Language diversity

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, September 21. 2010 in ASF

If you look at the projects within the ASF, you'll notice right off the bat that the vast majority are Java. We do have a handful of other projects based on other languages but, for better or worse, most of 'em are Java. But if you look at the code that *powers* the ASF you'll notice a big difference. For one thing, for the most part, we do not run anything that requires a JVM (well, we prefer not to). Also, we prefer all of our sites be as static as possible, which makes mirroring them easier. But the biggest surprise might be just how much we use scripting languages for all the tasks/applications/tools that we need. We use a suite of Perl, Python and Ruby, with Perl being the clear frontrunner (mostly since JoeS is such a Perl monger). What I think is so useful about all this is that it gives a true, clear perspective on how real infrastructure is architectured (my word). People tend to focus, unjustly, on the applications themselves, and give little thought or credence on the infra required to truly support and implement all that. And this skewed perspective can easily result in bad, dangerous mistakes when making the transition from one architectural design to another, because it ignores a big, big part of the puzzle. As people look at, investigate and migrate into the cloud, this will become even more of an issue. And a concern.

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