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March 23, 2005

Comments

Brandon Paddock

Llee, he didn't say Sharepoint Portal Server - just Sharepoint.

Sharepoint 2.0 is free to all Windows Server 2003 users. So all they'd have to buy is Windows Small Business Server for $500 (or Premium for $1000 if they want SQL) and they're good to go.

And that's street pricing... I'm sure they could do even better through Microsoft's charity programs.

Not saying it's the answer to their prayers... just wondering if they considered it.

Arnt Karlsen

.."It's a very clear explanation of what we at Microsoft need to do to win back developers."
-- Robert Scoble, March 24, 2005 03:22 PM (MST? I found it at http://www.leaveitbehind.com/home/2005/03/why_switch.html and respond there and at Groklaw too.)


..an harder challenge; Convince me you even try. ;o)

..note that "win back" is _very_ different from other means, for example, the Germans _let_ the Nazis seize power in 1933, and the Nazis _made_ 6 million Jews enter the gas chambers in Auschwitz. So, the Germans, with one notable exception*, has since gone out of their way trying to repair the damage _they_ did do to mankind, and they _have_ won back at least my respect, even despite joining the EU. It took'em 50 years. The Serbs likewise _has_ delivered Slobodan Milosevic to the court in the Hague and has begun doing _their_ repair job.

..it's _all_ about doing the right thing, precisely like they teach (and often do) in churches, synagoges and even mosques too.
Even _after_ you have failed.

..ah yeah, the notable exception*; the "Neo-Nazi community", is about as numerous as Microsoft's staff and pretends Holocaust never happened, and even they has their own revisionists doing "research", too.

..juuust like in "Get the facts!" ;o)

..all we see from Microsoft, are these shills (covert and not) wriggling around laws, court orders etc, by deleting company email to evade discovery of evidence and by complying with the wording and not to the spirit in those laws 'n orders, to try harm the F/OSS community, like now in Massachusetts and Europe, where you try to patent XML as "MSXML" and ask F/OSS developers to pay 50,000 (US$ or €?) for writing code to fill out XML tax forms or get hit with US$ 3 million lawsuits.

..my own experience with Microsoft? In my last 5 weeks with Wintendo95, back in 1997, I was driven thru 23 reinstalls.
I lost 2 years research work. And that was not even in F/OSS!, it was in thermochemical gasification. According to your "EULA", which BTW is a contract, not a license, my 2 years is worth US$ 5. So I had use SuSE Linux 5.2 to try rescue what I could rescue. (Since then, Red Hat 5.2 thru 9, now I run Debian Sid and my clientele, Debian Woody.)

..the Germans and the Serbs has proven _far_ more responsible, on the damage _they_ did.

..your call, Mr Scoble of Microsoft.

Arnt Karlsen

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050324233749913#c293113

nordsieck

You folks might want to take a look at "Church Website in a Box"

http://www.shef.ca/?view=cwiab

I haven't personally used it, but I have heard really good things about it, and I imagine that it would reduce quite a bit of the administrative overhead of setting up the site.

JD

Anton, Sharepoint is NOT free - you are referring to Windows Sharepoint Services. This still has a fee if you have it extrnally facing the Internet. If internal then it is free.

Rob Herman

Brian,

I find it interesting that you move so quickly away from Microsoft technology by only looking at their new guy. As a local ASP/ASP.NET and PHP developer, I still find ASP to be one of the top development platforms. You can still use mySQL and the cost is still minimal all the way around. Granted, the patches move a little quicker, but I find that both boxes, Linus / Unix and Microsoft still require them.

-e

Finally found a reason to be glad I am a Catholic! :)

Sounds like a big old bunch of FUD to me.

phil crissman

Great post, and lots of great comments; I think I'll definitely be linking to this, and maybe even work up something to say about it later on tonight.

I, for one, think that it makes a lot of sense to base at least part of your decision on your new hire -- as far as your existing people who may need new training, I'm reminded of the conversations we had awhile back on the "scalable enterprise solutions" topic, on how people... our solutions... are scalable. Great move!

Looking forward to hearing more about how it goes.

Karl O. Pinc

The main reason why some php sites are difficult
to maintain is because content is not
separated from presentation. The W3C
technology XSLT supports this separation
and can be used in conjunction with LAMP.

The down side is that there's an addtional
thing to learn, but the up side is that
the compartmentalization means that
different people can work on different parts.

cseg

To the guy who is a Catholic: I'm a Catholic. I have half a dozen computers at home. And NONE of them run Windows. Do you really think you are following the Lord by using the products of a convicted monopolist? If they showed the tinest degree of repentence, I might cut you a little slack. But they continue to be up to all of their old tricks.

To LeaveItBehind: Press On! Fight the good fight! Use and support Open Source Software!

Les

Welcome to the world of PHP, hope you enjoy your journey and continue to grow :)

Josh Berkus

Brian,

Hey, thanks for posting this!

