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Perl needs Zend

by EvanCarroll (Chaplain)
on Oct 21, 2006 at 17:52 UTC ( #579777=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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Re: Perl needs Zend
by brian_d_foy (Abbot) on Oct 21, 2006 at 20:50 UTC

    PHP isn't popular because of Zend. It's the other way around. Zend is doing well because PHP is popular.

    PHP is more popular with the average Joe because it's easier to use. Indeed, that's the design of Personal Home Page. Almost every shared web hoster makes it available for use, and the average person don't have to learn much to use it. They stick the tags where they want information to show up, and it magically appears there. It does just what that market needs.

    The Perl optimizer is called mod_perl. A factor of 25 would be on the low side of its speed improvements.

    I'm not sure what you mean by Oracle and IBM support, unless that's just that PHP can connect to databases. Perl's DBI certainly isn't afraid of PHP, and DBD::DB2 is officially supported by IBM. Perl already comes with unix and Mac OS X. It's freely available for Windows (and I don't think its necessarily a good idea to have it come with Windows). Their core, however, appears just to be a bundled set of libraries for each operating system. Perl, mod_perl, and apache already work on those platforms.

    I'm not sure why you think Zend is the only one doing consulting or training. Besides Stonehenge, there are plenty of other Perl trainers out there. Give me a call and you'll have Perl consulting. You know our credentials because you know our names from our books, magazine articles, conference presentations, and our presence on PerlMonks. Or don't call me. Post your problem to Perlmonks and get it answered for free.

    Perl doesn't need corporate sponsors. What would we do with the money? You've come up with a solution before you have a problem. A big pile of cash isn't going to fix anything.

    How did I get sucked into this? :(

    brian d foy <>
    Subscribe to The Perl Review

      brian_d_foy ++

      ...It's freely available for Windows (and I don't think its necessarily a good idea to have it come with Windows)...

      An activestate version comes as part of the Windows Resource Kit, e.g. Perl521 with the one from Win2k.

      And if you type into your win32-shell ftype /?, you'll find an example on how to associate scripts with the extension .pl to perl.exe... although the example lacks some quotes. It should look like:

      ASSOC .pl=PerlScript FTYPE PerlScript=perl.exe "%1" %*

      Best regards,
      perl -e "s>>*F>e=>y)\*martinF)stronat)=>print,print v8."

      "How did I get sucked into this? :("

      Ahh? because you are a hell of guy?

Re: Perl needs Zend
by blazar (Canon) on Oct 21, 2006 at 18:58 UTC
    Fellow monks, I think I've finally answered the question as to why PHP is, generally speaking, more successful.

    Compliments! You've just answered a fictious question. The real question is whether PHP is actually "more successful" (than what? Perl, I suppose) generally speaking or not. PHP and Perl are actually different things and to compare them is comparing apples with bananas. That the former may actually be more succesful in some application areas does not come as a surprise, since it is actually an application-specific language. To be fair I'm not even the slightest bit envious. Indeed I see the positive side of the thing in terms of the end of the "Perl eq CGI" era, which I would mostly welcome. Not that web development is not important and all, that's still only one aspect for a multipurpose multiparadigmatic language like Perl, period. That it contributed to its diffusion is a fortunate under some respects and unfortunate under others circumstance.

    Zend even produces an Optimizer which makes all of your php code run up to "25times faster."

    To me this is h-y-p-e.

    Zend even offers certificates, and they are "confidant you will pass the first time."

    So what? I can offer you a certificate as well. And if you pay me enough I'm more than confident you'll pass the first time as well. That some people considers certain certificates as a guarantee doesn't raise my respect for them, nor for the product they're aimed at. if that's the business, well I don't like the business. Anyway! Whatever, regardless of all this Perl is well alive and perfectly successful where... it is successful.

    Another important thing Zend offers is consultation, which isn't readily available in the Perl community.

    It is totally available, from professional consultants. That they're not backed up by a company doesn't make a bit of difference.

    Maybe there is some way we can get Larry to hand over the project to Zend.

    Gawd, you nearly killed me with this!!

    Perl doesn't need Zend whatever it is. It only need its community which makes it probably the more community-built language ever...

Re: Perl needs Zend
by perrin (Chancellor) on Oct 22, 2006 at 05:23 UTC
    All that Zend Optimizer does is keep the compiled PHP code after a request rather than throwing it away and recompiling every time. There are several free implementations that do the same thing, arguably better. Perl does this by default, so all you need to do is run an environment that doesn't shut down Perl after every request (like CGI does). Common options are mod_perl and FastCGI.

