Environment-Friendly Code

Udell, Jon
April 2005
InfoWorld;4/4/2005, Vol. 27 Issue 14, p38
Trade Publication
This article comments on several programming environments that are hampered by specific languages. According to the author, programing languages and environments are an abiding passion of his. He's always on the lookout for a better mousetrap, and lately he's been working with three relative newcomers: the Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)-based plug-in architecture of the WordPress blogging engine; the Ruby on Rails framework; and Mark Logic's XQuery-based Content Interaction Server. Each of these languages does very different things for different reasons, and their associated environments are likewise very different. But in each case, the language is tightly bound to its environment in ways that he often wish it wasn't. The WordPress engine is written in PHP, so of course users write plug-ins in PHP, too. The things that a WordPress plug-in has to do--perform regular expression searches, read and write Extensible Markup Language, create or traverse in-memory data structures, compose hypertext markup language forms--are things that he already know how to do in Perl, Python, Java, JavaScript, and a bunch of other languages. Relearning all these skills in PHP feels like a massive waste of time and effort.


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