Scripts Are IP Too
- By John K. Waters
- September 1, 2006
Ajax is hot here in North America, but it appears to be on fire in Eastern
Europe, Brazil, China, and India. A recently published Evans Data survey of 400 developers in
XML is definitely the Web dev du jour in the so-called emerging
The survey found that about 25 percent of developers in Brazil are using the
technique; that's the most of any country surveyed by Evans. China had the
lowest adoption rate in the survey, with just over 16 percent, which was closest
to the North American rate of 18 percent.
Evans president John Andrews characterized Ajax adoption globally as strong,
but he said that adoption in the emerging markets is downright aggressive.
''Given that these developers are spending a majority of their time developing
Web applications,'' Andrews said in a statement, ''we only see this trend
PHP is catching on in these areas as well, the survey found. The largest
numbers of developers using the popular, general-purpose, open-source scripter
were found in Eastern Europe (39 percent). Just over 31 percent of Indian and
Brazilian coders are using it, and 21 percent of the Chinese developers surveyed
were PHP users. In North America, 35 percent of developers are using PHP,
according to Evans.
I've shared before in this space the concerns of various security gurus about
Doug Levin, CEO of Black Duck
Software recently pointed out to me a risk that might accompany all popular
scripting languages. ''Engineers don't take them seriously,'' he said. ''They're
not real languages, like C and C++. Many have no idea that scripting is in the
realm of copyrightable materials or is protected by IP rights. But believe me,
Waltham, Ma-based Black Duck provides technologies
designed to identify the pedigree of the code floating around an
scripts. ''We anticipated this trend from the inception [of the company,]''
Levin said. ''Ajax has been hot for the last year or so, but server-side
scripting has been around for a long time.''
The knowledge base of Black Duck's flagship protextIP product can take in
high level languages, such as C and C++ (the company currently takes in 75
libraries. ''We have an ongoing effort to expand our knowledge base to include
the Internet,'' Levin said.
Tom Snyder, CEO of iNetOffice, the provider of such browser-based office
applications as the iNetWord online document and Web page editor, agrees that
scripts have added a level of complexity to the increasingly dynamic Web. ''When
these components are integrating with each other as richly as they are,
virtually every major functionality somehow invokes other major components,'' he
says. ''And that raises more questions: If I pass you this copyrighted XML, what
rights am I granting you? I'm asking you to display it on a map, say, but what
other rights do you have? Can you cache it, report, sort it, build bar graphs
about who's doing what with certain mapping services?''
All of which leads to a relatively simple, but potentially critical
admonition: Scripts need to be covered with the same rigor as any other code.
Other findings of interest from that Evans survey:
• Forty-two percent of respondents are using flash, a considerably higher
percentage than is found in North America.
• Increased usage of Linux for embedded operating systems is expected across
all regions. China is leading the way with 39 percent of developers there
projecting growth, while the Eastern European region is the area showing the
• Nine out of ten emerging-market developers use Windows as the primary
platform on which they host development.
BTW: A couple of week's ago I mentioned Black Duck in my
LinuxWorld preview, and I cited a story from the company's Web site about
the origins of its name. As reported on the site, it comes from a wounded
American Black Duck that Levin found and nursed back to health when he was seven
years old. ''I don't really know whether it's true,'' I wrote, ''but it's a cute
Last week I heard from Fran Levin, Doug's mother, who charmingly informed me
via email that the story is true: ''When [Doug] was seven years old, he found
this wild duck that was wounded,'' Mrs. L wrote. ''He nursed it back to health,
built a cage for it, and took care of it for a while. I don’t remember how long
he had it, but I can say it bit him a lot and was totally wild. He eventually
released [it] into Long Island Sound. I know he was sad, but it was good for the
Now that's a cute story.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached
at [email protected].