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From Tina Müller <>
Subject Re: Amazon
Date Sat, 23 Feb 2008 14:28:07 GMT

On Sat, 23 Feb 2008, Michael Lackhoff wrote:

> In a recent issue of the German iX magazine there was a report about a
> similar migration ( I think).

I would like to comment on that article. I think it is very important to
read this article less as a "Everyone should migrate to Java, here's
why" and more as a "We've been migrating, here's how and what problems
we solved".

The reason I'm saying this is because the article keeps quiet about some
details. I'm not saying the article is wrong or bad, but from a perl
programmer's point of view there are some important details left out.

> - some of the original developers left, so it was difficult to
>   maintain the original codebase

This is true. But there were two main reasons why Perl programmers left
- The company moved from the city to somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
   It's normal that you lose employees if you do this.
- The company had sponsored perl workshops and had sent people to
   workshops and conferences before. That stopped long before the switsch
   to Java. It's no surprise that it gets at least more difficult to find
   perl programmers if you stop supporting the community.

> - JAVA community with lots of help and high quality tools and libraries.
> - the new solution used less resources (they saved a few hundred
>   servers) and still ran faster.

Also with that part the article leaves something important out. Part of
the solution that saved lots of servers was the new search component.
This is written in C++ (I'm telling no secrets here, although this
wasn't mentioned in the article), and the first part of the changes was
in fact letting the perl code communicate with the new search engine.
Already this was a success and saved lots of hardware.

While I would certainly say that the new code design and software
architecture is much better than the old one (naturally, if you
redesign something historically grown up), I'd also say this could have
happened with Perl, too. For many features which were actually needed
there was no time. But if you do a rewrite you have time for everything.

I felt the need to say that after reading the article. Again, the
article itself is written well for its purpose, but if you (or your
boss) search for reasons to switch to Java you should search for
something more detailed.

>   A few years ago the 'P' in LAMP clearly was 'Perl', now it is 'PHP'
>   in most cases. Developers tend to go (even if slowly) where the money
>   is.

Well, talking about PHP, I would be careful as a company to
say there are more PHP developers, and they are even cheaper, so we
switch. There *are* professional PHP programmers and it is possible to
write good code, but the fact that there are many PHP programmers is in
my opinion due to the fact that it's easy to write a simple website with
it and almost every webhoster supports it. So I would estimate to get
PHP programmers with the same quality you have to search as long as for
perl programmers, if you care about security.
So I still hope that at least some companies prefer quality to quantity.



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