Large Ecommerce sites using php?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by mackstar, May 19, 2008.

  1. mackstar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #1
    Hi,

    I have been a php developer for some years and have tinkered with Java some.

    However my boss is saying that he wants to change our whole setup to Java, this I am imagining will take a lot of time/effort. I am trying to persuade him to carry on using PHP. Does anyone know if any of the MAJOR online stores are using PHP? If I show him this he will be happy with my PHP suggestion. If not we will have the nasty process of starting afresh in JAVA which I am not enthusiastic about as I don't think we can get the job done as quick as he wants.

    Some examples or advice please?!
     
  2. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #2
    I'll offer advice for ya. Great article I think you should read on this subject:

    http://www.ukuug.org/events/linux2002/papers/html/php/

    (Happens to be a British perspective, but these days web sites are international in nature so a worthwhile read)

    I cannot speak for the technical acumen of your boss, but there is a basic business principle that says adopt the technology that's proper for the scale and scope of the business. Meaning, just because a fortune 100 or 500 company uses a given technology does not mean their IT solution is best for your business. But it's very good you are asking, even if we here at MacRumors don't know your budget, manpower, experience levels, scalability concerns, limitations with the use of open source solutions, etc. on a contractual level.

    The major problems with open source PHP on large scale projects include at minumum these, some noted in the above article:

    • Business logic separated from design (Presentation layer)
    • Deployment (multiple configuration files for PHP, version control, strict mode)
    • Security concerns (SQL injection)
    • Development team experience and integration
    So a general answer is most open source solutions are intended for small to medium sized businesses (in my opinion), are fairly scalable, but limited compared to the big boys where, for example, the database architecture on the back end might demand high end connection pooling using Oracle 11, a complex API, transaction controls and things that require compiling source and importing C libraries, etc. Of course PHP is compatible with advanced database formats, can be compiled both JIT and in a distributed manner - but it is pushing the technology to its limits, where Java libraries are much more capable with alot less overhead (again, in my opinion).

    So if you are indeed small to medium sized, open source is a cost effective solution worth pursuing in most cases with a standardized LAMP setup (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) for example. LAMP has the same limitations I mentioned earlier, but you will be pleased to know native PHP5 is very powerful these days with its newer built in libraries, security conscious controls, advanced database and API support and an object oriented class system that is more in synch with what C and Java developers are accustomed. You can easily install it on Windows, *nix including Solaris, and it has many extensions for all the popular database formats.

    The most common open source E-Commerce solution in PHP is OS Commerce, and others who are reading this will offer solutions as well. I mention this one because of its popularity, easily LAMP friendly and a decent support infrastructure. By no means the most feature rich, but a great foundation for customizing the project for your needs.

    There are 3rd party utilities like SQL Relay that work with with Oracle connection pooling so by no means are you married to MySQL. Ioncube is in my opinion the best encoder in the business and allows distribution of compiled source. I suggest these to let you know PHP is alot more advanced these days than some people realize, but of course not all these extensions are free, i.e. LAMP.

    Those are my thoughts, I'll let you absorb all this and the replies of others so you can think it through and formulate the solution best for you.

    -jim
     
  3. macdaddy121 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Georgia
    #3
    I might be completely wrong but I think I remember hearing someone say that Yahoo! and Oracle are using PHP...

    To be honest, I don't even understand what PHP is but I could swear I had heard someone talking about that.
     
  4. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    Location:
    in the Dawg house
    #4
    I would very much like your opinion of ZenCart.
     
  5. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #5
    (Followup)

    Sorry, I am unfamiliar with ZenCart.

    This user is looking for an actual example of a large entity using PHP, so I did find this:

    Most companies don't want to reveal their server side technologies for security concerns, but the above is documented.

    Also, about the future of PHP and enterprise level solutions (i.e. the big boys):

    PHP5 is the latest, and nobody can know for sure when 6 will be out, i.e. "when it's ready" so don't ask, heh!

    Sources: http://www.pendhari.com/technically-useful-links.htm

    -jim
     
  6. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #7
  7. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

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    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    in the Dawg house
    #8
    thanks, that's the best comparison i've seen so far, and also confirms that i made the right choice with zencart.

    i'm def going to look into this more. do you use it?
     
