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Web programming and Hosting

Written by Alcides Fonseca at 2008/01/10

A little background here: I have worked for a long (maybe too long) time with PHP and for a year now I am doing all my web development with Python with Pungi, my microwebframework. Since my early days at Terràvista I’ve always used shared hosting. It fitted my needs for PHP and MySQL support.

I am still on shared hosting (ideias3 is hosted at dreamhost) and I keep planing to use since it’s way cheaper. I am enjoying Dreamhost, I have all the stuff I want there, (virtually) unlimited storage that I don’t imagine using even 50% of it. It also comes with some goodies such as Jabber and SVN support. Of course I would like a dedicated server, where I could run my own stuff (jabber bots, experimental stuff) and even a git server (yeah, I am planing to move some of my code to git). But I don’t want to afford that, and for running PHP apps, dreamhost is doing fine. I have a bunch of e107s and Wordpresses there. None of them are vital information. If you are looking for a stable hosting forget dreamhost. Has too many downtimes in their machines and runs a bit slow sometimes.

When I built Pungi, I made it in order to work through CGI since it would run (almost) everywhere. Those are my needs! I later implemented a Fast-cgi MVC way of running it (inspired a bit by, Django and Nuno’s dispatcher) but I went through hell to get it working. Buzzwords is the only project that runs it. I’m back with CGI, I know it’s slow but I don’t feel it. Since I only use it for simple applications (that’s the target of pungi) it runs fine without any trouble.

I’ve set up Django in my Leopard and it was pretty easy and I know it’s possible to run django applications on Dreamhost but they don’t offially support it. Even is too troublesome to install. So I’m sticking to old CGI with pungi for my websites. I know it’s sad, but it’s what runs smoothly in my shared hosting.

We also have a bunch of Rails applications running in Dreamhost, Sérgio’s blog, TwitterNotes and some projects still in dev stage. Once in a while the application stops and we need to manually reset the fast-cgi process. I say “we”, but it’s all Sérgio’s work, since he is the Ruby on Rails guy here. Well, there is a post on DreamHost official blog in which the lack of shared hosting support in Rails is a real problem. I agree: Rails will never be the next PHP if they can’t support it. John Gruber explains that the power of Rails is in being easy to code and not to deploy(as in set up environment and all). You can’t have both.

There are a few PHP MVC frameworks (Symphony, CakePHP and CodeIgniter) that do more than the 20% features of Rails that 80% of programmers use and works almost everywhere. Alhouth I hate PHP for its nasty syntax and language nature and evolution, the modphp for apache is the key for a quietly FTP-upload-only deployment. That and hKit are making me wondering if I should get back to do some PHP5 stuff again.