Manuel Lemos wrote:

You seem to be just a bit 'doom and gloom'.  Perhaps you're just in 
'realist' mode, but I don't think it's a 'fait accomplit' just yet.

> Since the massive bankrupcy of many Internet companies, LAMP is no
> longer so much on demand. What happened is that most of those companies
> were technologically aware of the choices and were choosing LAMP
> products because they have proven suitability for Internet development
> and besides that they are inexpensive.
> Many of the technology dependent companies that survived do not depend
> on the Internet. Often Web development is for internal consumption. Many
> of those companies used Microsoft products. People in charge of those
> companies often only know about Microsoft's and other comercial products
> that are well marketed. So, it is very hard to penetrate in those
> companies with LAMP products.
> There are certainly a reasonable number of companies that use LAMP
> products, but they do it mostly for economical reasons. Therefore they
> don't have a great budget to pay good salaries either.

True to some extent, but its not always purely economic.  There are real 
security threats in MS stuff (previous at least).  Even if W2k and XP 
are 100% safe, their reputation preceeds them and it'll be a long time 
before MS overcomes that reputation.

> For bigger companies, one of the main limitations of PHP and other Open
> Source products is that, unlike commercial competitor products, they do
> not add as much business value to somebody selling PHP solutions because
> PHP costs nothing so there is no profit margin to earn by the people
> that want to sell it even as a part of something else.

I somewhat need to take exception to this - I think.  Perhaps this is 
just semantics, but people selling products are doing just that - 
selling products.  Whatever they are based on is somewhat immaterial.  I 
can't 'markup' PHP (a language) NOR can I 'mark up' Java (another 
language).  People are building packages on top of Java and selling the 
packages.  I'm not saying the underlying language is completely 
immaterial - there are pros and cons to Java, PHP, Perl and other 
languages.  But simply because it's 'open source' doesn't mean you can't 
add business value in PHP solutions.

It's hard, I think in part, because of the reputation PHP is getting in 
some circles.  Many of the people evangelizing it don't know anything 
else, and simply extoll all the 'wonderful' virtues of it.  No sarcasm 
meant - it's a great platform.  But it has its limitations.  When people 
with more experience come across PHP proponents, more often than not 
they get bombarded with half-truths and anti-MS stuff.  There's always 
at least a grain of truth, but it's often not enough, or not presented 

The fact is, most languages have these enthusiasts - it's a good thing 
to have them.  However, other languages usually also have big marketing 
dollars behind them.  Notice I said 'big.  Other competing 'platforms' 
such as ihtml and htmlos are hardly even on anyone's radar because (1) 
they cost money and (2) they don't have enough marketing muscle to go up 
against MS, Allaire, Sun, etc.    PHP AT LEAST has 'free' on its side.

> PHP needs to be better marketed or else it will fade from the well paid
> job world. As I said, Java jobs are much more well paid, not only
> because Java is harder to program and requires better prepared
> developers, but also because Sun marketed Java so well that it was
> created a demand for Java projects that nobody from the PHP world is
> doing anything like that.

It's not that no one is doing anything like Java projects.  We've done 
some immensely large projects in PHP (migrated from ASP no less) 
handling commerce transactions in excess of 7 figures per month. 
Needless to say, the client is happy, and they actually had a similar 
sized project done in Java with a large team of developers which 
completely and utterly flopped (only after the 30+ consultants had been 
paid for months of work which was simply shut down).

People don't KNOW about what projects are going on, large OR small. 
I've asked repeatedly in the past for success stories (large and small) 
to register at, but I get barely one reply whenever I 
ask.  Perhaps NO ONE is actually using it?  I know that's not true, even 
though the successes are probably more often than not small ones. 
Someone able to get up a dynamic page in a few hours of poking around 
rather than shelling out for Access and slogging through ASP, for 
example.  Not a big success, but the company gets to continue on with 
its plans - probably oblivious to the fact that PHP is being used.  It 
just gets in and works (similar to the 'stealth' success of Linux in 
many organizations, I'd think).

