Author: Manuel Lemos
Posted on: 2011-02-28
Categories: Interviews, PHP Innovation Award, Lately in PHP Podcast, PHP opinions
The three also discuss the latest developments of the TIOBE programming languages ranking. The latest numbers seem to suggest that languages like Python and C# are gaining popularity supposedly at the expense of an apparent loss of interest on PHP.
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Introduction music: Harbour by Danilo Ercole, Curitiba, Brazil
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Interview with Rochak Chauhan - Innovation Award 2010 winner (0:38)
Is PHP loosing popularity to Python and C#? (17:46)
PHP Programming Award nominees of December 2010 (34:22)
The good and the bad of the PHPClasses site according to Rochak Chauhan (42:37)
Interview with Rochak Chauhan - Innovation Award 2010 winner (0:38)
This award is organized is organized by the PHP Classes site since 2004, and since about a few years ago the site started compiling annual rankings. Basically every month there are a few classes that are nominated and then the users vote and the winner of the votes gets some points. And adding all the points accumulated in each year we get to a winner, and this year, Rochak was the winner of the annual Innovation Award, so congratulations Rochak.
Manuel Lemos: As prize for this award, Rochak is getting a nice elePHPant. As you all know the elePHPant is the symbol of PHP, and he is getting an elePHPant plush toy. As I already commented, his prize is in the mail and he is going to get it in a few weeks.
Well, I have to say that your participation in the site has been outstanding, not just in the last year. So for those that have not yet checked Rochak's participation, so far he has submitted 44 packages, classes, that perform all sorts of functionality useful to PHP developers, and 12 of them were nominated to the Innovation Award throughout all these years in which Rochak has been participating.
And actually in the last year 6 packages that Rochak submitted were nominated. Throughout all these years Rochak has won the monthly awards 3 times. This is quite an impressive record. Rochak can you just comment a bit, not about all, but at least the last packages that you submitted that were nominated on this award, what they do?
Now about these classes, there was one of them was Twitter Auto-publish. If you remember Twitter changed their API. So using the user name and password you are not supposed to update your status now without authentication. So I tried to find a way out using Open Source classes, Open Inviter, I used that class to login and then used the same method to update the status, so it worked. So this was a small task one of my clients asked me to do and I wanted to share it with everybody.
And then there was Compare Strings. Compare Strings is more like your Levenshtein function we have in PHP. It's used to compare strings in how much they are related, Compare Strings, and so again it was most of the intent. And then there was PHP MD5 decrypter, this was highly I could say illegal, it was getting from a Web site which now has a CAPTCHA, so this is not working at the moment now, but this is really just it uses the MD5 checksum...
OK, this is quite an interesting collection of innovative classes, and I'm sure that many users of the site have appreciated them. And what I was going to ask you next regarding all these great contributions is what exactly motivates you to write so many innovative classes?
So once I can place something I just want to share it with everybody, like you can say for testing also get the comments and best part to share, that's what the whole purpose of Open Source is, so that's what keeps me motivated.
It's something like you have your online repository, you contribute to them and you get everything, the best part it's all free.
Ernani, I wonder if you have any other thing interesting to ask Rochak?
And the other question is as you've had the opportunity to share the classes that you provided if you would be to inspire others that are listening here, what would be your final words to inspire people to contribute and at least get some exposure and get some other material from the sponsors and everything else?
If I'm writing some code, I'm writing a class, I might be doing something wrong, maybe there might be some better way to do it, now if I share it with people you get feedback, people will tell you that I've got lots of things to learn like this, so the constructive feedback you get is the best thing for you to have done as a developer, as a knowledge, so you share and you learn more.
Is PHP loosing popularity to Python and C#? (17:46)Now moving on to our next section of this podcast, I would like to bring up a topic, actually a comment, some comments that were posted in the latest TIOBE Ranking system.
For those not familiar with this system, it's basically a way to evaluate, I mean sort of evaluate because I'm not sure about the accuracy of the conclusions that we can get, but this TIOBE ranking evaluates the popularity of languages.
And the latest rankings I would say for the last 6 months they sort of show that PHP popularity is dropping in favor of languages like Python and Ruby. Well, did you guys see those charts and the comments they produced there?
Again, it's in my opinion, because PHP has lots and lots of support like we have lots of framework CMS support and best support API's, even like Google, Facebook, everybody is giving PHP code and API's.
