Web development: which platform should you use?

There are many ways to develop a website. But it is always about generating a HTML page linked to CSS style sheet and a Javascript file. All the different methods have their pros and cons, and each developer will find a solution that suits him the best. Here is a short summary.

Server languages

In order to understand how web platforms work, it is necessary to understand the programming languages used on the server, such as PHP, ASP and JSP. They all allow creating dynamic web applications by adding variables in an HTML page. ASP has a Microsoft license and is included in almost all the Windows versions. It is therefore widely used to develop complex applications. Its main competitor is PHP, which is free and shows great performance. It is also easy to use thanks to many tutorials online, to understand the inner workings of this language. The last one is JSP, developed by SUN Microsystem. It allows to insert a Java code in HTML pages to make dynamic applications. It is also free, efficient, but pretty complex.

Development platforms

The goal of a development platform is to make the developers’ lives easier, providing a library of functions you can execute through variables within HTML pages.  ASP .NET is the main web platform and works with all the programming languages developed by Microsoft. Because they’re free, development platforms in PHP are numerous. Codeignitor, Symfony or Cake PHP are the most popular ones. PHP platforms are a great solution in order to develop comprehensive and efficient applications, because they are flexible and easy to use. With JSP, you can use platforms such as Java SE or AppFuse. Development platforms, whatever the server language, have many advantages and make developers’ lives easier.

However, the development time needed for the rollout of the application is directly linked to the number of functions to program. Platforms are only a toolbox to help. Solutions are therefore developed exactly according to the clients’ needs.

Content Management Systems

Content management systems (CMS) are more advanced solutions than development platforms. A lot of functions are already programmed and available through a web interface. Here, managing web applications is easy to do, even without any programming knowledge. For developers, a programming interface (API) is available. It gives access to the system function on the site. With .NET, DotNetNuke is widely used. As for PHP, it is obviously WordPress which is the weapon of choice. Its large community of developers is its biggest advantage, as it is easy to find pertinent answers quickly. Finally, for JSP, there aren’t many free CMS, but Magnolia is one of them.

In the end, there are many solutions. And it is certain there’ll be one suiting your needs. But the common factor is time. And this is what will influence your decision the most!

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