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Making Software by Greg Wilson, Andy Oram

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Plat_Forms: Web Development Technologies and Cultures

The second opportunity for a language comparison arose after a software manager named Gaylord Aulke called me in 2005 and said, “I own a service company that builds web applications. I have read your Phonecode report and use it to explain to my customers why they need not be afraid of scripting languages. But I would like to have something more specific. Couldn’t you do something like that for PHP?”

It was a fascinating thought, but it took me only two seconds to decide that no, I could not. I explained the reasons to him: to be credible, comparing web development platforms would need to involve a much bigger task (at least several days long, to make interesting aspects of web applications visible), platform groups of teams (at least three people each, to make interesting aspects of web development processes visible) rather than language groups of individuals, and high-quality professionals rather than arbitrary folks or students (because of the greater depth of knowledge required for a realistic use of web platforms). Also, the evaluation would be much more complicated. I simply could not imagine how anybody would pay for a study of this size.

His reaction was “Hmm, I see. I will talk to someone. Maybe we can do something about it.” Months later, the person he had talked to put me in contact with Richard Seibt and Eduard Heilmayr, who eventually were able to attract teams to participate in the experiment, which I had been able ...

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