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Is PHP the best choice for web programming language?


David Woodmansee

If you’re beginning (or planning) a web application development project, one of the major considerations you’ll have to make at the outset is the choice of programming language. Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, ColdFusion, Asp/.NET ... the list goes on and on, and for a non-programmer it can be really confusing.

A good heuristic for programming languages is that the best language to use is... the one you’re most familiar with. Which may not be helpful to you, the non-nerd who has to hire a developer.

Here at makespace! we’re familiar with several of the most popular web programming languages, but we tend to lean towards PHP for a variety of reasons. Here are a few you might want to have in mind:

  • Most web hosts are already set up to handle PHP.
  • Many of the most popular content-management-systems are coded in PHP (Wordpress, Drupal, Magento eCommerce, PHPBB forum CMS, and many others)
  • PHP has shown the ability to scale well; Facebook is coded in PHP and rarely crashes despite Zuckerberg’s billion friends. Twitter is coded in Ruby and has made “fail whale” a symbol of buggy web apps.
  • PHP has a rich and friendly open source development community; if a programmer gets stuck, it’s not difficult to find some help.