How does the rate of adoption of new software products and/or version influences the software development for Web and client-server type products?
From the perspective of a web developer, we are restricted by the servers for which we develop and our client’s browsers. Compromise often go very far for the sake of meeting a more broader market.
Currently stable version of PHP is 5.3.0, but using this version in production would be a childish decision. The version has been out for a little while and the probability to find this version on the hosting servers is very slim.
Of course, a more appropriate version is 5.2.10. And yet, if version 5 was released almost 5 years now, why a popular framework like CakePHP yet uses the advantages brought by this version? Because until recently an important part of shared hosting servers that have support for PHP, still had version 4.
How is this translated in production? If you don’t develop internal products, or on your own servers, or servers which you can control, you should be aware that your product should be compatible with older PHP versions, and the new features of the language should not be used in production.
Ridiculous and sad but true.
PHP 5.3 brings quite a lot of new features, but until these features can be used in production few years will have to pass. And until they get in frameworks probably even more (ie namespaces are useful in frameworks).
Current stable version is 5.1.36. 5.x version, released in2005 brought many new features, some of them are: stored routines (functions and procedures), triggers, views, cursors, information schema, etc.
Stored routines is probably one of the biggest changes. They are probably most known from Oracle PL/SQL, although MySQL has implemented from the ANSI SQL 2003standard.
Because MySQL 5.0 was in beta for a long time, the rate of adoption is very low. Again, after almost 4 years since the version was released, and it is not yet sufficiently widespred.
Conclusion, simply put it is not recommended the use of the new features if you can not control the version on the server.
Browsers and JavaScrip
The browser problem affects both developers and designers.
Probably the oldest browser still used on a large enough scale is Internet Explorer 6. It was launched in 2001 and after 8 years it is still used by ~ 30% of users.
The reason for this problem in adoption of new versions of Internet Explorer is the operating system. The most popular operating system is Microsoft Windows XP and it has pre-installed Internet Explorer 6. Given that Windows Vista had a fairly low adoption rate because of the initial bugs, drivers issues, resource consumption, and other problems, meant that Windows XP was still very popular. Of course not everyone using Windows XP use IE 6, many have updated or simply use another browser. But still many of them are using the browser that is default.
Speaking of this, Windows 7 will be distributed in Europe without IE installed. I’m very curious how will this influence the browsers market.
Lately “smart phones” and PDA devices have become increasingly popular. A lot of people use them to navigate on the Internet. So after the issues related to browsers on PCs, now there is a hole new set of issues on mobile device browsers.
For instance, my phone came with two browsers: Internet Explorer and Opera. Internet Explorer Mobile is terrible, so I’m using Opera which does a good job.
The problem is that many PDA / smart phone devices with Windows Mobile OS only have Internet Explorer in standard, and the previous problem returns.
When it comes to the famous Apple iPhone, Safari browser is used (and I believe that you can’t install another browser, but I’m not sure if that is true any longer).
- device(eg PC, PDA, smart phone etc.)
- operating system (eg Windows, Linux, Mac, Symbian etc.)
- browsers and there versions (eg Internet Explorer 6,7,8; FireFox, Safari, Opera etc.) HTML 5 is almost here, but when it comes to browsers, I wonder when will we be able to use it on a large scale, given that the market is currently dominated by IE 6 and 7.
I give it about 5 years…