I've been researching and coding for a couple months now with the decision that
I'd rewrite the family website/portal using
I still like the idea, but a couple things recently have made me rethink it.
For starters, the perl DBI is a bit of a pain to program. At work, I've become very accustomed to using PEAR's DB library, and while it's in many ways derived from perl's DBI, it's much simpler to use.
Then there's the whole
HTML::Template debacle. There's several ways in which
to write the templates, but they don't all work in all situations, and, it seems
they're a bit limited. We've started using PHP's Smarty at work, and it's much
more intuitive, a wee bit more consistent, and almost infinitely more
extendable. I could go the
Template::Toolkit route for perl, but that's almost
like learning another whole language.
Then, there's the way objects work in perl versus PHP. I've discovered that PHP objects are very easy and very extendable. I wouldn't have found them half as easy, however, if I hadn't already been doing object oriented programming in perl. One major difference, however, is how easy it is to create new attributes on the fly, and the syntax is much easier and cleaner.
Add to that the fact that if you want to dynamically require modules in perl,
you have to go through some significant, often unsurmountable, hoops. So you
can't easily have dynamic objects of dynamically defined classes. In PHP,
though, you can
include_once at any time without even
The final straw, however, was when I did my first OO application in PHP this
past week. I hammered it out in a matter of an hour or so. Then I rewrote it to
incorporate Smarty in around an hour. And it all worked easily. Then I wrote a
form-handling libary in just over two hours that worked immediately — and made
it possible for me to write a several screen application in a matter of an hour,
complete with form, form validation, and database calls. Doing the same with
CGI::Application took me hours, if not days.
So, my idea is this: port
CGI::Application to PHP. I love the concept of
CGI::App — it's exactly how I want to program, and I think it's solid.
However, by porting it to PHP, I automatically have session and cookie support,
and database support is only a few lines of code away when I use PEAR; I'll add
Smarty as the template toolkit of choice, but make it easy to override the
template methods to utilize . I get a nice MVC-style application template, but
one that makes developing quickie applications truly a snap.
This falls under the "right-tool-for-the-job" category; perl, while a wonderful language, and with a large tradition as a CGI language, was not developed for the web as PHP was. PHP just makes more sense in this instance. And I won't be abandoning perl by any stretch; I still use it daily at work and at home for solving any number of tasks from automated backups to checking server availability to keeping my ethernet connection alive. But I have real strengths as a PHP developer, and it would be a shame not to use those strengths with our home website.