Historical Note

Historical Note

How it all started

How Plat_Forms came to exist

In October 2005, Gaylord Aulke, (then CEO of 100days, a software development service company), sent me email roughly as follows: "I have read your study comparing compiled languages to scripting languages. I would like to use such results as a reference regarding the productivity and feasibility of PHP as a web development platform. Could we talk about this?"

In December 2005, another email from Aulke asked whether a second edition of such a study could compare web development platforms for productivity, stability, and maintainability of their applications.

In April 2006, I finally reacted, explaining that it was possible in principle, but very hard to do: "One would need to find a task that is small enough to be feasible, but complex enough to be relevant. And then a sufficient number of participants. Perhaps it could be done in the context of a suitable conference."

In May 2006, Aulke arranged a telephone conference call with the two of us plus Jürgen Langner from Zend Technologies. In that discussion, I explained the various difficulties involved and why they were so hard to overcome. All fairly frustrating thoughts. But the other two were not to be intimidated. They said they would look for an opportunity where all of the 9 major hurdles I had detailed could be jumped.

In June/July 2006, there was some discussion (leading nowhere) about a possible contest task and a mention of Langner of a contact to Heise Verlag, the publisher of two of Germany's leading computer and software magazines (c't and 'iX).

In August 2006, Langner talked to the Heise Verlag about the idea and then put me in contact with Eduard Heilmayr (of Heise) and Richard Seibt (formerly with IBM, then United Internet, then Suse, then Novell, founder of LBCN, now OSBF). The first meeting with Seibt was so motivating that I sat down for two days and developed a detailed synopsis for the contest. Seibt appeared to have the necessary contacts to obtain sufficient support (both money and participants).

In September 2006, in a meeting of four (Seibt, Heilmayr, myself, and Jürgen Seeger, editor-in-chief of Heise's 'iX magazine) we kicked off the project. Responsibilities were handed out and preliminary commitments were made: Heilmayr as the chief organizer, Seibt for contacts and sponsoring, Seeger for publicity, and myself for all scientific aspects and the contest task.

In October 2006, the first sponsors were found and 'iX announced the contest publicly. The first Plat_Forms contest took place in January 2007...