ADT's Programmers Report: PHP prowls the edge
- By Colleen Frye
Gartner Inc.'s Yefim Natis does not offer much encouragement for young players
in the application server market: "I think it's too late; the market is
spoken for at this point. I think even for Oracle -- who's trying to get in[to
the] market and be the number three player -- it is very hard."
If it is hard for the likes of Oracle, what chances do young companies in the
open-source space have? "I think those companies will change direction
or focus on professional services," said Natis. "They may look at
Web services as a new potential," although he said he is not recommending
That is exactly the plan of NuSphere Corp., a company created by Progress Software
in June 2000, which initially focused on providing packaged products and support
services around MySQL, the leading open-source database. NuSphere today markets
an Internet Application Platform (IAP) based on open-source components, including
PHP, Apache, Perl and MySQL. And there are indications that a NuSphere Apache/Tomcat
product may be due. PHP is a general-purpose scripting language and a project
of the Apache Software Foundation.
"It's pretty common for people to build Web sites using Apache and PHP,
or Apache and Perl. Now we're allowing Java programmers to have the same kind
of experience by incorporating an application server function into our platform
and breaking into the Java space," said Britt Johnston, NuSphere's CTO.
"This is something we've discussed with NuSphere from the beginning,"
said Mark Karaman, president of Solvepoint Corp., a management and technology
consulting company in West Chester, Pa. "It will take the benefits NuSphere
bestowed in the PHP/MySQL space and make them available in the Java space. It's
a sensible next step for somebody that has used scripting languages and wants
to implement what Java has to offer, and doesn't want to go all [the] way with
the J2EE/EJB framework. The servlet is an adorable little thing Tomcat does
very well; you could be a PHP programmer and understand exactly what this is."
In addition, NuSphere is touting PHP as a cost-effective way to build and run
Web services applications. "A lot of customers out there are under the
false impression that you can't build Web services with PHP, but [you] can pretty
much build Web services with any language; it's not rocket science," said
"Some vendors in the pure proprietary space would have the market believe
that Web services are revolutionary, but they're more evolutionary, building
on standards that have driven the Web itself," said Mark Lorion, NuSphere
VP of business development. "We're saying [our solution] is a viable alternative
that will get you there and not lock you in."
For more information, read the article "Open-source
Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.