PHP, ASP, JSP…. should I care?

  • user
  • General
  • November 21, 2011
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Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooooo.

The acronyms above are probably some of many that you hear when talking to developers. “ASP.NET sucks!”, “Java is expensive!”, “PHP is for babies!”, etc…

At the end of the day as far as the end-user (the person using your website) is concerned, this doesn’t make a difference. There is no feature you have seen on a website that is possible in one language but not in another. All websites that you use in a web browser are served in the markup language HTML, they are made to look pretty using a combination of HTML tags and CSS styles. Objects dance around the screen and change in front of your eyes using JavaScript. These technologies are standard across all web browsers.

Behind these technologies are the programming languages described above, very quickly:

ASP.NET – Developed and supported by Microsoft. Excellent tools available to assist developers. Software licenses can be costly. Actually this is more of a development framework than a language, the framework supports multiple languages within it but lets not complicate things too much.

Java – Developed by Sun Microsystems in the 90s and sold to Oracle in 2010. A very powerful language and used on many high traffic sites. Developers can be expensive.

PHP – An open source scripting language. Free to use and widely available on many web hosts.

ColdFusion – Developed by Macromedia which was then acquired by Adobe. A powerful yet easy to use tag-based scripting language. It was a big player in the early 2000s but is now falling out of favour due to, in my opinion, no compelling reason to use it over better known (ASP.NET) or cheaper (PHP) options.

Here at Bitcraft we mainly use PHP. It’s relatively easy for new programmers to pick up and the language conventions are similar to what they may already be used to, (C, JavaScript, Java). it also has a very good developer community supporting it.

We also have several sites that are in maintenance mode using Cold Fusion.

As a client, in need of a website, you don’t need to be too concerned about the actual language your development company is using to produce your product. The real test of a good product is in the quality of company and the people that produce it. In the future I’ll go into more detail of what constitutes a well built website, but for now just understand – if you don’t know the difference between the above languages, then the choice of which one to use probably doesn’t matter to you.