Choosing a web programming language


Staff member
There comes a time where one will want to venture out and do some server side programing. Sounds fun to be able to build dynamic websites from scratch or at least addon to a pre-built script right.

Well you have many choices of languages to choose from. One question that always seems to come up is which one should I use is one better then the other?

Well let's start with a good list of web programming languages (or languages that can be used for programing for the web).

Ruby on Rails, PHP, ASP.NET, Java Server Pages, Python, Perl, and many more but which one to choose for your project(s)?

Well it depends on which one you like? The most popular of them is php and offers the must documentation/tutorials currently but that may change.

With this large amount of popularity and tutorials available the main problem is a large amount of these tutorials normally leave out a large aspect that every developer needs to have as their top priority. Filter input and escape output. Which goes for databases oracle, mysql, psql, mssql, etc. This problem of forgetting to or improperly filtering input and escaping output has occured at all levels of development and all programing languages. So if your just starting out and you find a tutorial that takes user input or displays data to the browser or other media without escaping/filtering you may want to contact the author and ask them about it. As we are human and at times forget the bare essentials.

If you like full object orientation based programming, MVC, out of the box with straight forward tutorials you can take a look at Ruby on Rails, which you can also use to create desktop, server side apps that are not used for serving web pages using the Ruby programming language.

One langauge known for being very strong for clustering is Java Server Pages(JSP) or some Java Powered technology which can be seen on many large international enterprise websites like Bank of America, IBM, EA, DigitalRiver, etc.

Many popular webhost use Perl for their websites, client panel and other backend operations. Some software/sites/webhosts built with perl include: Dreamhost, MediaTemple, WHM/Cpanel and more. Some people wonder what's so good about perl and the answer is it's a very mature langauge that can do a large amount of tasks from system administration, networking and more.

Mmm some of those tasks sound familiar were have I heard of them being associated with before? Well that language was more then likely Python. Who used python, you may ask, well Google uses it for many of their applications including which offers a nice way to enhance the power of your website. Python is also a very straight forward language to learn which has one thing many programmers may not be used to and that is your indentation matters.

What's the best way to learn these languages? You can start out by picking up a book or pdf and start from the begining to the end. I would suggest picking up a good O'Reilly book to get you started as they are normally very detailed in the language.

But which one is better for web programming, the language you choose should be one your comfortable with making sure you optimize it for speed (object oriented programming is a good place to start). To help you better maintain your site you will want to setup your site in a Model - View - Controller setup or MVC so you don't end up with your display and business logic all over the place wondering what's what when your coding new features in your website.

All of these languages offer object oriented programming, and are very fast and powerful. But at times you will have to go hardcore and get your hands dirty with C, C++, etc. for you middleware and/or backend to speed things up.