What prompted to write few words about PHP and Rails is article on O’Reilly 7 reasons I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails . Rails is really great platform that is fine tuned to power developers taste, however there are some problems in development of Rails apps, and deployment as well which affect quite a number of people. For example performance of Rails apps is not that great and can’t be problematic to figure it out. Twitter is the super fancy site that experienced a lot of performance problems in key phase of their adoption by users and that were largely attributed to using Rails. Also if you read through the article you will see that gripes Derek has with rails are mostly related to performance and issues with architecture, also caching was mentioned. I kind of ran into some of those issues and they can be pain when encountered.
Imagine you are new startup and developing new app that look awesome, works great and you get somehow Mike Arrington of TechCrunch to pay attention. Then it crashes miserably after users start to trickle in. That is genuine disaster.
I have full confidence that all the current issues will be superbly be resolved eventually and enthusiasm about Rails overall. Just many people are a little blinded by enthusiasm about Rails, which is also good. Thousand times it is better to show enthusiasm about Rails than about some obscure Java thingy for example.
Let’s return to PHP for a moment, PHP is approaching milestone as current development in versi0n PHP 4.x will have to be abandoned by end of this year in favor of superior PHP 5.x version because support for version 4 is ceasing end of this year. This is great and will focus developers in right direction in my view.
For me personally PHP is still fun to develop and I enjoy it, having great performance also helps a great deal. This is natural that something that has 5 versions behind, years of development and fine tuning, and HUGE developer and application base will work smoothly.
I have to admit that I rewrote one of my Rails sites to PHP, but this is mostly attributed to bad performance I was getting at hosting provider. It was rather simple app and it was not a big deal. Site in question is OneRandomSite.com .
I can only conclude that as long as there is choice, life is good, no language or framework is answer to all development challenges.