The Big Server-side Programming Language Smackdown | January 31, 2005

Maybe you’re a die hard PHP programmer, or possibly a Python fanatic? Perhaps you’re a newly converted Ruby fan or you may even use all three. What server-side programming language do you think is the “best” and why?

Posted at January 31, 2005 2:24 PM

Comments

Matt Carey said on January 31, 2005 2:35 PM

well, ‘the best’ is difficult as it is sometimes a ‘tools for the job’ thing. but i favour python (usually with zope/plone) which lets me achieve everything i want :)

Dave Woodward said on January 31, 2005 3:05 PM

Well I used to be hard core PHP mostly because thats what was available to me on the third party server at my day job. But I’ve recently persuaded a switch to a server under my control, and now its Ruby (on Rails) all the way! Its the cleanest most powerful framework I’ve ever used, and Ruby is just an awesome language.
The “principle of least surprise” factor is what does it. Once you know a little bit about Ruby, you can kind of guess at what might work and it does. There is a lot of syntactic sugar in it, but it is also simple to write powerful logic with Ruby.
So my vote is for Ruby.

jordan said on January 31, 2005 3:19 PM

I use PHP… simply because I do. It’s the only server-side language I’ve ever learned, and it’s the only one available to me (unless I install something locally).

Mike Piontek said on January 31, 2005 3:24 PM

I won’t try to argue that it’s somehow better than other languages, but I’ve found PHP to be easy to learn and powerful, plus it’s free and many, many servers support it. That’s good enough for me.

I agree it’s hard to argue what’s truly the best without considering what you’re doing with it. For what I usually do (relatively small sites, inexpensive hosting is often a concern, etc.) I’d score PHP very highly.

caleb rutan said on January 31, 2005 3:27 PM

What? No perl?

I’m still a perl hacker, I’m afraid. I’ve been using a little bit of php of late, but mostly in conjunction with wordpress, and I’ve been investigating moving over to textpattern because I have lately become such a big textile fan.

But for all the web application development that I do, I use perl as the server side engine. Just what I’m used to I suppose.

Though I am tempted by ruby.

caleb

Jeffrey Hardy said on January 31, 2005 3:31 PM

Ruby on Rails . ‘Nuff said.

Jonathan Holst said on January 31, 2005 3:32 PM

I haven’t that much to compare with, but my language of choice is PHP. It features and easy-to-learn syntax, and I like that it builds on the best rocks from both Perl and C, but from the start was minded at webdevelopment.

Stuart Langridge said on January 31, 2005 3:36 PM

Python. Python Python Python. :-)

Stuart Langridge said on January 31, 2005 3:53 PM

Ah, I have to say why as well. The reason I like Python is that there’s so much you can do from it. There are (more than enough) web frameworks you can use with it, but I find that most of my server-side stuff is a lot more than just “construct some HTML from some data”. I need to grab the data from a URL, or parse a file, or construct an image, or add something to a cache, or parse some HTML. Doing all these kinds of things is easy in Python, and its modular design makes it good for large-style programming projects. If you’re just looking to grab a bit of data from a database and stick it in a table on-screen then PHP is fine, and there’s no problem with that. For real-world apps that do more than just that (and as web apps become more interconnected this will increasingly become the norm) you want something which has broader applicability, and Python’s your ideal candidate. More to the point, and I promise that this is the case, you will go in one week from not knowing any Python at all to being proficient enough to do most of the stuff that you want to do. I promise.

(oh, btw, since email address is required, it should say “required” next to it…)

StevenG said on January 31, 2005 3:57 PM

I may get a smack for mentioning Microsoft but C# .Net on the server-side is awesome for me. Shame it produces such horrid html output if you use the server controls.

Tom said on January 31, 2005 4:06 PM

PHP, I don’t understand Perl any of that stuff. Ruby on rail, I’m reading up on it now.

It looks quite fun although you don’t hear it mentioned very often, perhaps it will grow into something wonderful!

Daniel Von Fange said on January 31, 2005 4:32 PM

Lots of PHP. But I’m doing Rails now wherever I can.

