Phase N and Open Source

At Phase N, we are big fans of Open Source software.  It dominates every aspect of our work, from the platforms we build on to the languages and libraries we use.


Building on Excellence

Open Source is the ideal development methodology for common infrastructure like web servers and databases, resulting in standardised, inexpensive and high-performance platforms to build your solution on.

We believe there is no reason clients should have to pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for proprietary software from single-source vendors when there are better, more stable and often free alternatives.

And because these Open Source products aren't owned by any one vendor, they release you from vendor control or "vendor lock-in".  As you grow, you can legally make as many copies as you like.  If you don't like the service you are getting from your vendor, you can go and get the same product from the competition!

Global giants like IBM, Yahoo and Google and local business leaders like Qantas and Optus have flocked to Open Source solutions for these reasons, saving tens of millions in the process.  Today a significant percentage of the work on Open Source projects is contributed by these sorts of companies.

Perl and Open Source software is now so common that it issued your last concert ticket and tracked your last airline boarding pass.  It's running the oil refinery that makes your petrol, and it's creating most of the Hollywood special effects, such as those in Titanic and Lord of the Rings.  You encounter Open Source software every day and you probably haven't noticed.

This strategy of systematically reducing costs using Open Source products leaves you free to concentrate your budget on the specific problems that are unique to your business.  And it dramatically reduces the overall cost of your solution.

In fact, the only cases in which recommend commercial platforms are when we need a level of scalability, performance or flexibility beyond any existing Open Source solutions.  For example, we recommend the use of the Oracle database for projects with extremely large, complex and heavily-used databases.


CPAN: The $1 Billion Efficiency Secret

At Phase N, we have a strong policy of contribution to Open Source wherever appropriate.

The most significant example of this is our contributions to the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN).

The CPAN is a library of over ten thousand high quality software packages contributed by over 5,000 senior Perl developers at hundreds of companies and universities all around the world.

Many of these developers are world experts on their subject matter.  For over 10 years these developers have been working together to categorize and file away tested, reusable and free solutions for a myriad of programming problems.

Now at 15-16 million lines of code, and with an estimated cost of over AU$1,000,000,000 (1 Billion Australian Dollars), the CPAN represents a huge volume of work and a collection of expert knowledge of a scale that is unique in the IT world.  (If printed as a book, it would be over 3.5 kilometres high)

All the code contained in the CPAN is free for commercial use in your application.

Perl developers use these packages like a vast library of Lego blocks, to reduce costs and speed up development for their project.  The resulting efficiency of this method has become somewhat legendary in the IT community.

One story commonly heard from large corporates is where a team of professional Java or Microsoft developers have worked on a project for months, and one Perl programmer has plugged a dozen CPAN packages together and created an identical solution in a few days, or a few hours in some cases.


Contributing to Excellence

As the country's leading Perl development specialist, it is only appropriate that Phase N has been the origin of more CPAN packages than any other company in Australia.

As they enter the CPAN these packages are poked, prodded and stress tested by a number of automated testing systems and the worldwide community of Perl software developers.  Bug fixes and feedback from this testing procedure are fed back in to the package, helping to mature them and ultimately improve the quality of your solution at no cost.

A big part of what makes CPAN so special is the sheer variety of libraries we are able to draw from for your project.  Beyond the basics provided by most other languages, we are able to draw on capabilities from areas as diverse as cryptography, bioinformatics, geomatics (GPS data), natural language processing and more.

In fact, if you need to your application to talk to any external or legacy system, any spreadsheet or website, the odds are that there is already a package for it that can be simply tied in your application.

This will minimize the cost of creating new software that interacts with your existing systems, and lets us further focus development expenditure where you can get the most value.

More information on CPAN []


Phase N on CPAN
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