Poll: What is Your Preferred Server-Side Language?

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While we all enjoy the shock and awe that comes with AJAX and our preferred JavaScript framework, it's really the server-side language that makes everything happen. From content management systems, to multimedia-driven websites, to eCommerce goldmines, the backend is the real power behind a success website.

I'd like to know which server-side language you prefer. Which do you work in every day? Are you forced to use one at work and another for personal programming? Why do you prefer one language over the others? Share!

[poll id="3"]

I look forward to seeing your responses and will share my preference after I see what you have to say!

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  1. PHP was the first language that I learnt after Javascript, that was almost 8 years ago and I still heart it in a big way. Granted, there are times when it annoys me (like trying to do over-complicated C style statements), but with all the new features in 5 and upcoming in 6, it’s getting more and more powerful. I love the way that it is easy enough to understand for beginners and powerful enough for programmers. If I move on in the future, it will more than likely be C# .net or Java.

  2. simon

    you should include javascript in the list. not a lot of people use it serverside, but it’s gaining momentum.

    z.b. http://helma.org

  3. PHP is my favorite! Maybe because I didn’t try to learn something else, but its just that I believe PHP is easy and very friendly.

  4. OTHER

    Ruby + Rack + Phusion Passenger
    Server-side Javascript
    Lua (Kepler)

  5. I originally started doing server side processing in PERL. It worked great, but it was always more complicated than it needed to be it seemed. Then I learned PHP and have not looked back.

  6. Ryan R

    PHP will win this poll by far … and for good reason.

    Hopefully more people will see how good Rails is …

  7. simon

    i for one find php offensive. anyting else is fine.

    I’m really surprised not more people reading this blog do JS on the serverside.. seems obvious :)

  8. I have always had a great knowledge of PHP and thus it has become my favorite programming language. I am proficient in some of the other ones, but don’t know enough to use them on most projects.

  9. @simon: Offensive how?

  10. simon

    @david: i don’t like the design choices they are taking (namespaces, php4’s oo syntax) and the inconsistancy of the php “standard library” as a whole… no naming conventions. I know this has historic reasons, but nevertheless.

    i don’t think anybody should have to code php in 2008 :)

    there are a couple of more mature choices around (ruby, python, perl, js come to mind). i would even say JS is more mature, also it of course only makes sense to use serverside in combination with the java stdlib, which can easily be done using rhino.

  11. @simon: Thank you for the explanation. Very interesting opinion.

  12. I have used all of these except JSP and I still prefer PHP.

  13. PHP here. Learned on ASP and made the transition several years ago into PHP and became interested in learning true OOP programming once 5.x came out and started understanding the benefits.

    There might be languages that are better out there but I take the approach that until i hit a limitation with PHP, I will continue to use it.

  14. I come from the design side. Coldfusion introduced me to programing on the Web in a very designer-friendly way. Then, frustrated with few resources and limited hosting options, I reluctantly switched to PHP. It forced me to learn more—which was a good thing—and now I am glad I did. It has been PHP all the way ever since.

  15. ColdFuion!

  16. Jordi

    PHP here coming from Turbo Pascal, Basic, C/C++, …. even Fred (from Robert Carr’s Framework).

    Per customer request I take the dust of my VB knowledge with some ASP pages.

    Simon is right in pointing that PHP is an informal language.

    Java, Pascal/Delphi, even Visual Basic are more elegant.

    But PHP is really easy, cross-platform and fully functional.

    Sometimes masses do not select the best choices in a formal manner, although they do pick the best in a democratic way.

    Nevertheless, PHP allows you to code fast and clean and get the job done. And you can always go grab your C++ compiler and create a module.

  17. I voted .NET, I love the .NET MVC extension.

    php is fine it’s just there really is a lot of horrible code out there in php. Even wordpress’ code is not up to really high standards. vBulletin’s code is how php should be done.

    Also Not sure if you know but you can’t submit under ie7.

  18. I learnt C (the structured one not OO C++) as my uni course. Got the basics of programming from there. So, when the time came to choose a server side language for web development PHP was the best for me. I think – the community and users(programmers in case of PHP) keep things alive in current internet world. You can see from the current poll result – PHP is still the most popular and will remain as the most popular server side langauge. It has a big community which is sharing minded so it will become more and more powerful and rich.

  19. If you like OOP, ASP.NET is the way to go. I used to like PHP before I learned .NET. It’s really about rapid development, not elegance of rendered code. Debbie downer, woh woh…

  20. @simon what do you mean by “do JS on the server side”? If you mean dynamically create JS on the serverside… why? The only time I’ve had interaction with JS and server-side was by sending a dynamic ID to a JS function: something trivial in .NET like doWork(MyDotNetId.ClientId.ToString());

  21. simon

    @mark: I really mean write serverside code (models, rendering-code) in JS. with something like http://helma.org it’s a breeze. You trivially use all java-libraries (yes, java) in your javascript code. if you use rhino, as helma does.

    I don’t do code-generation (anymore) :D And I never felt comfortable with MS technologies.

  22. @Mark: I believe some use JS as the primary server-side language, although I have no idea how that works….

  23. simon

    @david: you should really check that out. there are several options for having JS on the server. email me if you want to know how. i don’t want to advertise here :)

  24. I love php…it’s simple, free, and best of all, it just works.

    PHP is popular because it doesn’t cost money and because it is simple to learn. It’s better to take a bite full before you take a mouthful, I’d say it’s the prime language to learn first. As long as you are also learning proper programming basics, such as variables, arrays, expressions, functions, etc.

    I want to learn Java/C++ badly, I am majoring in computer science and very hungry for knowledge. Pain is but the enforcer of success and I will have it.

    I decided hand coding page by page (how I used to do) was a big pain, so I decided to look for an easier way to do it. Thus I ran into php and learned how to use the “require” function to include pages. PHP lightens your work load significantly and there is a huge community behind it, obviously I dig it but I can’t say it beats the other languages.

    I think PHP is a better choice for server-side development than JS, although I want to learn JS for client-side stuff. From my taking, JavaScript is more or less used to enhance web pages. PHP/ASP/Insert other SS language here pull the wagon and thus create functionality for what would otherwise be a stale website.

  25. PHP is my preferred server side language although i started with ASP .net before php .In my opinion,asp is made for lazy programmers . you just have to drag and drop shit from the toolbox and voila whereas php you have complete control over your code and design .:)Also, ASP lacks resources on the internet as compared to PHP . However i have to admit one thing,it was a bit difficult to debug and write php syntax at the beginning .

  26. Node.js has become my favorite recently because of the heavy web traffic it can bear on little resources and because JavaScript has the highest adoption of any language on the web.

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