Brandon Walsh said on January 31, 2005 4:51 PM

I use PHP all the time. It was easy to learn, and it’s very powerful. The best part is that, unlike the other languages, PHP can be embedded in HTML. This eliminates the hassle of cgi-bin and gives you the freedom to include small code snippets without having to use a function to output the rest of the HTML.

I tried to learn Python, but it was a little confusing (though I want to give it another try). Same for Perl. I haven’t looked into Ruby yet.

Jonathan M. Hollin said on January 31, 2005 5:05 PM

I’m writing in C and Perl professionally and experimenting with Rails in my time. Rails is so damn hot right now.

David Parrott said on January 31, 2005 5:06 PM

Currently using PHP but open minded about better solutions. Not all that many seem to have the same widespread support as PHP though.

Ruby (on Rails) has caught my attention recently, and I’m currently reading up on it. It seems to suffer from a lack of mainstream support as yet.

Jennifer Grucza said on January 31, 2005 5:48 PM

Java!

It’s a real programming language, with type-safety and namespaces and all the other good stuff that you need when you’re doing serious programming.

And the Java community is huge, with lots of free, open-source packages out there that you can reuse in your own code.

It’s just too bad most hosting providers don’t support it. But if you control your server, you’re fine.

Tobin Jones said on January 31, 2005 6:21 PM

Well, all my web work up until now has been developed with PHP. I think it’s a great language - I would take issue (politely, of course) with Stuart’s comment that

“If you’re just looking to grab a bit of data from a database and stick it in a table on-screen then PHP is fine…For real-world apps… you want something which has broader applicability”.

Although that’s a commonly heard refrain - I don’t think that it is based in fact. Remember, PHP can dynamically generate all sorts of content (HTML, CSS, images of all sorts, pdf’s, flash, etc..) and can do all sorts of tasks - I’ve even built a web-based FTP client as a quick fix to upload files through an annoying university firewall. Yeah, I like PHP.

But all that said, I currently have open on my desktop a whole bunch of Rails and Ruby documentation. For me, it’s the framework which I am most excited by. I personally think that the ease of Ruby is a tad overblown - I always found PHP to be pretty intuitive. That said, Ruby is an incredibly robust, powerful, and versatile language. Coupled with Rails it’s…. wow!

It’s just sad that Ruby (on Rails) is caught in a vicious cycle of “few hosts support it, so few people use it, so few hosts suppor…”

How can that cycle be broken? Will it ever be?

geeky said on January 31, 2005 6:23 PM

i you could somehow mix the flexibility and power of PHP with the built-in functionality of .NET, THAT would be the prefect server side language. but that’s just my opinion :)

Jonathan Snook said on January 31, 2005 6:36 PM

It is really hard to say what is best. I’ve been impressed by PHP’s plethora of functions but I also find it overly confusing (like string functions starting with str and str_). I much prefer a more object-oriented approach such as what Java offers. Which is also one of the reasons I enjoy Ruby on Rails. The problem with Ruby on Rails is that it’s still in beta. It’s also not as widely supported yet which makes it harder to find hosts that support it. I’ve never used Python so I can’t comment on it but it seems to fall between PHP and Ruby on the popularity scale.

I’m getting tired of having to learn so many languages. It can get confusing when you’re working in so many languages for so many projects on any given day.

Richard@Home said on January 31, 2005 6:48 PM

‘Best’ is very subjective, but PHP gets the job done in the majority of cases for me.

In its favour: Easy to learn, massive support, widespread adoption, free, you get everything you need in one install.

Against: Non-standard argument order (is it search for $needle IN $haystack, or search the $haystack FOR $needle?) and seemingly random built in procedure naming standards.

Craig Bovis said on January 31, 2005 6:52 PM

I’m gonna have to be the black sheep and opt for ASP (VBScript).

Firstly because I come from a Basic/Visual Basic background because of my Dad and it’s what I’ve grown up learning.

Secondly because it got me a job straight after I dropped out of school instead of going to University =)

Justin Perkins said on January 31, 2005 7:12 PM

I’m all .NET in C#. I know these web designer circles all use non-MS based technology, but I started using ASP for an intern position back in 2000 and have been using MS-based server-side programming ever since then.

I am very interested in Mono, the .NET environment for Linux, but until I find the time to get it up and running (not likely anytime soon), I will be sticking with .NET on MS.

