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Adam Trachtenberg is the Director of the LinkedIn Developer Network, where he oversees developer relations and marketing for the LinkedIn Platform. Before LinkedIn, Adam worked at eBay in platform product management and marketing. Even earlier, he co-founded Student.Com and TVGrid.com. Adam is the author of PHP Cookbook and Upgrading to PHP 5. He lives in San Francisco.

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Tim Bray on the 80/20 Rule

I’m listening to Tim Bray talk about technology winners and losers over the past decade or two. He’s framing it within the context of Web services (REST vs SOAP), but one of his key takeaways is that of all the major predictive factors, the 80/20 rule has the best correlation between existence and success.

Missing from his list is PHP/FI, which should clearly be filed under winners. People always made fun of the simplicity of PHP (no OO, no namespaces, no Unicode support, etc.) However, you can’t argue with the growth curve.

Tim also references Gall’s Law: “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.” So, even though PHP 5 now has fullblown OO support, and we’re working on Unicode, (but still avoiding namespaces), we still keep ourselves rooted in Rasmus’s early principles of simplicity.

If we had tried to jump directly to PHP 5 back in the mid 90s, we never would have made it. We would have had our asses kicked by Perl, Java, or both.

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  1. The irony is that the growth curve for PHP peaked right around the publish data of the above blog post and has dropped since.