a long shot.

The inertia people experience with Java comes in the first part of a deployment, where heavily used classes still needs to be JIT'ed and translated into native machine code. (This is also why lots of CS students fucks up their performance analysis in Java.)

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Anonymous Coward

Does this article have a point?

As you say, PHP is a tool. When planning a project, one picks the best tools for the job. PHP is flexible and very well supported both in terms of documentation and APIs. This makes it an ideal solution for providing a front-end to multiple back-end systems. In fact, I can't think of a decent alternative for writing a web based GUI except for MS's tortuous, expensive offerings.

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Is Ted sick? Replaced by an imposter?

Where's all teh sweary?

Come on Ted, a bit more obscene language or nobody will know what to put in the comments. A bowlderised Dziuba is like a lucid manfrommars.

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Coat

really?

"which means they both fail at failing.

It's mathematically complete." um, faill and failling is a negative and a negative right? in math that would make a positive. for MS, thats a good thing, no?

mine's the one with the php hand book in the right pocket.

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Thanks for the tip

This is exactly the sort of hosting I need for my new website which I wrote in an hour last night. it combines Twitter, Youtube, Ebay and Facebook, and I wrote a new CMS for it too.

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Yup, PHP sucks. So does PERL

I've gotta agree with him.

I've seen so many crap projects "written" by "developers" in these languages that I just plain refuse to support anything written in either. My boss doesn't have enough money to pay me to do that.

Perl is about as write-only as APL. I have yet to see Perl code that's not part of the official distribution that's actually readable and maintainable. Monkeys throwing shit at a wall comes to mind.

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@Daniel Palmer

In some respects you're obviously correct, others you miss the point.

PHP is a car crash of a language when compared to other languages, the language has almost no structure or what structure it does have is built like a skyscraper using duct-tape, sure it's 100 storeys high, but holy shit WTF have you done????

As for most programmers, they are awful, in my entire 10 year programming experience, I have seen ONE project that was written "correctly" as in (incidentally, it's my current project), didnt look like a pile of shit, sql everywhere, dead bodies by the roadside that nobody knows how or why they are there.

I think a lot of people can resonate with what ted is saying here, that by far, PHP has the worst programmers of almost any language except VB, the only reason we use it is because like ted says, in the hands of RESPONSIBLE people, it can be used properly, it's just that 99% of people are not in that category.

So whilst he does blow things up, he is also correct in what he has said. At least give him the benefit of the doubt before replying.

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Tom
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A bad developer always

blames his tools.

PHP has its quirks but ignorance and stupidity are not built in - as in most languages that has to be supplied by the developer.

"The great draw of PHP is that it allows less experienced programmers to solve small problems quickly, which is great for people who aren't in the business of making web applications."

Replace PHP with MS and I wouldnt argue with you.

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Flame

I'm sure the flames are coming......

But in spite of the fact that I once (for a brief period in the late 90s) did a little, very poorly coded work in PHP, on a intra company IRIX webserver (and yes I even used MySQL.... the HORROR!)... I do have to say this is the funniest paragraph I've read on El Reg in a long while:

"For those of you that aren't web developers, this is a bit like trying to kill a person with a rifle by clubbing them in the foot with it, hoping that they the blunt end of the weapon will break the skin somehow, and your victim will die of an infection because he's in a place so remote that there's no access to antibiotics."

and by the way, some 10 years later, the application I wrote is still running with zero administration on the same hardware (with only one service call to me 5 years ago) since they laid off all their engineers..... but I'm sure it doesn't scale.

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@Daniel Palmer

Oh dear, not quite got your weekend head on any more have we?

Nice article. Keep it up.

Does make me wonder if MS are doing this just so they can turn round in a year or three and say: "Look, we always told you that ASP was better than PHP, what did you expect? Time for an upgrade and a re-write."

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Bad similes. Again.

"You see, PHP is like a handgun. On its own, it is simply an inanimate tool that has no moral leaning. In the hands of a responsible citizen, it can be used to the benefit of society. But in the hands of someone who is untrained or mentally unstable, it can be used to commit horrible atrocities."

Ted, you are an idiot. PHP *is* crap, don't get me wrong, but equating it with a tool that can do physical damage to people when in the hands of a psychopath is wrong. Software doesn't hurt people, hardware does.