I’ve been slowly developing a custom written CMS in .NET over the last year. Every time I create a new website I add some more features to my application. I think I’m on like version 5 or 6, with the latest version I’m finally adding the ability to post comments and have an RSS feed.

Clive Walker said on January 31, 2005 7:18 PM

PHP for me because of the widespread and cheap availability of the PHP/MySQl combo. In my experience most small business clients do not want to pay much for their “small-scale” PHP-MySQL website so development time must be fast (and cheap). It’s great to be able to use Dreamweaver to quickly “knock-up” a few PHP pages as a starting point (at the very least). Appreciate that there may be limitations with DW code but it’s “horses for courses” for me.

Jonathan Fenocchi said on January 31, 2005 7:59 PM

There are a wide variety of server-side programming languages. I found it difficult to get into Python or Ruby, and unfortunately support for them isn’t common on web servers. I haven’t found any software to download and run on my local testing server, either, which leaves me with Perl and PHP. I use PHP mostly and prefer it over Perl simply because of all the built-in functions available and how much less work you have to do. In addition, you don’t have to install a module for everythink like you do in Perl. However, I think Perl’s syntax is very cool, and the JAPH’s that you can pull off are really great. You just can’t make code that looks that cool in PHP.

Colin Ramsay said on January 31, 2005 8:01 PM

I’ll add another voice to the C# chorus. PHP is popular because it was a buzzword. Resources are plentiful. This doesn’t mean PHP is good.

It’s ok. You can get stuff done.

What you really want is a true language for the web, built with security in mind C# in tandem with ASP.NET fits the bill.

It has a in-built templating in the form of usercontrols.

Steven Marshall said on January 31, 2005 8:34 PM

Chalk another one up for C# and ASP.Net.

ASP.Net 1.0 and 1.1 aren’t bad as such, they just require a lot of tinkering to get squeaky-clean markup.

.Net 2.0 changes all that.

People talk about how PHP has more power than .Net, but I really don’t see how that’s the case - .Net can host innumerable languages, all of which can be used (in ASP.Net) as server-side script (which is JIT compiled), or “properly” compiled .Net assemblies.

And that, of course, isn’t even mentioning the sheer volume of built-in functionality that you get in the core namespaces, or the vast developer community that’s rising up in the wake of mono (and other, simlilar efforts).

In short, PHP/”classic” ASP/whatever isn’t bad if you want to put something home-brew’d together… For true enterprise-class work, though, .Net tends to be the best option.

N.B.: I’ve purposefully ignored J2EE/JSP for the simple fact that J2EE is perenially playing feature-catch up with .Net. Ironic, really, considering the head-start Java had.

Justin Perkins said on January 31, 2005 8:38 PM

>> built with security in mind C#
>> in tandem with ASP.NET fits the bill

Be careful Colin, that’s a slippery slope you’re treading on. The words security & Microsoft are not usually uttered in the same sentence, unless we’re talking about security vulnerabilities.

The only thing that makes .NET more secure would be the ability to create code-behind (ie, compiled code into a DLL), but all object-oriented languages have this ability.

Scott said on January 31, 2005 9:15 PM

I’ve stuck to PHP mostly, but would like to investigate Python and Ruby. I was happy to see that you didn’t bother mentioning Perl, I feel that it’s pretty much a dead language as far as most web application programming is concerned. It just isn’t as graceful as other languages, and I’ve never come across anything where its supposed “power” over PHP was required.

The web program director at my school insists that we use Perl, and I always assumed it was because she was from the U.K. (i.e. the ‘Old World’) which made sense with her old school teaching style. You other old-worlders seem to get it though, so it must just be her. ;)

Zach Blume said on January 31, 2005 9:47 PM

I have learned ASP, PHP, ASP.NET but no Ruby, Python or Perl so far. Frankly, to me, it is all about the syntax. That because I’m doing almost all blog work, which is fairly simple and can be done in almost any language. I perfer, as some call it, the “Geeky”/”Nerdy” syntax of PHP. This includes things like Javascript and C…
God Java syntax drives me CRAZY.

Wow I’m off topic.

