Ohloh: PHP and Ruby Comparison

Ohloh: PHP Eats Rails for Breakfast. A clearly link bait title, as it is in fact analysing by the "language", i.e. PHP vs. Ruby, instead of frameworks. However, the analysis is interesting. As well as Brad Feld's feedback on this article.

Some of my thoughts:

  • I won't say it represents the "big picture". Ohloh is only indexing open source projects from major source code forges, and 3,000 projects certainly sound small in comparison to the scope of open source world.

    Moreover, Ohloh indexing on the open source projects that they have access to, and proprietary software is yet another world. Majority of SaaS/ASP projects never release their source code, even though they are popping up all over the place because of this Web 2.0 boom. Many are developed using open source languages and frameworks.

    Stating "PHP Eats Rails for Breakfast" is far away from truth.

  • Ohloh PHP vs Ruby for new projects PHP is a language, but most, if not all open source projects are for the web. Rails is a framework, but there are many Ruby projects that (1) don't depend on Rails (2) aren't serving the web. And the world is more than just the web.

    I think it somehow affects the last graph which shows the number of new projects. I have seen quite a few useful Ruby apps that have nothing to do with Rails, runs from the command line, and are small because of expressiveness of Ruby.

  • Another interesting observation from that graph is, number of new projects in Ruby actually surpasses all the P's (Python, PHP and Perl) at around the same time between 2003 and 2004, if I am reading the graph correctly. But DHH did not even release the first public version of RoR until mid 2004, which arguably was the push that created the momentum behind Ruby today.

    Hmm. I am confused. So there are already more new projects done in Ruby before Rails was announced?

  • Looks like the real looser here is Perl. How come no one is talking about it?

The bottom line is, the data revealed in the comparison does not really prove what its title has suggested. What people put on SourceForge also does not tell us what the world is using, especially when a lot of software has moved to SaaS model.