  8. mackstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    #9
    Thanks for the input, please keep it coming, I am not really looking for a commerce platform as we already have our own php set up which we have hand coded and I have just spent time making it work nice and smoothly using OO. Which is why I am miffed at the choice of having to start all over again because of the sole reason that it is going to grow.

    I am of the belief that if you play the setup right then PHP should be scalable enough, but I just haven't seen enough examples of large php/mysql based shopping sites. But I am open to be told I am wrong, in which case I would rather switch to Java now.

    But I would hate for the Java programming to be sloppy because we are not yet experienced enough with it. If it is programmed badly I don't think it matters what technology you are using.

    I did read the following article and found it interesting

    http://www.oreillynet.com/onlamp/blog/2006/04/digg_phps_scalability_and_perf.html

    Thanks again for your comments
     
  9. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Great topic with loads of information. We use CRE Loaded and actually we have one client using ZEN Cart that's about topped out. They produce over 100 orders a day and we are looking for an enterprise solution to move them too shortly. Mostly to better match their business processes, introduce more automation, and the database schema isn't the quickest under load and stress. This is probably a rare case though. These open source carts a great starting place and you can really grow your business from them. With that said, does anyone know of any robust enterprise solutions?
     
  10. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    #11
    Enterprise PHP.

    This was written in 2004, with php 5 it is even more relevant.

    Flickr use php, facebook use php.

    Estimates say Facebook makes up 1% of web traffic, so the idea php doesn't scale sounds like a lot of old rubbish to me.

    What reason does your boss have to moving to Java? I mean if your current setup works then it just sounds like a really good way to waste a whole lot of money by changing the language without getting any real benefit. Especially as (the vast, vast majority) of customers will neither notice and those who do notice will probably not care provided it works.

    No one ever thinks “I've can't buy that on this website because it's not a php website”. Or “I only buy from sites which use Java on the back end”.

    A good place to look is IBMs website, as they have lots of good tutorials and articles with a bias toward using php in a business environment, for example this one on unit testing.

    SrWebDeveloper — Isn't separating business logic from design a design decision, it has very little to do with what language you use. That was written in 2002, since then we have loads of php MVC frameworks, many of which are good.w
     
  11. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
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    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #12
    Thanks for all the cool comments here, interesting subject, eh?

    I agree with alot of the modern sentiment since PHP5 was introduced, that it is more scalable than in the past, can handle high load sites, business logic separated from presentation layer, MVC, etc. These days even the phrase Enterprise Level takes on new meaning compared to as recently as 2002 following the dot com boom.

    With that said, PHP is likely the third choice based on most implementations of so called Enterprise Level web solutions. I want to mention again, emphasize in fact, that things like Unicode support mentioned in a previous reply here really do separate the industry leaders from the followers. For example, PHP5 supports UTF-8 natively but one needs to know MySQL table structures need to be changed from its default setting for full compliance. But there are other Unicode fonts out there, as you multilingual developers know. UTF-8 is but one of them, others being UTF-16 and UTF-32, each requiring new PHP functions for unlimited multi-byte support based on locale which should be in PHP6. So that's what I meant when I said Enterprise Level support for Unicode, it's more than just UTF-8.

    I consider PHP5 to be the first choice for medium to small sized business applications and have been for a few years now surpassing ASP and Perl, and it is right on the cusp of attaining prominence in terms of the sheer number of implementations like Java and the .Net frameworks.

    PHP6 might change all that, we'll see.

    -jim
     
  12. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #13
    Redwarrior..

    I have not deployed it yet, however one of the forums I belong to a couple of the guys use it and love it. I haven't had the need for it, yet.

    This same topic came up and this along with zencart and http://www.opencart.com/ .

    Once someone brought in the one I mentioned they all pretty much migrated to it.
     
  13. redwarrior macrumors 603

    redwarrior

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    in the Dawg house
    #14
    thank you very much
    i downloaded it, but was taking my time looking at it
    i'll do that tonight
     

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