On the subject of Web Applications(Not including blogs), I would say PHP falls a tiny bit short of what I would want. I think ASP.NET can go server and to client and back and forth? Am I mistaken?

Justin Perkins said on January 31, 2005 10:36 PM

> God Java syntax drives me CRAZY.

Java is just like C (don’t flame me Java developers), I kinda lump Java, C#, C/C++, and even VB.NET (to a lesser degree) into the same category. Probably this new Ruby on Rails too, but I don’t know much about that.

Then there’s your scripting languages like PHP, JSP, ASP (classic), etc. I don’t know if Perl falls more into the scripting language side or the more object-oriented side, maybe it’s a little of both? I know even less about Python, don’t know where that falls either.

> I think ASP.NET can go server and to client and back and forth?

Care to clarify that? ASP.NET is a server-side language. It does deliver some Javascript to add functionality to it’s server controls, but it hardly quantifies as being a server/client environment.

Grant said on January 31, 2005 10:53 PM

I’ve used PHP, ASP “classic” and .NET for developing sites. I claim .NET as my framework of choice because it is exactly that - a framework. It is a lot more than just ASP.NET - the authentication, user handling, session and security features (yes - it’s MS and they’re not known for security, but there is loads of stuff in the framework to address these issues) and ability to create clear separation between data, logic and presentation win over either PHP or ASP classic. These things may not be important to some, but they are to me.

But it is not suited to every job. I agree that some of the generated code of the built-in web controls leaves a lot to be desired. And the brain-dead implementation of client side validation (IE only when it could so easily be x-browser) is extremely frustrating.

I, too, am keenly waiting on Mono.NET to stabilise, particularly on Mac OS X. I am, however, developing with .NET on Linux currently and it is working quite well. Early indications are that the code it generates is somewhat cleaner and more x-browser compatible.

PHP is a language that suffers, I think, from inconsistent in-built method names and argument order. I find that I am constantly having to go to the docs to remember what the order of basic functions are.

I also find that it suffers to some extent from the same issues that ASP classic did, in that it doesn’t encourage clear separation of data, logic and presentation. Tools such as PEAR and Smarty help in this regard, but it is still somewhat difficult to keep the architecture “clean” IMO.

Purely from an aesthetic point of view, I love c# syntax (and I’m not a fan of the c style -> approach of PHP).

Luke Redpath said on January 31, 2005 10:58 PM

I’m confused by the several postings comparing .NET to PHP and the like. .NET is not a server-side language, as Justin claims…it is a framework which supports many languages. PHP also has it’s own fare share of frameworks out there.

Of course, PHP and its many frameworks might not be able to compete with the likes of Java and .NET for enterprise scale applications for some, but how many web developers can truly say they are working on enterprise applications? Probably the minority.

Leaving Python and Ruby aside as I’ve not been able to look into them, I think PHP is by far the best all-rounder for web development…great for simple applications and also great for more advanced applications…nobody seems to have mentioned PHP’s ever strengthening Object Orientated capabilities as of PHP 5 and its certainly possible to build quite complex applications with PHP.

One thing I do think is on the verge of dying, along with Perl, is classic ASP. I wrote VBScript ASP apps for years and since moving to PHP I cannot believe I didn’t use PHP in the first place. PHP supports so many things that aren’t possible with ASP without additional (and rarely free) components, I find the syntax to be much more elegant and of course it cross-platform compatible wherease ASP is Windows-only (lets not count a port like ChiliSoftASP here).

So, it’s PHP for me. I’d like to look into Python or Ruby but for the work I do I’m not really sure what it offers me that PHP doesn’t.

Luke Redpath said on January 31, 2005 10:59 PM

I’m confused by the several postings comparing .NET to PHP and the like. .NET is not a server-side language, as Justin claims…it is a framework which supports many languages. PHP also has it’s own fare share of frameworks out there.

Of course, PHP and its many frameworks might not be able to compete with the likes of Java and .NET for enterprise scale applications for some, but how many web developers can truly say they are working on enterprise applications? Probably the minority.

Leaving Python and Ruby aside as I’ve not been able to look into them, I think PHP is by far the best all-rounder for web development…great for simple applications and also great for more advanced applications…nobody seems to have mentioned PHP’s ever strengthening Object Orientated capabilities as of PHP 5 and its certainly possible to build quite complex applications with PHP.