On the other hand, there is no such thing as software ... so-called "software" is merely the current state of the hardware. Maybe I'm the idiot ;-)

Half-wit developers, on the gripping hand, are half-wits regardless of language. And there are a plethora of half-wits out there claiming to be WWW developers ... Follow any link provided by Metacrawler's "metaspy" to see a wide range of examples.

As for google being English & microsoft being American ... That simile is just plain deranged. Both are the epitome of "ugly American". I speak as a Yank educated in England.

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Utter nonsense

Where did you drag this author up from? PHP is a rich and powerful language with immense possibilities. Citing its use by the underqualified is like trying to say that vehicles should be banned because some drivers are idiots. PHP has quickly become one of the backbones of the web for very good reasons - and not just because it eases the learning curve for newbies.

I really fail to see any part of this article that makes sense or is based in any kind of reality. IT is a heavily biased article from someone who clearly doesn't know what they're talking about. This is a good example of someone decrying something because they don't understand it. It's synonymous with burning people as witches in the middle ages because they were left handed.

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Regarding Yahoo,

In their years of relevancy, their server components were all written in C++ (most of the site) and LISP (their horrible storefront service); since then they have apparently migrated to PHP and C++, respectively.

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Flame

A thinly veiled excuse to have a go at PHP.

Oh, look! Microsoft have released some marketing bullshit about scalability! Hey, I've got a good idea, why don't I slag off PHP?

Maybe next time you could actually report on Microsoft's new announcement instead of using it as an excuse to complain about people learning PHP. Personally I like the fact that PHP allows more people to dip their toe in programming. Yes they can make a mess of things but they have to learn somehow. Or do .Net, Java, Python, et al have a method you can call to clear your code up? this.fixMyCode(badCode)?

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Alien

Stable horse bolted close door?

"For those of you that aren't web developers, this is a bit like trying to kill a person with a rifle by clubbing them in the foot with it, hoping that they the blunt end of the weapon will break the skin somehow, and your victim will die of an infection because he's in a place so remote that there's no access to antibiotics." ..... which is bit like going to remote foreign and backward lands with high tech weapons and low level grunts to stir up hornets' nests of resentment at the violent sacrifice and unwelcome pillage, whilst one's own homeland is in Ignorance Meltdown and its Capital Operating System is in Arrogant Crisis and Terminal Decline.

Which does raise the not Inconsiderable Question of Microsoft's Culpability for the Present and its Global Woes....... although they could always blame their Employees/Programmers, for without them would Billy Boy be Nothing.

And obviously Lead Intelligence at Microsoft in their Closed Loops/Executive Offices is now exhausted. ........ and that makes Microsoft Virtual Vulnerable to Hostile Predators and Asset Strippers.

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Flame

Another load of fail from a failure

A handgun has one purpose - to kill. It has no benefit to society, no redeeming features; it is an instrument of death and destruction pure and simple.

PHP (love or hate it) is not a instrument with the sole purpose of death or destruction, it is just a programming language and thus completely neutral. A particular PHP program may, though, be an instrument of death or destruction.

The fact that the author seeks to demean and belittle the many thousands of deaths every year from handguns, merely to grind his pathetic geek-axe against some perceived injustice, is disgusting. It is a further debasement of humanity for him to try and claim that a handgun is some kind of benefit to society, when we all know that all increased handgun ownership means is increased deaths and not increased safety.

The logic (in the loosest possible sense) that underpins his analogy is so twisted and weak that the rest of the article reads like a six year-old having a tantrum. What happened, did mummy take his dummy teat away? Or does he just have no clue what he's talking about? Or both?

Regardless of the language, platform or design pattern; a worthless programmer will write worthless code. No getting away from that. Will Azure's PHP support allow people to write mince? Sure. Does Java allow people to write mince? Deffo. Does C? You bet your arse.

The language is not at fault, it's the idiots who code it. A bit like the metal is not at fault for being a handgun, merely the idiot who made it. And a bit like it's not the fault of the words for being in such a useless article.

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RE: Mostly drivel and poor analogies.

> What basically comes out of this article is that the author doesn't like PHP. That's about it.

To be fair, his parting shot does make it clear that he doesn't like MySQL either. Mind you, not sure if it's MySQL users he doesn't like, MySQL itself or both.

Wow, think this is the first article I've read on the Reg that could pass for a post from a troll.

