E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.


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Bitbucket, Debian Linux, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, macOS, Markdown, Mercurial, Python, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, xmonad

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Django, Rails, and PHP

Sam Newman has posted a useful high-level comparison of Django and Rails on his site. In it, I think he hits on one little-discussed reason why these two projects are grabbing so much mindshare right now:

[Rails and Django] ... historically would have ended up being written in Perl or PHP - but ended up being written in Ruby and Python respectively.

When I heard DHH speak at OSCON, he mentioned switching to Ruby after giving up on trying to make PHP do the kind of stuff he wanted to do. Back in July I asked Simon Willison (of the Django team) about PHP; he said that both he and Adrian Holovaty had worked in PHP for years, but it was Python that "gave us the flexibility we needed to pull everything off."

In other words, Rails and Django are web frameworks for people who are sick of PHP. That's a big market.

Friday, August 19th, 2005
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0 comments pending approval
Comment from sam newman , 1 day later

Interestingly a large amount of people 'switching' to ruby and python because of rails and django are stillusing the new languages like hacky PHP apps. Movement to a new language/famework doesn't neccessarily result in an improvement in software quality - in fact the reverse can often be the case!

Comment from Paul , 1 week later

On the other hand, it's likely that if those people stick around, the Python and/or Ruby communities and the emphasis they put on craft will have a positive influence on the newcomers. Worked for me. Python was the first language I got serious with after several years of PHP work, and the influence of the community was at least as significant for me as my prior experience in C, Pascal, Prolog, Forth, and whatnot.

Comment from miguev , 7 months later

Haha, very big market. I'm looking for stop using PHP after several years of playing and developing with it.

I love Python, but Dreamhost is putting me on trubble with Django... so I am considering Rails (again). Maybe someday I'll have the time to switch my PyQT apps to Rails.

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