      Talking of mod_perl and FastCGI. Can you point me at any discussion regarding the technical merits of each?

      Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
      Lingua non convalesco, consenesco et abolesco. -- Rule 1 has a caveat! -- Who broke the cabal?
      "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
        There's something in the mod_perl mailing list, which lists pretty much all there is to it.

        The biggest difference between mod_perl and fastcgi are both pro and con for each, depending on one's preference or project needs:

        1. mod_perl has access to the apache api and hooks for each phase of a request
        2. fastcgi is basically a scheduler for perl server programs that communicate with the web server via sockets, so the only coupling between apache and fastcgi is on the I/O layer

        Giving perl programs full access to the guts of apache is arguably a bad idea. If your perl program craps out badly it could take down it's apache process as well, and if it's compromised, you possibly have the whole apache 0wn3d. But then, bad scripts are bad anywhere.

        fastcgi's interface to apache is arguably too poor (only I/O and environment) and the socket layer may be an impact on performance; I don't know, but there must be benchmarks somewhere. OTOH, a clean separation of tasks is mostly the right thing to have, and if a fastcgi script barfs out that doesn't bite the webserver as a whole; also, simplicity is often a benefit ;)

        I personally prefer fastcgi for the latter reasons, but as said above it's all a question of the requirements of a specific project or setup.


        update: modified title for search

        _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                      /\_¯/(q    /
        ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
        ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}

        There are discussions on this all over, including PM. I wrote a bit here on the Catalyst list. For a long time, FastCGI had too small a userbase for me to consider it a good choice. That changed somewhat with Ruby on Rails, which often uses FastCGI, but now there's a vocal movement among them to ditch FastCGI, claiming it has insurmountable problems. (I think they're exaggerating, but since I don't run Rails...)

        One thing that might be relevant to you is Win32 support. With Apache 2 and mod_perl 2, Windows support is pretty good and up-to-date binaries are available. Last time I looked for the FastCGI support on Windows, it was not in good shape, but that was a few years back so it may have changed.

Re: Perl needs Zend
by shmem (Chancellor) on Oct 21, 2006 at 23:16 UTC
    I read your post as utterly disrespectful to Larry Wall and all the other highly skilled people who developed perl over the last ~20 years.
    Maybe there is some way we can get Larry to hand over the project to Zend. Or maybe some day Zend will build a Perl optimizer for us that will run our applications 25 times faster.
    Er.. what? Do you mean Larry and gang can't pull it? He hasn't a clue and therefore perl is so darn slow? That only A Real Company can speed perl up? Get real, read dilbert.

    A company with commitment to PHP as holder and developer of the perl core? Oh. Think again, and update your post thereafter, please. Your post isn't a joke, is it?

    I have no hard facts to back this, but I boldly state that "The Perl Community" doesn't want to be embraced by whatever company, and that there's no need for that, anyways.


    _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                  /\_¯/(q    /
    ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
    ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}
Re: Perl needs Zend
by cog (Parson) on Oct 21, 2006 at 18:46 UTC

    You don't look like a troll...

    But you sure resemble one...

      Don't worry, I'd guess EvanCarroll lost a bet and had to make a really weird post to his favorite social web site. :-)

      (It's OK by me to vote this down. It isn't adding to the discussion, I just needed to add my jok... theory.)


      "I feel that it is important to say, I have down voted every response to this for lack of utility. Please post a response that has content, and not just mindless perl fanaticism."

      Me thinks it doth smell like a troll.

Re: Perl needs Zend
by Jenda (Abbot) on Oct 22, 2006 at 09:43 UTC

    1) Maybe I misunderstood something, but I'd say it's a big difference whether "PHP runs Oracle", "PHP runs in Oracle" or "PHP runs with Oracle". As far as I can tell from the marketing stuff on Zend website the third is what their "Zend Core(tm) for Oracle(tm)" means. PHP bundled with libraries to connect to Oracle. Big deal indeed. DBI+DBD::Oracle anyone?

    2) IBM support and Oracle support ... you're pointing to some Zend forums. Hows that supposed to be any better than what we have? Post your questions here or in the perl-dbi mailing list.

    3) Certificate that everyone passes the first time is just a useless sheet of paper. The reason why they are confident you will pass it the first time is more likely the fact that it's so damn easy a monkey could pass it.

    4) As far as big corporation support goes ... Microsoft used to support ActiveState (formerly ActiveWare, formerly Hip Communications) to port and support Perl for Windows.

      Certificate that everyone passes the first time is just a useless sheet of paper. The reason why they are confident you will pass it the first time is more likely the fact that it's so damn easy a monkey could pass it.

