It’s hard to like the PHP ‘Elite’ *UPDATE from Terry

January 8, 2009

The latest spat between the rails elite and php elite is over a recent blog post by DHH, Mr. Moore gets to punt on sharding.

His argument can be summed up in a quote found in the comments:

“We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil”

– Donald Knuth

Basically, don’t jump into complex sharding/horizontal scaling techniques if you really don’t have to (yet).

Of course, Terry Chay has to take this opportunity to insert the fact that he works at a big company with tens of millions of daily page views and that vertical scaling is idiotic, blah blah blah.  (looks like he took down his blog post or I would link to it).

For every speaking engagement in which I’ve saved someone from a huge architectural misconception, DHH is probably creating 10 more future programmers who will make the mistake.

Damn, as a PHP developer I really want to like the PHP ‘Elite’ but this guy just doesn’t get it.  He works at his big desk at a big company and speaks at big PHP conventions and doesn’t have a clue what it takes to bootstrap a business from the ground up.

*UPDATE* – It appears Terry’s post got published before he could finish his thoughts.  He’s responded with the rest of it in the comments.  It’s a lot more well thought-out than what got published – so give it a read!

DHH’s point was that when your development team can fit in a VW Beetle you are going to cause a lot more trouble pre-optimizing with complex setups than simply relying on vertical scaling for as long as you can.

Forget who he is or what programming language he uses, that’s just damn good advice for anyone trying to bootstrap a startup.