--Josh Berkus
PostgreSQL Project

Mark Spidle


Brian,

Good article. My church http://www.pointofgrace.com uses fellowshipone for church management. do you see that moving toward open source. I would love it if you would.

I have written some programs for my wife for scheduling and such and would love to integrate it with F1 but alas I can not, because I don't have access to the data.

We would love to see the check in stations move away from a Windows only solution too.

Thanks

Mark

Feenix

I was referred to this article as an example of people switching to PHP from ASP.NET. I'd like to point out a few things since most of the comments are overly positive about this switch.

1. It's not a problem with the platform that people aren't available for it. People learn new things all the time, but I know it's not a solution when you need 20 people for a project yesterday.

2. Naturally "simple and quick" solutions might be possible with PHP, but they are as possible with ASP.NET. Many real world applications aren't "simple and quick." And also remember: the right tool for each task.

3. Cost is not that big of an issue. You don't need SQL Server, you've got for example PostgreSQL. You don't need MSDN, or at least any part of it that requires paying. Visual Studio is great, but not necessary for development. Just use any editor you like. And you can always deploy Web Server Edition or purchase hosting solution. If you want your own server, it's the only thing you pay for. Everything else you need is free. Really.

4. If you can't get servers to work, look in the mirror and in the hardware first. Think what are the only common nominators: you as the developers and admins. What could be the problem then, since others can do it without problems. People can run development machines for years without problems, they can run servers for months without reboots and software they wrote doesn't stop working suddenly. Funny, isn't it?

5. Security is a problem everywhere and as someone already stated, it's strange that you'd leave your servers without upgrades while stating that Linux/Apache/PHP have vulnerabilities.

6. Platform independence is better with PHP, so if you need that, it is a good reason. Mono has gone a long way and might even be a possibility for ASP.NET hosting nowadays.

7. This relates to the point 1, since there are not that many people using it, communities are smaller. But also there is a lot of crap in the larger PHP communities, so you must be careful in believing everything you see in forums and using all the code samples you find. There have been lots of problems when people don't understand the code they use.

8. Lots of samples for ASP.NET too, but naturally PHP has been around for a lot longer. Also lots of crappy samples for PHP out there. People must be careful.

9. There is nothing IE specific about ASP.NET nor is PHP any better in this sence. So this is total FUD and should be treated as such. Web site developers do the code, not the platform.

10. As known for so long, superstars are usually comets. Many times they don't last that long and many times they aren't that great. They only appear to be, but after a while you realize the truth. I'm not saying your guy isn't an exception, just that there are lots of people in trouble because they blindly trust random people. (Yes, I don't expect anyone to blindly trust me either, that's not what this writing is about ;)

I hope people read the second to last paragraph and undestand it, since it's where you state the most important: this is the situation where you and only you are, so this is your decision. I respect that and even more I respect the fact that you understand it. Without that paragraph the whole text could've been random rantings, but now it's a description about your findings.

Hope you'll be happy with your new platform, I know I will be with ASP.NET and won't go back to PHP (which I used for many years before ASP.NET came out). Still my database of choice isn't MS's and I'm not paying them lots of money just because I use their stuff. Why should anyone else? You have the choice.

Dave

My dream for years has been to see churches of all sizes utilize open source technology to share and enhance technology for the ultimate purpose of creating community online and reaching others for Christ. So I am encouraged to see Fellowship Church embrace open source solutions. I am certainly not opposed to commercial products - they have their place and value. I just see unlimited potential for open source solutions as a vehicle for meeting the needs of churches in a low-cost yet effective manner. In the 2 years since our web ministry launched at our church, we have not spent a single dime on the development of our church website. The web ministry is primarily volunteer driven and we run MamboServer on a cost-free web host (3 year FREE trial with Linux hosting, 100 MB, 15 gig throughput, MySQL databases, SSH, and a myriad of other features). We chose Mambo because we needed a web presence quickly with minimal overhead and development time. We had the initial website up and running in about 2 days. Since then we have tweaked it and added more graphics elements on less than 10 hours per week. It has become a vehicle for event notification and online sign ups and the reception has been very positive. Check it out at http://www.trinityeht.com I am curious: What content management system will Fellowship go with? Or will it be a home grown solution?

Ryan

We are at a similar point of needing to make a firm decision between PHP and ASP.NET, a more open source approach or Microsoft.

For me, your second point is of most importance:

2. Complexity and speed of development

If I may ask - in what ways did you find ASP.NET more tedious to maintain and/or develop with?

I thank you for your reply, as it will go a long way to helping us choose a platform.

ASP.NET Developer Leeds

Hi,

I find myself at a crossroads also..

I have been developing with ASP.NET for about 2 years. I work alone on all the project from design to database and have never worked as part of a large team. I am designer moving toward the technology rather than developer moving toward design.

I have just developed a modular CMS in ASP.NET which uses SQL Server. The development experience and web community support was generally pretty good. I rarely had to use forums as web development tutorials and info for ASP.NET coupled with MSDN meant that answers were generally easy to find.