      I fully second that, except that you got the spelling of "sheet" wrong! ;-)

Re: Perl needs Zend
by liverpole (Monsignor) on Oct 22, 2006 at 15:17 UTC
        which makes all of your php code run up to "25times faster."

        Or maybe some day Zend will build a Perl optimizer for us that will run our applications 25 times faster.

    Just don't forget there's a HUGE difference between "up to 25 times faster" and "25 times faster".

    Here's a little-known secret for you:  if you change all the for / foreach statements in your Perl program to map, your program will run up to 300 times faster.  Now that's technically true, if you think about it, but fairly misleading!

    When you state "up to N" for some value of N, you're putting a maximum limit on the speed increase, which doesn't really say anything.

Re: Perl needs Zend
by zentara (Archbishop) on Oct 22, 2006 at 12:42 UTC
    The first downvote I have made in a few years. Somehow I get this feeling of "selling our collective soul", and memories of Steinbeck's The Pearl .

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. Cogito ergo sum a bum
Re: Perl needs Zend
by SheridanCat (Pilgrim) on Oct 22, 2006 at 15:41 UTC
    I'm shocked at the number of people who are taking the contents of this post seriously. It took me a paragraph or so, but it's obviously a joke. Read it again. If you don't see the joke by this line:
    We probably also need these big corporate guys to run on our core as well, at least Apple; surely the PERL core can handle them.
    Then you have no sense of humor. I'm not saying it's divinely inspired hilarity, but it's mildly amusing.

      When treading the fine line of parody, one really should make sure their audience realizes such. Using the word PERL should be a give away, but i for one completely thought the author was serious. I don't know Evan very well and as such, i don't know if he is just "taking the piss" or not. This area of "Perl's marketshare" is very volitile and "woe be to he" who tells a joke that no one gets. I would have prefered a Sci-Fi twist like "Mars Needs Women!" myself ...


      (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)
Re: Perl needs Zend
by lyklev (Pilgrim) on Oct 22, 2006 at 17:00 UTC
    Unfortunately, I don't think corporate support can do much about the decline in market share of Perl usage for dynamic sites. I read (was it netcraft?) that php gaining market share at Perl's expense, and I believe it.

    When I started programming Perl just over a year ago, I fell in love with it. I am realistic enough however to see its flaws. The sad truth is that if a beginning web developer has to choose between two languages, the first experiences are the ones that count. You can do 99 things right, but if one little thing is wrong, you move on. I'll share some of my experiences.

    Speed I own a pentium-83 (megahertz, that is), running linux, php, apache, mysql, mod-perl, etc. Speed differences are very obvious. I created a small dynamic page. I made equivalent php and Perl-cgi pages. The php-page ran approximately 18 times faster than the Perl-page, which was of course due to the latency caused by starting perl.

    Being very much in love with Perl, I was determined to speed up my script using mod-perl. First I used the Registry handler, which reduced the speed difference to a factor 10 (in favor of php). Still disappointed, I wrote a handler. Finally, my Perl-script ran about 10% faster than the php-script.

    Now the Perl-version was compiled, optimized, etc, while php was interpreted.

    Ease While converting the script to an apache handler, I opened another can of worms. If you want to know why, read the documentation for installing and running mod-perl programs. Local variables becoming global is one of the pitfalls. Basically, you have to design programs in a different way if you want to benefit from the speed. If your deadline is yesterday...

    Paths So simple, yet so painful. Php allows you to include a file in your script, and so does Perl. This is used to store a global configuration, like database names, hosts, names, etc. Now if you run scripts inside a handler, the script path is no longer the directory the script resides in, but some root (document? file system? It has been a while). So in a 'require once' you must now put the full path name to the configuration. Now this is fine for custom-built software for one-time use, but not for software that you want to distrute. You simply don't want to instruct users to modify the main part of your script. Big big turnoff.

    Maintenance If you want to benefit from the speed Perl offer, Perl allows you to tap right into apache. Handler scripts get compiled and run inside apache, resulting in a blazing performance. The downside is that you also need rather direct access to the web server (its configuration files), and if you want to update your script you need to restart the web server. This is fine for dedicated web servers/farms like Slashdot, or amazon where there is only one user, but this is a no-no for web-hosting companies with hundreds of users. If web-hosters allow you to run Perl, you will likely get the horribly slow cgi.

    Conclusion I am sure there are solutions for all of these problems. I have not looked for long. But I think I should not. If you turn off your users the first time they use your product, it does not mean that your users are not trying hard enough. It means that either your product still has a long way to go, or, if you are convinced that your product is the very best there is, that you don't understand your users.