> Despite PHP can be used for more than just Web applications, many PHP
> developers are not making an effort to advertise it for more than just
> Web development. This needs to be changed, because the world has changed
> and those that don't adapt will not survive.
> Java was also advertised initially for browser applets but Sun had to
> adapt the strategy to the needs of the real world, they advertised and
> made it suitable for mobile computing, server side Web scripting and Web
> services. Mobile computing is a closed market. Server side scripting is
> the only thing that PHP is advertised for but its position is seriously
> threatned. Web services, PHP is not yet quite there nor there is a
> perspective if and when it will ever be.

I think part of the reason that the shift with Java occurred is because, 
frankly, Java applets basically sucked in browsers.  Slow, not very 
useful (sandboxes, so I couldn't access files, etc).  Writing Java 
'applications' is even harder, because you don't know what JVM people 
have (or if they have) and need to tell them to download it, how to 
install the application, set JAVAPATH, etc.  It's a pain.  I've OFTEN 
said if Sun REALLY was serious (and I don't think they really are - I 
think they're still primarily a hardware oriented company) they'd carpet 
bomb the US ala AOL with CDs of the latest JVM, an autorun installer for 
Windows, and some useful Java applications that truly demonstrate to the 
average Joe sixpack WHY Java is useful to them - break the 'windows is 
everything' mentality.  They won't do that, however.

> I don't want to be pessimistic, but in a couple of weeks .NET will be
> officially released as the big thing that Microsoft will make it echo
> everywhere with their raw marketing power. ASP.NET is catching up on the
> huge delay that it used to had compared to PHP and other alternatives.
> Web Services will be even more hyped than today.

In a worst case scenario, PHP will most likely adapt to the SOAP stuff 
and cling to a percentage of the "non-MS" market with Java and others.

> Microsoft will try to make it evident that .NET is the most profitable
> way to make money from Web development but only using .NET. It does not
> matter how much of that will be effectively true. What matters is many
> people that today still fall for LAMP/WAMP will reconsider and move to
> .NET world because they will be convinced that is where they can make
> money unlike with LAMP.

You can make money in either camp - it's probably easier in the 
Windows/ASP world in some cases because you've got the marketing muscle 
of $x billions on your side.  MS is *creating* the demand for web 
services, not because they have the technology, but the marketing.  Many 
of the issues the .net and passport platform is addressing were things I 
and others were thinking of years ago - 97-98 at least.  In the MS shop 
I was in at the time, the reaction was "well, MS will be addressing that 
in the next version of <whatever> so we'll just wait for that".  They 
KNEW we had issues we could AT THAT TIME but chose to wait for MS to 
come and do it for them.

Unfortunately, I see that more and more people may be turning that way 
because for the short term it can be good money.  I don't know too many 
smaller companies which have been successful over the long haul dealing 
with MS in a 'web' sense.  The companies I know overpromise ASP stuff, 
deliver half-assed 'solutions', deal with the client for some months or 
a year 'fixing' things, then the client leaves for something else (often 
another MS shop but not always) and the original shop starts afresh. 
Whether it's simply their own incompetence or a fundamental mindset in 
all MS shops, I can't say.

> So, what do you do? For now, I just advise you to stay where you are if
> you can live from what you are doing because we have to see how much of
> this will become true. Anyway, I am afraid that part of it will become
> true as advertised. If you want to stick with LAMP/WAMP, you'd better
> check it out to see if you can developed what will be in demand. Here
> some buzzwords to pay more attention: Web services, SOAP, WSDL, UDDI.

They've been buzzwords for awhile tho.  So has XML, which still doesn't 
seem to be making a huge impact on its own.  As the foundation for 
SOAP/XMLRPC, etc yes.  But I'm not sure most developers will HAVE to 
know SOAP anymore than they know HTTP - there will be libraries which 
accomplish much of the menial stuff for them.  For the dedicated few who 
learn the ins and outs, there may be stronger demand for 'under the hood 
' work - is that what you meant?

Michael Kimsal
PHP Training Courses

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