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@Everyone

@Chris Thomas

You can make just as many mistakes with Java as you can PHP. Actually PHP doesn't let you hang yourself in some ways that Java (When I say Java, I really mean the JVM/Application servers everyone is using) will, as far as I know neither modphp or php running under fastcgi allow for threads that can each call methods within the same instances of your classes and thus can cause everything to shit over itself if your code isn't thread safe. If you're writing bad PHP code it's probably best you stick to that instead of trying to forge even worse Java or Python wouldn't you say?

@Matware

C would be lightweight. You could write your own http server and business logic in a tiny amount of code compared with Java or Python (Your code + Runtime). Also, all your code would be machine native, so would run a sight quicker too. But.. would you want to maintain it?

Java and Python both have huge support libraries that make it Easy to get stuff done(TM). Heavyweight != Hardcore. Hardcore would be writing the OS, TCP/IP stack and HTTP server and business logic in assembly.

@Dave

Well, my timezone is a good 6 hours ahead of the UK. Still there's nothing that saves this article.

@All

I've never said PHP was any good. But jumping on the back of something Microsoft are doing to poo poo PHP is a little childish.

@The author

You could run PHP on Google's stack using Quercus...

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@fluffy

Yahoo's old codebase may have been compiled with a C++ compiler, but very little of it was really C++ code - it was mostly pure C. And shit C at that. On my first day at the company I fixed a classic string format vulnerability that had been written by someone who was supposed to be a senior developer - this wasn't a random fuck up, it was par for the course. I quit the company in disgust after three months, having joined thinking I'd be working on a well written, documented and designed system. With this in mind, it came as no surprise when they switched to PHP, as it matches the anarchy of the whole company.

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Anonymous Coward

Can't comment on PHP, but...

Although I haven't really played with PHP much so can't comment on how good/bad/ugly it is compared with what i usually code in, supporting it doesn't sound like much of a MS fail to me.

IF IT DOES encourage people to write horrifically inefficient code, that's pretty convenient if i just happened to be selling an app-hosting solution where i'm charging people based on their processing requirements.

A spot-on business model from MS and a fail for whoever's paying those Azure hosting fees I think.

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Anonymous Coward

at least this awesome?

PHP has always struck as a language for people who think that Perl is a bondage and discipline language, Ada with weird symbols. Not my first choice, but with a little care one can get something that not only works but makes sense months later. One can also code thousand-line atrocities without subroutines or loops, and requiring 'register_globals' to be true.

And what exactly is so awesome about Python? Remembering the indentation levels? Are the three letters IDE (or five, emacs) as dangerous as the three PHP? Heaven knows I prefer Python to PHP, but I don't know that anybody stands in awe of me--certainly I don't.

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Happy

What's a Slugworth?

... and how many Henways is that?

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Anonymous Coward

There is a difference

...between doing it fast and doing it right. Unfortunately in business you usually have to do it fast. Live with it.

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@Thomas Vestergaard

@Thomas Vestergaard

N.B. I never actually said anything negative about Java...

>The JVM that is kept running as a of part of the server.

In a Java application server the JVM is running the whole show, no JVM no Webapp full stop. Which is fine if your application is meaty enough to warrant having an application server around... if you're doing what probably 90% of PHP scripts do, which is replacing variables with text from a MySQL database, you probably don't need a whole Java EE stack around. ;)

> Everything with regards to the actually assembly of the response is passivated to cache

That depends on your application/application server... again, nothing against Java (I've been building a large application on top of Glassfish for the last year..) the exact same things exist for PHP. Look at xcache for example.

> The inertia people experience with Java comes in the first part of a deployment,

Yes, all the deployment stuff is nice in Java/<Insert some application server here>, but you don't need that stuff for most of what PHP is used for.

> where heavily used classes still needs to be JIT'ed and translated into

> native machine code.

I'm not sure that any JVM has the ability to compile all code down to machine code. From what I've read Sun's hotspot compiler does stuff like unrolling loops, and does compile "hotspots" down to native code where it can, but it's still a great leap away from being 100% native code. That's not to say you can't compile Java down to machine code,.. but not really in this scope. PHP does nothing clever and basically boils down to a great being switch statement that calls a bunch of FOSS libraries, but for a good deal of web 2.oh no applications that's all you need.

Anyhow, after all that... where did I say anything about Java being slow?

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Joke

PHP Horrors

I've seen and had to maintain plenty of, but without fail the most horrific software abortions I have ever come across in terms of maintainability, understandability, code-reuse, performance and just general fucked-up obtuseness have been bespoke enterprise apps written largely in - you guessed it - Java.

