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Re: Company considers recoding Java app in Perl

by merlyn (Sage)
on Aug 12, 2005 at 16:10 UTC ( #483326=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Company considers recoding Java app in Perl

One of my clients is a very successful online prescription business. The handful of Perl programmers that had coded version 1 of their site (being used daily for thousands of hits per hour) thought they were out of a job when some PHBs hired 30 Java programmers to write version 2.

Time passes, Version 2 is slipping one week per week near the deadline, even though promises were made to the investors to have a "new site online soon". Lead Java guy goes over to the Perl guys (still maintaining version 1) and says "can you mock up these new looks on your existing codebase?" Perl guys code the entire thing in a long weekend, and "version 2" goes live. Live, not just mocked.

Java guys all get the axe.

Amazing. This stuff needs to get out there more. Too bad I don't have permission to reveal more details.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

  • Comment on Re: Company considers recoding Java app in Perl

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Re^2: Company considers recoding Java app in Perl
by jhourcle (Prior) on Aug 12, 2005 at 19:11 UTC

    Although it's a useful example, it doesn't necessarily show an advantage of Perl over Java -- it shows an advantage of modifying an existing system, as opposed to restarting from scratch.

    Depending on the exact details, it could also show that bringing in programmers who aren't familiar with the underlying business processes can hurt the development of new systems -- sometimes (most times?), it's better to take the time to training current employees in new technologies, than to bring in a contractor or outsource it.

    (and I say that, currently doing long term contract work ... and I still don't understand most of the data that I deal with, 3 versions and 18 months later)

Re^2: Company considers recoding Java app in Perl
by jplindstrom (Monsignor) on Aug 13, 2005 at 13:41 UTC
    Well, with 30 developers in one project, one sure deal-breaker is not-enough savvy project management.

    I'm not saying that good project management can rescue a surreal ship date no matter what, but bad project management with 30 people involved is never, ever gonna work out, regardless of the language used.

    The way you describe how the slip date is handled is a red flag, and I've also seen it up close a saddening number of times. No small slips would be a nice pattern to apply here (and the book, Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development is one of the most encouraging books I've ever read about software project management).

    /J

    Update: changed the pattern url to a more recent one

Re^2: Company considers recoding Java app in Perl
by pg (Canon) on Aug 13, 2005 at 05:38 UTC

    Language is just one detail of a project. A project in Java failed does not prove or indicate Java is a bad language. In this case, I would rather say that this proves in-house developement are usually cheaper and easier to control than using outside consultant.

      In this case, I would rather say that this proves in-house developement are usually cheaper and easier to control than using outside consultant.
      Huh? What makes you say that? There were no outside consultants used! Both the Java team and the Perl team were in-house.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
      Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

Re^2: Company considers recoding Java app in Perl
by biosysadmin (Deacon) on Aug 18, 2005 at 06:11 UTC

    Amazing. This stuff needs to get out there more. Too bad I don't have permission to reveal more details.

    It would be interesting if you could set up a meeting between a Perl advocacy group and businesses with Perl success stories like that, given the right price/agreement the company might agree to have the story published. Perhaps this is a bad example because it sounds like the company's management made a mistake by hiring the Java team in the first place, but I'll bet that you (and others) know some good stories that would reflect well on a company.

    Just a random thought before bed. :)

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