School Spirit

It’s inevitable: when you have two or more skilled developers the ordinary tiffs over which programming language is better, which text editor is better, and which OS is better will arise.

These arguments are usually pretty pointless, but they’re a lot of fun if you don’t really have anything better to talk about. Nothing ever gets resolved – but you usually do gain a wider perspective on and understanding of your colleagues/friends.

The ‘my programming language/environment/os is better than yours’ argument is pretty similar to the arguments that fanatics of basketball teams perpetuate. Like the fabled Duke and UK rivalry.

For my non-KY readers, UK basketball is a very serious thing in Kentucky. If you’re born in Kentucky, you spend most of your youth watching UK basketball and rooting for ‘the team’. You probably hate [Coach K]. Surely you think [Christian Latener should die] for making that shot in ‘92.

Ryan and I enjoy a friendly PHP vs. ColdFusion debate almost every time we talk. I’m PHP to the core, and he’s practically a Macromedia Evangelist. I’m not sure if Ryan is a Kentucky fan or not, but for the sake of this example, he bleeds UK blue. I root for Duke, he roots for UK. Why? My parents aren’t from Kentucky and they weren’t raised with the ‘blue blood’ (ha) that a lot of people around here flaunt—luckily my parents didn’t feel the need to instill blue blood in me.

Ironically, I got my first programming experience using syntax that was extremely similar to ColdFusion with the old Miva Scripting language. They did (do?) the whole tag prefixing like ColdFusion does and they did the completely ludicrious comparison operators like OR, NE, and IS NOT. Now, I see that kind of syntax versus the curly braces and semicolons I love and I can’t think of why anyone would choose it. I can’t pinpoint why Ryan chose CF, or why I chose PHP—but it’s just a preference. We spend hours upon hours developing in our chosen languages. Why would anyone spend hours developing in a language they hate? The only answer I can think of is money.

Back to the metaphor. In a Duke vs. UK argument there are usually a few good arguments for both sides:

  • UK has won more national championships
  • Duke has won more national championships in the past decade
  • One of the teams has won more face-to-face meetings than the other
  • One of the teams has won more face-to-face meetings in the past decade than the other

Just like with the usual PHP vs. ColdFusion argument:

  • PHP is more widely installed, has a wider developer base
  • ColdFusion is more ‘industry tested’
  • One has a higher ROI than the other

PHP and ColdFusion are respectable development platforms. UK and Duke are both great basketball programs. Sometimes PHP wins, sometimes ColdFusion wins—sometimes UK wins, sometimes Duke wins.


About andyhillky
I'm cool.

4 Responses to School Spirit

  1. I dont think you understand – UK “always” wins.

  2. bohchox says:

    sometimes sooper html wins

  3. Ryan Guill says:

    Interesting analogy. First, are you talking of miva from miva merchant fame? man, if you are, I am quite offended that you would even use the two in the same post, much less compare them.

    The problem with your analogy is that my coldfusion hasn’t been “instilled” in my by my parents or peers, I have used php and a few other web languages (and it is only fair to compare web languages) and have chosen coldfusion because it is one of the most powerful languages out there, it is an enterprise product which is where I tend to focus my efforts, and like you mentioned, it has a great return on investment and its rapid development at its best.

    I can defiantely see where that analogy would ring true in many cases though. I have these sorts of discussions/debates often, but usually they are with people who have never seen “the other side”, they are just arguing for what they like because they dont want to change. So our discussions are much better there.

    Don’t get me wrong though. My mantra is “use the best tool for the job”, and if that means php, thats what Im going to use. It just happens to be coldfusion thats the best tool 99% of the time 😉

    And yeah, UK does always win.

  4. Like Craig said…UK *always* Wins

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