Keynote of Tim Bray: some interesting comparison between PHP, Rails and Java

Tim Bray, who – among many other things – co-edited the XML 1.0 and XML namespace definitions, was invited to the International PHP Conference to give a keynote about „How to combine PHP technology with Java based on Enterprise Systems“. I had the pleasure to talk with him and I like his spirit. During his keynote, he presented some very interesting comparison between the popular development „frameworks“ PHP, Ruby on Rails (RoR, Rails) and Java:

Of course you need to decide yourself which of those intrinsics is most important:

You can find his slides here. Thanks Tim for being at the Conference.


Von Björn Schotte

Björn Schotte ist geschäftsführender Gesellschafter der Mayflower GmbH und Senior Consultant im Umfeld von Software- und Agilen Organisations-Themen. Er twittert unter @BjoernSchotte und ist auf Xing sowie LinkedIn erreichbar. Seine Vorträge finden sich bei Slideshare.

14 Kommentare

  1. WTF PHP is more scalable than Java? Does it have database connection pools? Does it have clustered caches? Does it support distributed transactions? Blah!

  2. Where are these results coming from? Since when Rails is considered to be supported for production? PHP is better than Java? Well, yes, it is, for people who don’t bother looking and just want it done any possible way. Might as well do it in ASP. It will get it done. I like PHP; its a good tool for prototyping. But Java offers so much more. You saying its harder to work with? Get the right tools. Vi isn’t a development tool. Get something like IDEA and Stripes framework. Rails is very cool and chick these days, but I keep reading its not ready.

    I keep hearing all those kids pushing PHP and PHP and PHP. But they are all using a templating language for PHP written in PHP to generate pages. Wait, itsn’t PHP made exactly for that??? Whats next? a templating language to generate to templating language to generate templates to generate html? I once had a pleasure of working with a person who used Perl to generate ColdFusion templates.

  3. I find it hard to believe that Rails is more maintainable than Java. I say this because the number of Java develpers vs. the number of Rails developers is probably a huge gap. And because of that, maintaining a huge Rails project would require experienced Rails developers. How many do you know?

  4. Sorry I missed the presentation. Can you please share the metrics and the test condition based on which this report has been arrived at ?

  5. You’re right, PHP scales better than Java in a non-reliable application (write to some reliable layer for instance, like a transactional database). You just chain some webservers – not caring about tasks and lifecycles beside request/response. RoR works similiar to this behavior, but is database-centric only and you can do some lifecycle (threading), too. Java provides both and more, too. Of course, Java is type safe and you need to write more code. And that’s why Java has a better IDE support. Scalability in Java is on how you define scalability. Do you want to have a scalable web application not counting on a 99,9% QoS with failover, just buy a strong app server machine and some web servers using mod_jk. But if you have an application, which is just more than a web application, where C++ is not productive / cost-effective enough (hey, and some Java VM-Implementations are providing realtime) you’ll love Java (or .NET ;). Cost efficiency in technology is dispensable in sectors, where your income depends on the technologies reliability! And that’s what Java (and .net) is living from.

    Each language has its right of being. But all depends on the problem which needs to be solved and which language is the most suitable to get these things done! Zend did their first steps in supporting Java (Beans), which is a wonderful approach in my eyes. And I will use RoR, when I have the time of developing my new personal website ;).

  6. How much PHP/RoR/Java experience does Tim Bray have?

    I’m afraid I do not intend to give any weight to the ramblings of a person who does not have sufficient „personal“ experience in the usage of all these 3 technologies. Heresay, does not count.

    Has he personally conducted a comprehensive comparison of these 3 languages on all the criteria listed (scalibilit, maintainance etc.).

    This is as authentic as Bill Gates commenting on how Eclipse is better than
    MS Visual Studio.

    Hogwash at best!

  7. Actually, it’s all a matter of who is doing. Sorry, but any language can be good, in the hand of a experienced programmer. Keep talking about which is best: it’s all a matter of who did it.

    With good skills on both modelling, programming, and project management, you can be good with any tool.

    Mantainability is not a matter of which is the best language, but which makes the best code. Reusability can be done even with non-oo languages. Even with cobol!

    Prototyping for web is made with HTML, so the ass hole who said PHP is good only fo prototyping, doesn’t know shit…

    You wanna prototyping? Use Dreamweaver, scumbag!

  8. Congratulations!

    I think author writes some simple pages (home page of Mr …. ) and no heavy system with:
    – pooling
    – cache
    – multithreading
    – clustering
    etc. etc.

    BTW: PHP is super modular and has got a very readable sources (spaghetti ghetto)

    to the author: please, think more abstract next next time .


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