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Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - October 2004

*** Products ***********************************************************

* PHP 5 Released

This summer has seen the release of version 5 of this open-source server-side scripting language. According to a Netcraft survey, about 16 million Web domains are working with PHP and the now famous LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) configuration.

Among the new features of PHP 5.0:

  • support of object oriented development
  • enhanced XML processing
  • SOAP support
  • new MySQL extension
  • bundling of the SQLite database

PHP has the right configuration to become a major force in Web application development. It is open source and therefore basically free. The language is relatively easy to learn. It has a large following which creates a major pool of resources for development. Its evolution is principally supported and managed by Zend, a small but active company which sells a PHP IDE and optimising products for PHP. This company has a very good relationship with Sun. Sun is working with Zend to integrate scripting technologies in Java and is selling the PHP optimising engine with some of its server.

More info on


* New Version of Java Platform

At the end of September Sun announced the release of Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 5.0 (code name "Tiger"). This new release brings improvement in term of ease of development, enhanced XML support, look and feel, monitoring, performance and scalability. Next version (code name "Mustang") should be available in spring 2006, working on the same areas of improvement than release 5.0.

This release is an important step in the competition that Sun is fighting with Microsoft and its .NET platform. Ease of use and consistent look are among the strong points that favour Microsoft, supplier of a complete solution in the Windows world. Sun knows that it has to work in this direction if he wants to keep its current advantage in Internet-based software development projects.

More info on


* More Product News

You can look at the last press releases from software development tools vendors on our [Forum].

*** Numbers ************************************************************

* I Love this Job?

In the software development industry, most developers work long and unsociable hours. Do you feel the reason for this is:

  1. Enjoyment                                                19.0%
  2. Self fulfilment                                          17.6%
  3. Career progression                                       17.4%
  4. If you didn't you'd loose your job in the next cutbacks  14.8%
  5. It's expected because all the other developers do        13.3%
  6. Professional integrity                                   13.3%
  7. Because your boss hates you                               4.6%

Total votes: 1105


It would be interesting to see what is the "meaning of life" of these respondents...


* Web Server Survey

Surveying more than 55 million web sites, the October 2004 edition of Netcraft's survey has determined the following market share in web servers:

  1. Apache      67.92%
  2. Microsoft   21.09%
  3. Sun          3.04%
  4. Others       7.95%

These market shares have been stable since November 2003, when two large hosting companies switched from Microsoft to Apache. The survey has also confirmed the steady growth of roughly 1 million sites a month.


These numbers shows that when a valuable alternative exists, it is not mandatory that Microsoft has a dominant market position.


* Web-based development

The current M&T poll is investigating the percentage of new applications that are developed using a Web technology (using a browser as an interface) at your location.

Go to to disclose the situation at your location and to see intermediate results. The final results will be published in the next issue.

*** In Other's Words ***************************************************

* Successful Outsourcing

Outsource only when it makes good business sense. Cheaper isn't necessarily better. You might well sacrifice customer service or quality when others who are unfamiliar with your business take charge of your application. [...]

Never outsource a core competency. Core competencies represent your collective ability to build, at lower cost and more quickly than the competition, products that let you take market leadership. [...]

Establish win-win conditions with your suppliers. When outsourcing, spell out "win" conditions for both your company and your suppliers. Putting them down on paper formalizes them. Define realistic expectations for both parties clearly. Agree on what you and your supplier hope to gain from impending relationship, both near- and long-term. [...]

Nurture your relationships with your suppliers. [...] Commit the resources you'll need to build and actively manage your relationship. [...]

Measure performance as quantitatively as possible. Define the metrics you'll need to determine whether suppliers are realizing their performance goals. Use these measurements to supplement the trust you've built with your suppliers. Aim them at providing the team with early indications of problems. [...]

Make exceptional performance financially worthwhile. Use financial incentives to motivate your suppliers to meet or exceed their performance goals. Money creates incentives that senior managers understand. Tie performance to profitability by setting penalties for poor performance. [...]

Treat outsourcing as a technology transfer opportunity. Look to learn all you can from your suppliers. [...] Under these circumstances, structure such relationships so that your suppliers mentor and teach your people how to work efficiently, cut costs, or handle tasks that you've hired others to perform.

Source: Donald J. Reifer, "Seven Hot Outsourcing Practices", IEEE Software, January/February 2004

In our industry we often work with (or as) contractors. I could vary from complete outsourcing to the simple addition of a contract worker in an internal project.

The relationships between the suppliers and the buyers are not always full of serenity. Suppliers often lie on their real skills (selling a developer as a Java expert after only two weeks of training) and their capacity to achieved the promised results.

Buyers think that because they pay, they can ask for everything. Colleagues envy contractors because of their hourly rate. It is often also easy to accuse external contractors for all project failures.

The recommendations from Donald Reifer are simple but effective: respect each other and look for the win-win situations. If some openness and trust can be inserted in the relationship, the results can be improved for both sides.

*** Conferences ********************************************************

* The XP Day Benelux, Mechelen, Belgium, 19 November 2004.

A one day conference about all aspects of agile software development methods like Extreme Programming, DSDM, Scrum, Feature-driven development, and Crystal. XP Day Benelux will provide a good opportunity for exchanging ideas and sharing experiences, and is suited for both experienced participants and beginners in Agile Software Development. The focus of this conference is on practical knowledge, real-world experience and active participation of all attendees.

Find out more at


* XP Day UK, November 25-26, London, UK

An international conference for project managers, developers, and testers, XPDay is the UK's longest running Agile development conference. It caters for all roles in an organisation; beginner and expert alike. We offer a wide variety of interactive and tutorial sessions covering every aspect of software development. We believe in learning through experience.
Why not join us on November 25-26?

Find out more at


* JAVAPOLIS 2004 - 13-17 December, Antwerp, Belgium

Join us from December 13-17 at JavaPolis 2004 in Antwerp / Belgium for the biggest Java gathering of Europe. JavaPolis welcomes only the best! The best international speakers (J2ME, J2SE, J2EE, Open Source, Security, Methodology, Messaging), the most inspiring cases and of course the market leaders in Java & J2EE. Last year more than 950 people attended JavaPolis. Don't stay behind and join us for the biggest Java conference of Europe.

Program preview, Info & Registration:

*** M&T News ***********************************************************

* Coming UP

In our Winter 2004 issue published in December, we will focus more on the agile approaches of software development with articles on:

  • Agile Multidisciplinary Teamwork
  • Feature Driven Development
  • Refactoring existing code into Design Patterns
  • Scrum

In our Spring 2005 issue, you should find articles about Open Source Software, the Agile Unified Process and Finite State Machine Modelling

Stay tuned!


The content of this publication cannot be reproduced without prior written consent of the publisher
Copyright (C) 2004, Martinig & Associates

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