[thelist] Recommend a Server Side Language?

Tobyn Baugher trb at cartoonviolence.net
Tue Apr 10 00:51:10 CDT 2001

On Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 12:37:38PM +0800, Mark Cheng wrote:
> I'm now looking for a simple, widely used server side language which is easy
> to learn.  All I want to do is be able to process some forms, maybe do a
> simple auction etc.

I've gotta recommend PHP or JSP. Why? Because of their availability.
Both have free implementations available and, more importantly, have
them available for multiple platforms.

I've wanted to learn ColdFusion for some time but have been turned off
by the lack of free availability of the tools/server for
noncommercial/educational use. I don't want to spend a boatload of money
on the server only to find out I don't like it. ASP I can get for free,
but I personally have about 5000x more experience running *ix webservers
than Windows, and wouldn't trust myself to run a major site on IIS like
I would with Apache.

Mainly what I want in a language is the following:

1) Availability - The language has to be available to me. Preferably
through an immediate download. Even more preferably through an immediate
FREE download with source code that I can compile myself turning on/off
features as I wish. I never know when or where I might need to work, and
if the environment I'm given doesn't suit the needs of the project I'd
like to be able to make it right immediately. This also makes it easier
for me to experiment on my own personal boxes. When I get to do that I
learn new things and as a result write better code. I ALWAYS want to
write better code if I can.

2) Platform Compatibility - I don't want to tie myself to a platform.
I'm a Unix guy by nature, so I DEFINITELY need a server available for
that, but what if I work for someone who's running Windows? Or what if I
work for someone who isn't sure what platform they'll be running down
the road? Sure, switching between platforms is a hassle, but I don't
need to exacerbate the situation by writing in a lang that won't work on
their new platform. I'd rather write all my scripts in straight Perl CGI
(I'd never do that again) than have to stick with an embedded language
that couldn't evolve with me and move to new platforms as I feel the
need to. That just doesn't seem smart to me.

3) Economics - I don't want to pay huge quantities of cash for a server
when there are free alternatives that do the same thing. I hate even
more the thought of paying increased costs for adding more servers to my
sites when I could have started out paying $0 in the first place. If
you're going to charge me money for your product make sure you offer me
something I can't get elsewhere, don't just bank on the fact that
your old customers are going to be too lazy to switch. I don't see
anything ColdFusion and ASP can give me that I really miss with PHP and

Besides, you aren't sacrificing quality by going with the free
languages. PHP and especially JSP have their own unique features that
none of the other languages can claim. Both are mature and in use in
real production sites. Both have organizations backing them ready and
able to provide support either for free via message boards and mailing
lists or through real support contracts for a fee.

In addition, PHP's integration with MySQL (which is also free, woo!) is
second to none, giving you the ability to create a great data-driven
website for $0.

I'm not a free software fanatic, but I do understand economics. I just
can't find a valid argument to get me to spend the large amounts of cash
on server software or the economic hell of being locked into a Windows
environment. The languages aren't any better, and my money still doesn't
grow on trees.

That got long. Sorry.

Tobyn "trb" Baugher <trb at cartoonviolence.net>
AIM:unlewp ICQ:14281524 EFnet:trb

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