So I don't think rising of Python we need to worry about, as a PHP developer I'm not even worried about this losing the popularity because PHP is I guess closing the gap between scripting and enterprise level solution for an application like ODesk and Facebook has proved that PHP can be used for an enterprise level application also.
So I think the rise of Python and C# momentarily, it's just a moment, I'm not worried about that.
For instance, if they want to evaluate the popularity of PHP they search for PHP programming, and then from the results they evaluate I think the first results and see the popularity of the sites that come up in the Alexa site, which is basically a site that shows statistics of traffic.
And I think it's more complicated than this, I'm trying to simplify it just so you'll have an idea, but the way I see it people searching for PHP programming does not mean that it's every PHP developer.
So whatever these numbers show it seems to me if I interpret this right, the fact that the number of people searching for Python or Ruby or whatever is increasing does not mean that the number of people using other languages, PHP, or whatever, is decreasing is happening. For instance if you already know PHP you won't be searching for PHP programming. And it's a bit odd.
And other than that you already mentioned that Python is probably becoming more popular because of a framework like Django and Ruby becoming more popular because, Ruby on Rails, but mainly Python I think there may be a different point of view to justify its popularity.
And that could be related to the fact that there are lots of developers that dream to work at Google. And since Google only works with a few languages like Python and Java, C++ and C, obviously many of them hope to learn Python to someday fulfill that dream of working at Google.
Obviously one thing may never lead to the other but at least they can hope, and that justifies the increase of popularity. And namely since the launch of the App Engine, for those that do not know, App Engine is the cloud computing solution provided by Google, and one of the project leaders is precisely Guido Van Rossum, which is they Python creator and I suppose lead developer, if there is such a role.
And all this I suppose it influences developers to become interested in Python, but that does not mean that the increase of Python fully justifies a decrease in PHP because just like we think about Google we can also think about Facebook which is a very large site and employs hundreds, I don't know if you can say thousands, but at least hundreds, it's fair to say that it's probably a number of engineers that they have there working with PHP. So I don't think that could justify any drop.
There may be other reasons that may not be obvious for this ranking to suggest that there is an increase of popularity in Python and Ruby at the expense of decrease in popularity of PHP. And as I mentioned before I do not think that the way they compute these rankings really reflects the real popularity.
And another comment that I would like to make is that in my opinion the greatest popularity of PHP comes from its killer applications. And by killer applications I mean applications like WordPress and Drupal, Joomla and many other ready-to-use applications that make PHP very popular.
And they have their own ecosystem and their communities sometimes are quite, I wouldn't say closed, but I'd say they work pretty much all the time with just themselves. For instance the WordPress community works almost all the time with WordPress. They probably could not care much about general PHP programming outside of the WordPress platform.
So this is something that should give the creators of the TIOBE ranking a lot to think about if they really intend to have their rankings be taken seriously.
And by the way, talking about WordPress, WordPress 3.1 I think, was just released. and by coincidence, or maybe not, it was named... the codename of this release was Django. And when people... I saw comments of people assuming just because the release was named Django it was related to Python.
For those not familiar with Django, Django is a very popular Python framework. And in reality this Django codename was inspired by the author of WordPress, I mean the creator of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, he's a big fan of jazz music and there is a jazz musician named Django... I forgot his last name, but that's where the Jango name came from.
And I don't know if Matt named this release Django on purpose just to make a joke. Actually I met Matt Mullenweg in 2008. Actually we invited him to come to our free software event here in Brazil. And I met him personally and I know very well that he likes to make jokes. He's a very nice person and he's always happy with his life and he likes to make jokes.
So I wouldn't be surprised if naming this WordPress release Django was to just make fun of whoever could suppose that it could be related with Python, and obviously it doesn't. It just could be somebody suggesting there is some relation.
And, well, basically that's all you have to say about this TIOBE ranking, if anybody was concerned that PHP would really be losing popularity in favor of Python and Ruby, personally I don't believe it, but I'm sure that those languages, Python and Ruby, are increasing their popularity, which is normal for the reasons that we've discussed before.
And by having Ruby and Python interest and there are also new developers coming forward and Ruby is a very, let's put it this way, academic language because the concepts are object oriented and stuff. So it could be that people are also trying to follow that approach, and with Ruby being very... tends to be used in startups it could be that this is the reason that it's ranking up.
But the PHP world has a lot of other technologies on top, as Manuel explained, but I guess that your clarification on the TIOBE Ranking, it's pretty much what I think it is as well. Tt means that people are searching more for Ruby content or Python content than PHP because PHP has a mature state already, so that's my thoughts on that.
