application and web app technologies

Reinder Verlinde reinder at verlinde.invalid
Mon Jan 2 14:09:17 EST 2006

In article <1136226294.170886.159690 at>,
 cartercc at wrote:

> January, 2006.
> I do not intend to start any kind of flame war, but only to seek advice
> about different technologies concerning which I am mostly ignorant.
> [...]
> I have been tasked by me IT department with investigating different
> technologies for what will be a total rewrite and major update of our
> applications.

>From your post, it is not clear what these applications do. That may 
hugely influence any advice you can get.

For instance: if you are running weather simulations on your back end, 
Fortran and C would probably be good choices for part of your system. If 
you are mostly running static web pages, your choice of CMS will 
probably have more impact than your choice of scripting language.

Moreover, you do not tell who will do the maintenance on these systems. 
If it is "IT", the choice might move towards C/C++ or a C/C++-like 
scripting language.

> [...]
> The problem with Perl is that it seems dowdy and oldfashioned,

Never dismiss anything because it 'seems' bad. Your 'seems 
old-fashioned' is someone else's 'proven technology'. You should work on 
objectifying this statement (because I am not a Perl fan, I expect that 
this will be possible).

> A real important part of this is database connectivity. We use a number
> of different databases, Access, SQL Server, Datatel (the big University
> DB), PostgreSQL (my favorite), MySQL, and a couple of others.

Any decent scripting language will be able to connect to most, if not 
all, of these.

>  * Java/JSP -- We have already made the decision to go with Java, but
> we haven't started with it, and have not committed to Java.

If your 'deciding to' does not imply commitment, you have larger 
problems then choosing a technology.

>  * Ruby -- We have a Ruby advocate here, but no one knows anything
> about it.

Never trust an advocate who knows nothing about the thing (s)he 

However, you should really take a look at Ruby on Rails 
( It is both good under the hood, and well-marketed 
(check out some of the videos)

>  * C/C++ -- I mention this only because this is what IT uses. We have
> no interest in C/C++, unless it really is the best.

If your web apps contain stuff that needs high performance and is CPU 
bound, you should keep these in as a language. Calling C/C++ code from 
any decent scripting language is easy. Also, if you need commitment from 
IT, choosing a less than best language may be a good idea.

Having said that, as far as I know, there are good reasons C and C++ are 
not really popular for the development of web applications.

> We want something that we can use across the board, from web apps to
> sys admin

Why would you? programming languages all have their strengths and 
weaknesses. Good programmers will be able to choose a midway path 
between standardisation on a single language and using the best language 
for every task.


More information about the Python-list mailing list