I have recently been approached by a company developing a triple play platform to provide various applications from set top box to billing and web front end for resellers. The problem is however that they are very open source oriented and very linux.

Having developed my own CMS I am forced to look at adopting mambo as the basis for the front end because mine wont run on their servers. Mono doesn't seem to be a credible option and the use of SQL server was the killer blow for portability. Even if i convinced them and myself to run my cms on mono, they couldnt and wouldn't run SQL server on their servers. This is such a shame because my cms is so much easier to use and much more flexible, i think mambo sucks.

Although my CMS is better in certain respects like useability and flexibility, mambo has a huge range of developers and add ins available. This is a significant factor.

With respect to the power of the open source community however, I am not so convinced. Many of the open source projects i have seen are a bit shabby. Having set up a website using mambo i feel that it is not as good as it could be. I am one person working alone and unfunded and the system I have built is (and you will have to take my word for this) better than this open source project.

The triple play job has forced me to look at many open source projects and there is a lot of dross I have to say. Campare these to the commercial components I have seen in my time as an ASP.NET developer which are pretty polished and often only a few hundred
dollars to purchase so they are quite affordable. I think it is fair to pay for quality than get rubbish for free.

The use of SQL server also is the major problem for people considering my content management system. Although I dont consider it such a big deal it seems to be an expense that people object to. The use of SQL server has not brought anything to the project however that couldnt have been done with MySQL except add extra cost to the ownership.

I have enjoyed using C# and on the whole vs.net has been a great programming tool but not such a brilliant web development tool.

However, my research into the triple play arena in preparation for this recent contract tells me that it is all going to be unix linuxy type stuff all the way.

As services converge, is there any reason why, when all your other services are linux, you would keep your web applications on windows technologies.

Although I like ASP.NET I am now having to learn PHP and think seriously about any further investment in ASP.NET as a developer. If I had been using PHP MySQL I would have had a lot more options.

Apart from that microsoft business practices as have been noted in some of the above replies are hardly laudable. And the open source idea that people is a nicer idea.

Barry

Consider using Mambo (www.mamboserver.com). I have been a very active web developer for going on 7 years, built my own CMS before, seen other CMS solutions that people have built and there's a lot out there, however, Mambo is simply loaded.

The interface is about as polished as anybody could hope for from an open source project, development of it is constant and improving, and because it's so popular it's one of the few well documented open source projects out there. I've been using it at the company that I work for to build about 10 different sites with very impressive graphics designs and complex layouts. So far I have not found anything that Mambo can't handle. You just have to know your way around CSS. The most helpful part about it is the ability to easily turn the site over to non-technical people to maintain the content. If you spend about $30 to purchase WYSIWYGPro (a very slick web based form editor) and add it in, the combination is really untouchable. It allows for using multiple languages, multiple looks for specific pages, integrated scripts to change the behavior of the system, major web based applications, and smaller utility applications all around.

The only downside to it is that right now, it is tied to MySQL - though most PHP projects are. The next release however, will be adding a DB abstraction model that will allow you to use any database you like. Once that happens, Mambo is likely going to hit the next level.

The biggest thing about Mambo, as a developer though, is getting used to the directory structure. You've done a couple of projects and used other code for examples of what you're trying to do, development goes very fast.

Terry

Those Mambo guys are as bad as Jehovah Witnessess! I've tried Mambo and much prefer postNuke/mdPro or would use Xaraya which is a new system with too much power for me to figure out yet. Postnuke/mdPro are much more flexible in database choices (mySql, Postgres, Oracle, etc). Same type of community and developer support, better membership support with more Access Control than Mambo. (One of the major Mambo sites had to dump their membership tables as is was really slowing down the system.)

Aside from the CMS debates, if you're writing you own system, what type of framework/design pattern are you all working with?

Are you considering any of the existing php frameworks available such as Cake (ruby on rails for php), phpMVC (J2EE Struts model), or Prado (which is very .net like) or rolling your own. Would be very interested as I look more and more into design patterns for php.

Ray Ox

You can learn more about Mambo here: source.mambo-foundation.org (there's a live demo at demo.mamboserver.com). If you want to try out a variety of Open Source CMS, then visit www.opensourcecms.com -- that site has every one I can think of set up and ready for a test drive (refreshed every 2 hours!). Best way to find what you like. Let's face it: Some of the proprietary products are very good, but when we are trying to stretch budgets and are looking at cost/benefit, Open Source carries the day!

Chris Brodie

I have been programing in ASP/vbscript from the very start and have recently been looking for a Job as a II Manager / Developer. However the language I know best is now redundant and im finding my self having to choose to advance to ASP.net or change to PHP. or do both..

Some of the PHP scripts and examples out there are fantastic and as a developer you learn by example. (I do)

Your article has made it clear that PHP is the way forward for me..

Thanks
Chris Brodie
http://www.upload.co.uk

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