this.developer != php.expert;

November 16, 2004 20:30 by keithkaragan
Php is a really cool language. It's powerful, OO, easy to code, you can use a free database server with it easily, etc, etc, etc ... But the latest version (version 5 - which rocks) isn't yet supported by most of the frameworks and such that are really popular for Php - I'm sure that'll change as the current version is out longer, but pretty frustraiting anyway.
Same goes for MySql . As a long time ' commercial ' DB user, I really like the new version (4.1.7) has lots of issues with many of the frameworks, and some issues with Php 5 (a library change for mySql support - not too big of a deal). OSCommerce's latest release (2.0m2) doesn't like it much either - again, this is sure to work itself out over time.
Not being a long-time open source user, and searching for answers to some of the issues I came across setting up the latest versions of these tools I was pretty surprised by what I found:
  1. I did eventually solve all my issues without having to post a question (I hate posting questions, so I'll search longer than average, apparently to find a previously answered question since if I have the problem - it's very likely so has someone else), but had to wade though piles of unanswered questions, 'is the unit plugged into the wall' type answers, and some really angry people responding to the people having issues. More often than not, it seemed, that the person replying was using a tone that indicated to me that they weren't too enthusiastic about answering the question. Not surprising, I wouldn't be too happy answering the same question 1,000 times either. It got me thinking about what drives these folks to continue answering these questions if they are so unhappy doing so. I'm curious.
  2. The latest versions of these packages had pretty slim documentation. This is understandable considering that the user community contributes to the docs available. This implies that there is a pretty high cost of entry on newer versions that have less history and 'virtual' paper trail than the newer versions. Contrast this with my experiences using 'beta' commercial software, where the user base would say the documentation is lite, and you have a much easier time getting some of these commercial packages off the ground. Good thing too, since the majority of programmers I've worked with have arough time with many of these packages, even with the docs - I can only imagine what they'd be up against otherwise. How does this impact the early adoption of OS technologies in the broader community? Are the OS programmers better? Are they more Phycic? or maybe they don't adopt these early ... I'll have to pay more attention to this.
  3. There is a fair amount of splintering of some of these OS packages (branches, etc) and a neophyte does need to do their homework to find out which packages are the ones that will continue forward, and which will not grow past the current release. Picking the loser here can be costly.

  4. So, anyway - I'm on my way to OSS hapiness with PHP, MySql, and OSCMax .
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