Web site developers seem to be getting open specifications: more and more, I’m seeing sites developed for specifications like (X)HTML, CSS2, DOM, etc., not sites developed for applications like MSIE or Firefox or Opera; I’m seeing Java-based web apps that work with any J2EE-enabled web server, instead of apps that work only with Tomcat or WebSphere or WebLogic; and so on.
After all this, then, I’m surprised to see how many open source web apps specifically require MySQL rather than just “a SQL database. ” MySQL is a fine database, of course, but here we have an open specification, SQL, that’s been around far longer than most of the web specs, and many open source developers are choosing to lock themselves into a single database anyway.
I wonder what gives. I don’t have a lot of experience with PHP, which is the platform for many simpler web apps (including WordPress, which drives this weblog, though it offers an alternative) — is there no generic SQL database interface for PHP, or do the developers just not care? Are there serious performance issues using generic database interfaces? Or are my observations not representative, and in fact most open source web app developers do avoid locking themselves in to MySQL?