Technologies of Choice

We believe in requirements driving technologies - not the other way around. So, we listen to your needs, and architect a solution that satisfies YOUR requirements, not an arbitrary list of buzz-words.

For smaller projects, we believe strongly in the value of open-source technologies. First and foremost, they deliver unequalled value for our customers. With no licensing fees of any kind, they save tremendous amounts of money while still offering a productive platform for building useful web sites.

We have had our best successes in this arena using the LAMP toolset. LAMP is an acronym for the following technologies:

  • Linux - a license-free implementation of the UNIX operating system
  • Apache - the world's most popular web server, also license-free. It's blindingly fast, very stable, and highly secure (with the proper configuration).
  • MySQL - an extremely powerful and fast database. It is developed by a for-profit company, yet the software itself is free. Support from the company is available with payment of a nominal ($400) licensing fee. It doesn't have all of the functionality (yet) of commercial offerings such as Oracle, but for many applications it's more than sufficient. For more about the business case for MySQL, read this Fortune article. Read our take on MySQL here.
  • Perl - a wonderful scripting language orignally developed by Larry Wall

In some cases, the volume of traffic or the complexity of the application itself precludes a completely open-source solution. Many of the LAMP components described above has an excellent vendor-supported alternative that overcomes some the free product's limitations:

  • Solaris - Sun Microsystems sells a superb version of UNIX that runs wonderfully on Sun hardware. As a vendor-supported product, our clients have a trusted and reliable company to turn to in the event of problems. Since we've purchased the hardware and operating system from the same vendor, a single support call can resolve many issues. Nevertheless, many of our larger clients still choose to stick with Linux and realize significant cost savings.
  • Apache with Tomcat - for most projects, Apache is still the best alternative. For industrial strength Java development, we couple Apache with another open-source product, the Tomcat Java Application Server. Sun does make an excellent Web/Application Server (Sun ONE) that offers a number of advantages in certain situations - please see below for more information.
  • PostgreSQL migrating to Oracle - Postgres is another excellent license-free database. It has the significant advantage of being similar in design to the commercial Oracle database. This allows us to design a smooth migration path - initial launch can be on Postgres, with a plan to move to Oracle (which is much, much faster and more scalable) as soon as necessary. Oracle has one huge liability, in our opinion - the licensing costs are very significant.
  • Java - For large scale development of internet applications, in our opinion nothing beats Java. Originally developed by Sun, there are now many vendors supplying Java based development platforms, some of which are license-free.
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