Previously: [Part 1][programming1], [Part 2][programming2], [Part 3][programming3], and [Part 4][programming4].
I received an interesting question the other day from a recruiter:
> Would you be open to moving away from PHP?
First, by analogy. I’m a photographer, most of the cameras I own are manufactured by Nikon. This is like asking if I’m open to using a Canon.
I happen to be very adept with using a Nikon. However, I don’t think [the photons bouncing around care much what logo sits on front of the camera][camera purchasing] they are in. I’d be a poor photographer if what I did was care about the brand of camera I carry instead of the picture I am taking.
PHP is designed to solve one problem: the web problem. It solves it very well—as evidenced by marketshare and its continuing durability. At nearly all other stuff, PHP happens to suck at.
I happen to be very adept at PHP. That pretty much means knowing that there is a better tool than to use PHP to solve the problem at hand at hand, and using that instead of PHP: MySQL, Apache, memcached, MongoDB, CouchDB, Scala, Erlang, Puppet, CruiseControl, AWS, etc.—none of which, to my knowledge anyway, written in PHP.
I’d be a poor programmer indeed if I thought that the problems I solved cared much the language I was adept in.
I’m not a poor programmer.
The Short answer: “Yes. Depends on the problem and the existing environment.”
(Recruiter was amused by my answer because he was owns a Canon. I suggested we “get on either side of the street and start making threatening dance moves at each other like [the Jets and the Sharks][west side story].”)
Another question I got:
> Which do you think is better [some programming language] or [another programming language]?
They’re just tools. That’s like asking a handyman which they think is better: a hammer or a screwdriver.
(That elicited a laugh.)
Using a programming language is simply [a choice][making choices]. There are many things that go into making a correct choice that are far beyond what language one prefers for a problem that happens to be not that hard to solve in the first place.
[programming1]: http://terrychay.com/article/learning-programming.shtml “Learning Programming Part 1: 5 million”
[programming2]: http://terrychay.com/article/learning-frameworks.shtml “Learning Programming Part 2: Programming Frameworks”
[programming3]: http://terrychay.com/article/learning-programming-part-3-c-cplusplus-superiority.shtml “Learning Programming Part 3: C/C++ superiority”
[programming4]: http://terrychay.com/article/programming-is-hard.shtml “Learning Programming Part 4: “Programming is Hard””
[camera purchasing]: http://terrychay.com/article/camera-purchasing-aphorisms.shtml “Camera purchasing advice”
: http://terrychay.com/article/is-ruby-the-dog-and-php-the-dogfood.shtml “Is Ruby the dog and PHP the dogfood?”
[making choices]: http://terrychay.com/article/simple-prescriptions-and-making-choices.shtml “Simple prescriptions and making choices”
[west side story]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Side_Story “West Side Story—Wikipedia”