Friday, September 08, 2006

Marc Andreessen on PHP

Listed to podcast of Netscape co-founder and Mosaic co-author Marc Andreessen from ZEND PHP 2005 Conference, cited in Phil Windley's Technometria and IT Conversations.

For past 50 years, importance of "wringing out every last ounce of performance" out of machine, and therefore coding in languages like "C" which were almost at level of assembly language. 1980's advent of LISP marked shift toward more programmer-friendly code, but caused too much slowness in CPUs of that time.

Then java introduced new programming model "Write Once Run Anywhere" (WORA) and "sandbox" feature where experimental script wouldn't infect other programs. Also: "virtual machine" and portability. Java began to displace C and C++, mid to late 1990s, server CPUs had grown so fast, so machine speed optimization could afford to defer to programming optimization. In addition to CPU breakthroughs, Web-platform provided opportunity for instant software deployment. Java applets in browser never quite made it, though. And Java was neglected on server side. In late 1990s Netscape's introduced javascript, as kind of bridge between java and html. Javascript now dominates Web sites (versus Java) on the order of something like 1,000 or 10,000 to 1.

PHP develolped over past 10 years in absence of javascript on server side. "PHP is to 2005 what java is to 1995" according to announcement by Sun that it would join ZEND board of directors. Java, like C and C++ before it had become too complicated.

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