One thing I do think is on the verge of dying, along with Perl, is classic ASP. I wrote VBScript ASP apps for years and since moving to PHP I cannot believe I didn’t use PHP in the first place. PHP supports so many things that aren’t possible with ASP without additional (and rarely free) components, I find the syntax to be much more elegant and of course it cross-platform compatible wherease ASP is Windows-only (lets not count a port like ChiliSoftASP here).

So, it’s PHP for me. I’d like to look into Python or Ruby but for the work I do I’m not really sure what it offers me that PHP doesn’t.

Justin Perkins said on January 31, 2005 11:26 PM

Luke,
I don’t think I ever said that .NET was a server-side language (re-read my posts), I did say that ASP.NET was a server-side language though. I know ASP.NET is not a language, per se, but I am at a lack for words as to what the proper term would be.

Thomas Baekdal said on January 31, 2005 11:55 PM

.NET, ASP, VB, ASP.NET, VB.NET, C#.NET etc.

For me the reason is simple. The same code used to create a website, can automate my document flow since Microsoft has built in .NET into most of their productivity applications. I have yet to see similar scalability and flexibility with other languages/frameworks.

Michael Wilson said on February 1, 2005 12:09 AM

I’ll probably be in the minority here, but if I had to pick a “favorite”, requirements and best fit not withstanding, I would have to choose Macromedia ColdFusion MX. With out a doubt it has the lowest learning curve to power ratio. The simple markup style syntax combined with mature, built in functionality and direct access to Java puts it at the top of my list. The upcoming version, code-named “Blackstone”, offers rich forms (Flash MX or XForms), integrated business reporting, enhanced printable output, sourceless deployment (CFML applications compiled as Java bytecode), and the ability to deploy as a single EAR or WAR file that contains the application and the ColdFusion runtime. Combined with a sturdy framework like Mach II or Fusebox, ColdFusion is a very powerful and feature rich solution. Alternatively, and for allot less money, you can opt to use CFML with the BlueDragon CFML server from NewAtlanta (01).

For anyone who hasn’t taken a look yet, CrytsalTech (not affiliated) is offering free FREE Blackstone beta hosting Plans (02). I set up a client with them last night and noticed the offer—it’s free until the beta ends and then, of course they will want you to upgrade to the final release, but I don’t think there is any commitment up front. It’s probably worth the effort if you haven’t had access to a CF sever before.

(01) http://www.newatlanta.com/products/bluedragon/index.cfm
(02) http://www.crystaltech.com/cf7beta.htm

Michael Wilson said on February 1, 2005 12:13 AM

I’ll probably be in the minority here, but if I had to pick a “favorite”, requirements and best fit not withstanding, I would have to choose Macromedia ColdFusion MX. With out a doubt it has the lowest learning curve to power ratio. The simple markup style syntax combined with mature, built in functionality and direct access to Java puts it at the top of my list. The upcoming version, code-named “Blackstone”, offers rich forms (Flash MX or XForms), integrated business reporting, enhanced printable output, sourceless deployment (CFML applications compiled as Java bytecode), and the ability to deploy as a single EAR or WAR file that contains the application and the ColdFusion runtime. Combined with a sturdy framework like Mach II or Fusebox, ColdFusion is a very powerful and feature rich solution. Alternatively, and for allot less money, you can opt to use CFML with the BlueDragon CFML server from NewAtlanta (01).

For anyone who hasn’t taken a look yet, CrytsalTech (not affiliated) is offering free FREE Blackstone beta hosting Plans (02). I set up a client with them last night and noticed the offer—it’s free until the beta ends and then, of course they will want you to upgrade to the final release, but I don’t think there is any commitment up front. It’s probably worth the effort if you haven’t had access to a CF sever before.

(01) http://www.newatlanta.com/products/bluedragon/index.cfm
(02) http://www.crystaltech.com/cf7beta.htm

Jonathan Fenocchi said on February 1, 2005 1:15 AM

(I’m responding to a lot of comments that I’ve read since my first comment, but I’m not addressing each comment individually.)