I'll sort a bowl of spaghetti procedural code rather than a badly designed inheritance anyday.

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@Chris Thomas

"As for most programmers, they are awful, in my entire 10 year programming experience, I have seen ONE project that was written "correctly" as in (incidentally, it's my current project)"

Ah, the classic "everyone sucks but me" approach? Historically speaking, the occurrence of such cases is very rare...how about you go back to your project in ten years and see what your successor thinks of it. In my experience (not being a coder, but talking to a lot of 'em) they mostly all think each other's code sucks.

And to Ted - I suppose you're thinking of a fairly well-educated Englishman. Who was brought up proper. And isn't currently drunk. Which rules out most of 'em! (rimshot, please...) All the rest would already have murmured something unintelligible about Redmond and Mountain View and glassed the American with the remains of their pint of Special Brew before he'd ever got the chance to punch them in the face...

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Good PHP programmers...

...are just as plentiful as good Java programmers. Conversely, bad Java programmers are just as plentiful as good PHP programmers. The difference being, bad Java programmers are 2nd year CS students or working as codepeasants at monlithic corporations, which bad PHP programmers are photographers and design majors.

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Nice one, Ted

Always nice to diss PHP and MySQL even if it is like grooming fish in a barrel. There are plenty of wonderful websites out there running both and plenty of programmers blissfully happy with them. They're still both shit and shit*shit when used in combination. Then again Django, while usable, is still just CGI stuff.

As for Azure & App Engine. I'm not sure if scalability per se is the real sell. I thought it was more of the pay as you grow billing side of it that people were interested in.

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A Cloudy View

If you want to get a real idea of what Amazon, Microsoft and Google are trying to offer, look at Berkeley's paper on cloud computing:

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-28.pdf

I don't think the author of this article really comprehends that Microsoft and Amazon are not just offering a scripting service like Google, they are offering virtual computing resources that can be used to run almost anything the customer wants. It's hardly their fault if customers chose to pay for resources and then use them to write bad code.

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Go

Title.

He's no Otto, but he's getting better.

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Happy

this.fixMyCode(badCode)

this.fixMyCode(badCode)

this functions is wat i needs.

pls post the link or pm me wer i can gets this code?

it in the javas or php?

pls heklp

<Classic!>

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Ted knows flame baiting...

if you swap the instances of the strings 'PHP and 'Python' you'll get the exact same article except it will irritate the Python users.

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This is a good thing

Equip the bad programmer's with handguns, group them in one place where they can shoot themselves, each other and microsoft collectively in the foot. And anyone left over can happily avoid them.

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Irrelevant

A pretty poor piece of 'journalism'. If this hack knew anything outside his cloudy bubble of experience and had maybe read just the first 3 Google results for "PHP scalability", he'd know that PHP scales well. It has been proven so many times now.

If a PHP application appears to not be able to cope under big loads, it'll most likely be the data storage engine to blame.

This is dated flame baiting, not something I'd expect from the Register to be honest.

It's interesting that the most mature responses in this comments section so far have been from people defending PHP.

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Quality of PHP Code ...

I'd also like to point out that good developers often write very bad code.

There are a lot of programmers who know how to refactor messy code and properly comment, document and test everything ... but are not given the chance.

In the real world sometimes its better to have 6 projects completed in a fast and sloppy manner than 3 completed by the book.

Its all about balancing priorities and compromises.

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Heart

Have my babies, Ted

You're a god-damn hero!

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Flame

I blame the developers.

It's not the fault of the hammer that you hit your thumb with it.

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Yeah, but....

In this day and age I'm afraid that with small IT shops, like mine with over-bearing managers, we need quick solutions to allow us to code quick utils and apps for internal use. Perl and PHP, if used carefully can bring quick results.

I have to agree though, wouldn't like to code huge apps with it, some people can get it right, but they are few and far between!

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Paris Hilton

Real programmers don't eat quiche

This reeks of the elitism pumped out by the British Computer Society that only those suitably approved of by the BCS should be allowed to program. "Approved" doesn't mean competant, just someone who jumps through all the hoops and flicks all the switches to induce an orgasm at BCS Membership HQ.

It doesn't mean BCS members are not crap ( some of the biggest and most expensive fails have involved people the BCS would welcome with open arms ), and it doesn't mean those who the BCS reject are.

Paris : Who knows all about members.

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