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The Modern Web

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Hi Larry et al


As someone working in a startup in a big web company like stripe I imagine they are hot on technology and stacks etc. I was reading around on the web just about language comparisons/platforms like node.js and read a couple of people say things like PHP Ruby Python are not as relevant to the modern web. What the modern web is it doesn't say.


What are your thoughts on that kind of statement? Out of interest. As someone who is fairly up to date with the web and technologies I'm always intrigued by people opinions on these things. I have started to work with swift. But I'm very new to it and can see the downside of concurrent requests using PHP for instance.

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My thought is that kind of statement is silly and people who say such things have no idea what they're talking about. I'd liken it to saying that combustion engines aren't as relevant to modern cars. Which is true in that like 1% of modern cars don't use combustion engines and that there's way more to cars than just the engine and at some point in the future we maybe won't have combustion engines. But...we're pretty much all using combustion engines. 


The primary ways in which the web has changed in my 16 year career are:


- Devices/browsers

- Internet access speed

- Distributed hardware/server options


(This is just off the top of my head, but I think it's reasonable.) 


As for devices and browsers, the biggest changes are HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. Better internet access speeds affects those items just listed, as well as more rich media and web-based services. For distributed hardware/server options, I'm thinking both of affordable CDN and scaling systems (e.g., AWS) and self-controlled VPSes (e.g., Digital Ocean and Linode). In short, it's crazy cheap and easy to use world-class hardware and networks.


Note that in none of these areas or changes will you find mention of the specific server-side language used. It's just one cog in the machine. Further, if you take the leaders of the modern web, Facebook essentially uses PHP compiled into C, Twitter uses Scala (based on Java), and Stripe uses Ruby. Plenty of big name sites use Node (or other "modern" technologies), but to suggest the old guard isn't relevant anymore is silly. 


HTML2 isn't relevant, nor is Flash, but Ruby, Python, or PHP...bah. 

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Well these are my thoughts. I love my current stack which is probably the same as yours. PHP and MySQL. But I do always look at other places where learning a new language or skill set would be a good investment. I like the idea of apps for iOS and it's a fairly big undertaking to build an app when you don't have any experience in that or iOS. But I'm enjoying playing around with it and learning Swift.


I hear loads of great things about Python and Ruby. More so than PHP. A lot of purists seem to see PHP as the devil it appears. I actually came across the article by googling node.js v Python as I wanted to use a more scripting orientated language for some reports on a JVM and PHP won't run on JVM.


I think at some point web wise is like to learn how and when to use Mongo. But the reality here is how many of us are going to build something that needs to be that scalable. So I'll hold fire on that and hack my way through swift. Thanks as ever for your response. I'm glad we share the same opinions.



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