Perl is a general purpose language and can be used anywhere, but on the Web, I would consider it a CGI scripting language just like PHP or ASP classic.

I’ve worked with ASP classic before, but I just can’t stand the VBScript syntax, so I’ve always used JavaScript instead. Being a JavaScript client-side programmer already, I suppose this makes perfectly good sense. I’ve read complaints about Java syntax being terrible when compared to ASP.NET syntax. I’ve never developed in a .NET environment, so I can’t say that Java syntax is better, but personally the Java-type syntax is my preference. C, C++, Java, JavaScript, PHP and Perl all have fairly similar syntax (what I am referring to right now as “Java syntax”), and that makes the languages easier to learn together, since when you learn one, figuring out another tends to be less difficult.

I’ve tried to get into Python before (it appears that Google’s Blogger.com uses it - there must be an extremely good reason for that, and I must know what efficiency Python holds), but there isn’t a large community nor much support for it. There is only the specifications, which appeared (at the time I read up on the language) incomplete. If support for Python and Ruby grows in the near future, and hopefully it will, perhaps I will have a chance to get into it. Right now, though, it seems like only a few know a lot about either of them. I assume the reason for this is indeed the lack of support for the languages.

David said on February 1, 2005 4:16 AM

My vote is for .Net 2.0

I am learning the BETA version now and it is refreshingly simple. Basically, I am voting for it because it is the only one I know. I can use VERY basic PHP but perhaps I will try to learn more because of all these good reviews.

Stuart Maynard-Keene said on February 1, 2005 8:30 AM

Andy,

I use Lasso - www.blueworld.com - very secure and rather easy to pick up.

Ryan Nichols said on February 1, 2005 8:55 AM

For me it’s the .NET framework. I certainly understand the community here and the lean towards the scripted languages. However, to create a rad environment or a full 3-tier architecture, I can’t imagine not doing that in a full OO environment.

Ultimately I’m a big believer in being able to rapidly turn ideas into code, and code that is production ready(RAD). So any platform where say, in under an hour, you can turn a complex DB scheme into a series of pages with CRUD support, then your in the zone. If it takes you a day or more…you need to either develop a framework to get it done, or change to a platform with built in capabilities to do it for you.

From my understanting is that’s what rails is all about. I imagine a lot of the developers using scripted languages will be the major adopters of it, since it will be an easier switch than jumping to Java or .NET.

It certainly has a good MVC framework down (from what I know). but I already have that in my own code-base for .NET.

Nick Rigby said on February 1, 2005 2:05 PM

I’m a big fan of PHP5, as I love the new support for OO programming approaches.

I must admit I’m not a big fan of ASP, although I have used it, as I don’t think the syntax enforces a good programming approach. This is a particular problem for debugging somebody else’s code. But some say that ASP’s ‘looseness’ is the part of the beauty of scripting…

.NET has some nifty features but I’m still not particularly taken by it. It does support C# though, which is a good thing.

Magnus said on February 1, 2005 7:54 PM

A couple of years ago I was “forced” to use Netscapes Server Side Javascript. I am not sure it is avaliable anymore but it was a nice little language.

I then converted to JAVA wich is a killer-language. Nowdays I code mostly PHP and some ASP. I am eager to dig into Ruby/Rails

Peter van Impelen said on February 1, 2005 8:49 PM

REBOL

Gabriel Mihalache said on February 1, 2005 10:37 PM

Best for what? PHP is optimal for a 2 page form for a bloger’s survey, but for serious applications I can’t go without Java (Java 2 Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition):

- good error recovery, even at page level.
- it’s a standard, not a product.
- there are various implementations, ranging from a few open source ones to several thousand of dollars worth of cluster-powering sofware.
- thought around “serious” business processes, therefore transationality-friendly.
- comprehensive APIs for everything from HTTP to client-side windows, to sound and video 3D and mobile phones.
- one of the most popular languages in the world, as well as one of the most flexible and “expressive”.
- allows a division of labor, between developers and designers, and within developers.

Disadvantages:

- slower than some other platforms, but because of its cautious approach and reliability.
- best for large applications, after the threshold where a PHP architecture would simply break down.
- a bit complex for many programmers.

