[UPHPU] 40 signs of a lousy PHP programmer

Alvaro Carrasco alvaro at epliant.com
Mon Feb 11 16:15:36 MST 2008

Joshua Simpson wrote:
> On Feb 11, 2008 2:15 PM, Alvaro Carrasco <alvaro at epliant.com 
> <mailto:alvaro at epliant.com>> wrote:
>     Roberto Mello wrote:
>     > ...
>     >  Lastly, my personal opinion is that people who use MySQL are
>     > lacking some fundamental knowlege. They tend not to be very smart
>     > either.
>     > ...
>     Insulting the majority of the users on this list for no good
>     reason with
>     such a comment is a sign of someone who is not very smart.
>     That's MY "personal opinion".
> Of course these are two examples of  a "flame war" gone bad.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
> Personally, I would actually agree with Roberto to a point:  the 
> majority of MySQL ( and so are the majority of PHP engineers - sad, 
> but true ) users are relative newbies to software engineering.  For 
> many of them, PHP is their first actual language (a warning sign in 
> and of itself), and MySQL is their first actual DBMS.  In a lot of 
> startups / small businesses, these duties are combined: sheesh, 
> sometimes, you'll have a guy who's system administrator, software 
> engineer, and DBA all rolled into one.  Generally, you're going to end 
> up with some reaaaaaaal bad decisions:  code-wise, systems-wise, 
> and/or DB-wise.  Add to that that web development is extremely 
> "instantaneous orientated" -- the business types want something done.  
> Immediately.  Like, yesterday.  It's not the most conducive 
> environment for a beginner.  An interesting side effect of this that 
> we're seeing is pseudo software engineers popping up everywhere:  the 
> availability and demand of PHP has produced a lot of self taught 
> developers -- and not for the better, either.
> Of course, MySQL doesn't have the tendency to teach bad habits like 
> PHP does, so I don't automatically assume that one is a newbie if 
> they're relying on MySQL in their stack.  One can create well designed 
> databases in MySQL, especially with the advent of views, stored 
> procedures, and triggers in MySQL 5.  If we're going to argue MySQL 
> versus *, we should bring up actual technical failings of MySQL:  
> clustering, it plays loose and fast with the SQL standard, etc.  
> People who're used to Oracle or Postgres will generally have issues 
> with MySQL, but they tend to ignore the fact that MySQL's read speeds 
> make it a great choice for a simple business web application ( of 
> course, I have a lot of issues with PERSONAL blogs and the like using 
> MySQL for no good reason -- just use SQLite! ).
> ...
It is true, that PHP and MySQL have more beginners that use them, but
that just means that they've been successful at keeping the learning
curve low. It doesn't say much about the competency of an individual
developer who uses them. I currently work with C# programmers that use
SQL Server and I think SQL Server is a piece of crap. I question their
choices, but not necessarily their intelligence.


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