[thelist] What is the best programming language for the web?

Kristian Rink kristian at zimmer428.net
Wed May 30 01:29:01 CDT 2007

["Sales @ Lycosa" <sales at lycosa.co.uk> @ Thu, 24 May 2007 09:44:38

> I am interested to hear other people's opinions, and to see what
> languages you use. In particular, I am interested in speed of
> development, cost, processing speed/server load and learning curve.

Stumbling across this thread rather late, indeed I have to second the
opinion voiced earlier that it massively depends on what you're about
to do. However, talking about my very environment: I used doing quite
some mid-sized projects using both Python and PHP which was fine, until
I discovered about JEE web tier (JSPs + servlets) something, like, two
years ago, and by now I hardly want to use anything else.

Bad things first, drawbacks:

- Learning curve is rather steep. The JEE APIs are a beast to tame, and
getting used to this takes some time and patience, not talking even
about mastering it.

- You need to have a hoster to provide you with at least a servlet
container (like apache tomcat or jetty) to deploy your stuff to. This
is not as easy as it could be even while finding an ISP to provide you
with LAMP hosting is rather easy nowadays.

- There is quite a load of different frameworks focused on different
styles of building Java based web applications, and chances are you can
find a solution optimized to your project - if you actually care
spending some time checking these things out, which indeed _will_ take
some time.

Advantages, however:

- You do have a reliable, stable set of infrastructure around,
especially when running inside a fully-fledged JEE application server
like GlassFish or JBoss. This allows for getting applications
structured and built in a maintainable, extensible way, and it also
allows for easily linking your web application into an existing
business environment. I learnt this to be much easier than, in example,
using PHP+SOAP to do the same.

- You _do_ have a huge toolbox of tested frameworks, libraries,
servers, IDEs to choose from, most of them open-source, well-maintained
and -tested and (in best case) even documented. 

- Building web applications using an IDE like Eclipse, the JEE web
tier, a servlet container like tomcat and maybe a backend SQL DB is
just a breeze, you simply won't work without onec you got used to
that. :)

- If you are just a little careful, you can be sure to have an
application which is highly portable - pack your stuff to a *.war file
and throw it to your application server no matter whether this runs
atop Windows, Linux, Solaris, ... . 

- Having a set of well-thought-out specifications like JDBC as well as
good code implementing them, you can be sure to build cleanly
structured applications without being too closely tied to a special
RDBMS, a certain application server, ... . This can prove helpful in
certain situations.

That said, if you want to build a simple web application having just a
handful of forms, or if you're into creating a plain CRUD tool, JEE web
tier is overkill. If you're about to build a more powerful web
application, it's the way to go IMHO. ;)


Kristian Rink * http://zimmer428.net * http://flickr.com/photos/z428/
jab: kawazu at jabber.ccc.de * icq: 48874445 * fon: ++49 176 2447 2771
"One dreaming alone, it will be only a dream; many dreaming together
is the beginning of a new reality." (Hundertwasser)

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