Matthew said on February 2, 2005 2:00 PM

I’m voting with the .NET crowd although I’m a VB.NET guy (Is that booing I can hear from the stands?). I’m looking forward to .NET 2.0 if its true that it no longer mangles the HTML. I must say this Rails thing sounds interesting, I’m going to look into that.

Paul Griffin said on February 3, 2005 5:42 PM

Since I primarily learned with Java (and a bit of C) in college, I have a strong preference for C-syntax languages, which is undoubtedly why I love PHP. I’ll grant you that it’s quite messy and could certainly do more to encourage good clean code, but it’s quite versatile and easy to crank out solid software.

I’m currenly stuck with v4.x, and I do wish that the OO provisions were a bit more solid, but at least you can do a good bit of object oriented stuff with it.

For desktop development, I love C#. It’s a beautiful language, and very easy to grasp if you’re already familiar with C-syntax. I’ve written more than a few pieces of desktop utility software for my personal use at work, just because writing a program to automate things tends to be quicker than doing stuff by hand.

sergio said on February 3, 2005 11:05 PM

I’ll third Java (and btw, I’m surprised that there are so few Java developers out there). It’s just a much more complete solution.

I’ve worked in a number of really big projects, and simple scripting languages like PHP (yeah, yeah, flame on) are just not cut for the kind of architechture Java excels at (MVC in distributed environment with connectivity to desktop apps, complete Business Logic / Presentation / DB access separation, etc.).

And where the Java syntax really shines is when you have a large team developing for the same app. It makes breakdown of work items much easier.

mateo said on February 4, 2005 3:11 PM

For my needs, Ruby (with Rails) is the most interesting language out there (finally, a REAL object oriented language), but until more hosts support it, it’s going to be PHP… almost all of my clients have existing hosting packages and doing anything other than PHP or Perl would be impossible.

Raff said on February 5, 2005 4:16 PM

Well, it might have been mentioned before but PHP has the best documentation, that cuppled with good mysql integration makes it a very good choice for backend programming (and even shell scripting if your a real die-hard PHP fan).

Caleb Jaffa said on February 6, 2005 9:49 AM

I’ve dabbled in most languages in use these days. Perl is a great tool for those that use it, but it’s not for me. ColdFusion brings a lot to the table up front and is a great tool in the right hands. PHP is starting to wear thin with the inconsistencies for me. Java is more than I want to deal with personally for web stuff. I never really did much with Python, as I learned about it and Ruby pretty much at the same time. The fact that everything is an object in Ruby, instead of Python’s exceptions, among other various things pushed me towards making Ruby my next language. Rails has since sweetened the deal.

Ruby on Rails has got me excited for coding again. The fact that not everyone supports it yet is fine with me. Textdrive seems like an excellent host, and I’ll be moving all my stuff to them in the next little while. Any coder worth their salt can pick up a new language, at least good enough to do bug fixes or small modifications to existing projects quickly. Granted maybe Ruby isn’t ready to drive a bank’s account access site, but for what the majority of the web is made of, it makes a good fit. However everyone knows their situation, their client’s situation better so to each their own in choosing the best tool for the job.

Peter Goddard said on February 7, 2005 11:46 AM

I’m with StevenG - C#.NET is superb, xhtml problems aside. I believe many of these will be addressed in the new ‘Whidbey’ version of Visual Studio but that remains to be seen. Awesome power though. And fast.

Michael van Leest said on February 7, 2005 12:54 PM

May all time fav. is Coldfusion MX 7 (just released). And yes I do pay for my application server and with the features it has its not a problem!
I also like flex for the front end, but that’s too expensive at the moment….

Wiebe said on February 16, 2006 1:04 PM

Hej where are the SmallTalk people :)?

I prefer Delphi or C#, C# because it’s clean and crispy new (afraid that will change though, MS will ultimately start cluttering it up too much with badly-planned additions to the framework, while trying to preserve backwards compatibility), and Delphi because it still supports some OO features C# can’t get close to :) (interface implementation delegation, strongly-typed type parameterization, some set operations and enum features)

But anyway delphi’s dying because Borland can’t keep up with new development and a buggless well-performing IDE :(