PHP Programming Award nominees of December 2010 (34:22)But moving on with our podcast now towards the end, we are going to comment about the latest classes that were nominated for the Innovation Award in December 2010, and they were voted in January, and in February the results came out of those that were more voted.
Rochak, in your opinion which classes would you like to comment on that you think are more worth mentioning?
And one of the implementations he can use can demonstrate using the simple game. And you can always use this algorithm to make a complex games like Chess maybe Scribble with PHP. That's again a good start.
The second one I really liked was it has really, really good implementation is twzCronChart. I have myself this issue like when you look into cron chart. It has lots of text but to present that in Gantt visual impact it's very easy to find out which cron is run. I think this is a very exceptional attempt, very innovative and very exceptional, very useful.
And not only that but it should also be inspiring to other developers also to come up with their own artificial intelligence solutions in PHP because as it just demonstrated that not only it's possible but it can be useful.
In this case it's just a simple game of tic tac toe, but it could be something else more serious not just a game, although it doesn't mean that games cannot be serious. And as you mentioned, the other class twzCronChart just shows a nice effect that you can do with data from crontab files that define basically the schedule of when certain tasks should be executed.
And using a Gantt chart you can get a pretty good idea, a visual representation of when those tasks should happen. And I think it's quite useful.
But other than that, Ernani, any other classes that you would like to mention?
So let's say if you're browsing through the Web you are pretty much anonymous because of the amount of hops that you do when you're requesting a webpage. It pretty much can go ten times around the world and reach the point of entry which is let's say near your house but you went a long way to get back to the reaching point that you wanted.
So it's good for anonymity and it's also good because there are the needs for whistle blowers as Wikileaks have proven. So sometimes you have to extract information and you don't want to be identified for some reason. And the usage of this class if very clever and it's very innovative, so that's why I would give my vote for them.
And the other one would also be the Gantt chart because sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words. So it's very nice to know that Tony from Australia has come up with this idea and proven that visually representing some information is what it needs.
And I guess most PHP Classes users would be using this sooner or later, at least for documentation purposes and to visually represent some batch operations that are run on those servers.
And what it does is basically have a result, have a series of results, and analyzes the keywords that are used in those results and sorts them according an algorithm relevance. And this could be useful for many purposes of finding what is more relevant in a set of information that could be retrieved for instance from MySQL databases.
And the other class that I would like to comment on just briefly because I'm not an expert but I think it is interesting, is this AllowHTML by Simon Emery from England. And what it does is to filter insecure HTML according to OWASP Anti-Samty rules.
For those not familiar, OWASP is an organization that is focused on promoting security, implementation of security norms, rules, practices in general that will help make applications more secure and eventually more immune to abuses and all sorts of security attacks.
And this is basically the two classes that I would like to mention.
The good and the bad of the PHPClasses site according to Rochak Chauhan (42:37)Manuel Lemos: And now practically ending this podcast just a final section, since we have a guest, Rochak, when we have a guest we usually ask, in your case because you're a PHP Classes site user, to comment about one good thing and then another bad or not so good thing about PHP Classes site that you think to be worth commenting on.
And one thing I would like you to add, one thing you can improve is have some section where people can post which class, which package they're looking for, something like a wish list. So if that is there it will make it very, very effective, more effective.
I understand that is an idea that would be interesting because it will also be helpful for developers looking for ideas to implement innovative classes. And one thing will sort of marry with the other and the need for a solution for a problem that was not yet solved and the search of developers that are interested in developing innovative classes to get there.
So, just so you'll be sort of happy with this I'm sure I will implement it sooner or later, I just don't know when, but sooner or later I'll get there as every other thing that people have been asking over the years and I ended up implementing. It just did not come the turn of that idea but it's actually in my wish list for many years already.
Conclusion (45:22)Manuel Lemos: OK, I think we have reached the end of our podcast. Rochak, I would like to thank you for your presence and also your participation in PHP Classes site. I hope you can continue to submit more innovative classes.
And it's nice to see that we are coming to a global world where it doesn't matter where you're from, it just matters your interest level, your intentions to contribute and your intentions to learn.
And this expressed most of our character and that's what we want to have in the IT world because we want to have people with hungry minds to learn with potential to provide good solutions, creative solutions, and as well have a good community, a community of people everywhere in the world with different cultures.
So I would like to express that and thanks everyone for listening, and I'd like to listen to more feedback from the community here.
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