    Future? The question is of course whether we want perl to be as popular as php. Being popular has never been a goal for Perl, but rather a consequence. I think Perl definately has a place in web-world, for high-performance, dedicated sites. What makes Perl well-suited for this job makes it hard to use for the average user. This is not a bad thing, because power-users will still find their way to all the good things Perl (and mod-perl in particular) has to offer. Keep in mind too that php was heavily tuned for the web, whereas Perl is just good at many things. Perl may be the swiss army knife of programming, but I only use the saw on my own swiss army knife for cutting bread.

    To come back to the original article: will corporate backing help? Actually, I think that Activestate has been doing an awesome job. If Perl really wants corporate support, simply follow the money trail: web-hosters and high-profile sites.

    Web-hosters will be only be interested if it means fewer headaches instead of more, so zero security concerns serving hundreds of users with an out-of-the-box installation.

    Developers want frameworks like Mason with no installation issues and they want to be able to use it on any webhost without access to the server configuration.

    High-profile sites are only interested if they are convinced that it is the cheapest option for them in the long run. In that area you are directly competing with MS's C# and the rest of the .net framework and Java (IBM & Sun). Believe me: free lunches can be *very* convincing.

Re: Perl needs Zend
by f00li5h (Chaplain) on Oct 28, 2006 at 04:30 UTC

    I can see where you're going with the whole `perl needs money behind it' but i don't think that you've gone the right way about it had you said that `Perl needs some more companies to pay developers to work on perl core', or ``gee, it'd be nifty if we could get a company to sponsor a couple of coders to do some more of that great work on perl6'' you'd have gotten horah's instead the hate from the zealots.

    PHP is good for generating small websites, and nothing more. you can Template with it, and reuse external code and coding standards to stretch that. But it won't scale too well.

    I can see that php has been able to grow quickly due to the money, but i'd still have to say that perl is a still more pleasing to write -personally and I'm allowed to payout php, because I've done the suck it and see, and it was salty, and just made me feel a little dirty.

    PHP reminds me of the Turbo Pascal that I learnt at Highschool, it's great to teach you how to do basic webdevelopment, but there comes a point when the langauge stops serving you, and you start serving it. Doing it's administration, using it's long Array constructors, and generally running into syntactic pains (like array_key_exists et. al.)

    </2 cents>

    will: do{ perl programing } for ($cash);
Re: Perl needs Zend
by hsinclai (Deacon) on Oct 27, 2006 at 18:42 UTC
    Sorry, downvoting this. Honestly, isn't this an obvious troll?

    On another note (and I am not eating the bait here), for anyone who has not worked with Zend, the Zend Platform by itself is a really well thought out and useful product, but the Zend IBM and Oracle product lines look highly questionable.. those "partnerships" were made in a couple months, wrapped around a sales and marketing force and sent out into the world, and from what I've seen of the core products, they're tarballs of other people's tarballs painted either blue (IBM) or red (oracle) .. integration my eye -- you open the box, and there's the faint odor of ... gah, I digress

    Perl needs some really big corporate backing too
    Exactly what Perl doesn't need!

Re: Perl needs Zend
by Not_a_Number (Prior) on Oct 23, 2006 at 19:24 UTC

    EvanCarroll++ !

    A word of advice, however (no doubt redundant given the rep that this node has currently earned): the next time you write a tongue-in-cheek node, make sure that you make it more obvious. Even some of the most knee-jerk PC (Perlistically Correct) Monks might get the joke if, for example, you wrapped it in <tongue_in_cheek> ... </tongue_in_cheek> tags.


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Re: Perl needs Zend
by bruceb3 (Pilgrim) on Oct 14, 2007 at 10:45 UTC
    I bet that Cop is upset that he didn't write this node first.
      How do you know they're not the same person?
Re: Perl needs Zend
by twotone (Beadle) on Oct 14, 2007 at 06:05 UTC

    This makes about as much sense as a couple of um... jokes (?) I know ...

    What's the difference between a duck? One leg is both the same.

    Knock knock. Who's there? Apple. Apple who? Banana.

    WinXP, ActiveState Perl 5.6.1
Re: Perl needs Zend
by cosmicperl (Chaplain) on Oct 19, 2007 at 13:37 UTC
    I think what his trying to say (minus all the miss guided bits about Larry, etc) is that it would be good if TPF has a big corporate backer, like the way Novell has been pushing forward the Mono project. That way TPF would have a lot more money, it would certainly help Perl 6 development.

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