Burton Group report on P-Languages for Enterprise Scripting

The Burton Group published a report entitled The P-Languages: PHP, Perl, and Python for Enterprise Scripting yesterday. I’m quoted twice in the article.

Page 11 (PHP in Web Development):

Not only is PHP used extensively throughout the Web, it is also used by some of the busiest websites in the world. For example Yahoo!, which serves up 2.85 billion page views a day and supports 345 million visitors a month, uses PHP for all its presentation logic. For Yahoo!, searching and delivering web content quickly is a mission-critical issue, as is the ability to quickly add new features and maintain existing code. According to Michael Radwin, engineering manager in the Infrastructure Group for Yahoo!, “All of our presentation logic is in PHP. We avoid putting presentation logic in C/C++ because of the longer code-compile-debug cycle.” Other busy websites that use PHP include the social networking site Friendster (http://www.friendster.com/), which switched from JSP to PHP in 2004, and Freshmeat.org, an open source resource site that uses PHP to process between 600,000 and 700,000 page views a day.

Page 12 (Perl in System Administration and Integration):

Burton Group found that Perl, more than any other language, is heavily used in UNIX and Linux system administration. Ford Motor Company, for example, has been using Perl with their UNIX systems in this capacity for years. In fact, it would be difficult today to find an organization that has a number of UNIX boxes that do not use Perl in some capacity. Michael Radwin of Yahoo! told Burton Group: “We use Perl all the time here for almost everything that’s not web-related and not super performance-related. It’s a superb general-purpose scripting language. We use it for all of the typical uses (text processing, system administration, algorithmic prototyping, automation, light data crunching, report generation).” Yahoo! owns 90 web properties (Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Store, etc.) and supports 345 million visitors per month.

Those Yahoo! statistics (pageviews, visitors per month) are from December 2004.

4 thoughts on “Burton Group report on P-Languages for Enterprise Scripting”

  1. Interesting. Richard sent this to me for review a few months ago but hasn’t (yet?) sent me the final revision. It had a lot of flawed logic when I read it, so hopefully that’s been improved.

    He didn’t take my advice about not referencing small sites like freshmeat.net (there are many, much larger sites using PHP). I also thought I mentioned that freshmeat.org isn’t what he means to be referencing. :-)

    What do you think of the report, in general?

  2. It’s all well and good to do presentation logic in PHP – that’s what it’s for, but when people start doing business logic in PHP, then things get messy.

    Are there any instances of this happening around you?

  3. The first quote’s passage “Yahoo… uses PHP for all its presentation logic” is patentaly false. I don’t know the percent of Y! pages that are served via PHP, but it’s certainly not even near the majority. I’m surprised you didn’t comment on this, Michael.


  4. Actually, I did send the author various comments and corrections, but not all of them made it into the final draft. That particular comment was taken a little bit out of context (he asked if we did presentation logic in C/C++, and I answered that we never did it there, but instead at the higher-level languages like PHP). Oh well.

    The percentage of Y! pages that are served via PHP is actually pretty high now.

    In any case, given that Y! has 90 properties, there’s pretty much nothing you can say about Y! technology that’s uniform across all sites. You can’t even claim that “Y! is a Unix shop” since we actually still have a Windows presence in some of our streaming media properties.

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