I have decided to convert Cyberista to PHP. I'm sure all the stupid bots will love it since it was only September 2004 when I added this forum and hacked it to double as the content manager. The result was that all of our URLs changed. With a conversion to PHP, they will change again but not as drastically. With the forum modification, outdated links simply went to the latest article. This conversion will send outdated links to an error page. I'm sure I can get around that because “php” will be the only difference as far as the address is concerned.

Internally, however, there will be drastic differences.

Microsoft programming languages are not to be trusted over the long term. They frequently abandon older versions of their products/languages or upgrade in ways that are incompatible with older versions. ASP3 or “classic” is the language that currently runs Cyberista. There's nothing wrong with it but Microsoft decided on “ASP.Net” as their flagship web development language. It's significantly different from the classic version. Different enough to warrant another name but Microsoft marketing would never allow that.

One would expect that people would stand their ground on the code they spent countless hours developing but, apparently, the Microsoft marketing department is stronger than rational thought. The support (meaning reference sites) with independent sites is rapidly becoming endangered. The big sites like 4guysfromRolla make their money from Microsoft so they push Microsoft's latest stuff. Smaller sites don't stick around. Like Orwell's Animal Farm, nobody is going to remember ASP3 in a short amount of time. Maybe less than a year. Maybe it's already happened.

Converting to PHP will put Cyberista into a better long-term position. PHP is a stable language. PHP has thousands of developers worldwide keeping it maintained. PHP is not subject to change for the sake of shareholders. PHP only changes when there is an actual improvement. PHP is free. PHP is cross-platform and will allow me to leverage my position against my hosting company or outright leave for a better price on a Linux server.

There are no real options in the market when you _require_ a Windows server. Sellers (hosting companies) know this which accounts for a nearly complete absence of competitive pricing on Windows server packages.

Beyond the philosophical reasons, Cyberista is simply due for a rewrite. A lot of the code is inefficient and could greatly benefit from a few programming sessions. If I'm going to take the time to rewrite the code, I might as well use the opportunity to convert to an open source option.

This conversion involves only the pages themselves. The database will continue to be MS SQL until the forum situation is resolved. The forum is the only obstacle to using MySQL, an open source database. The “forum situation” is that I want to keep the current forum code using MySQL as the database. I'm discussing the matter with the forum developer and hopefully he has a solution. Ultimately, I think we'll end up with a different forum because of the mission to leave ASP.

Laws are for people with no friends.

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