Which language should you choose for web development? 2

How Web Development was done in the Jurassic Age


Back in the dark ages, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and cavemen pulled their women by the hair, we still programmed our webpages in C. Yes, I know it is a manly language, and anyone who has hair on his chest (or even her chest), should know how to program in C.

So if you wanted to see an naughty image, you would write your own web client/server, implement your own TCP/IP stack, get it running with a remote server, and then wait only twenty five minutes while a grainy image of a woman in a bikini came to your screen, pixel by pixel. Which is why when I hear about these kids gushing about how cool Cobol on Trains is, I want to give them a wedgie.

Anyway, a prophet called Tim Berners Lee came to Earth to civilise us humans. Verily, he said unto us, you do not have to write a complete webserver in C every time you want to view naughty images. But his ideas were too radical, and he was burnt as a heretic. [editor: citation needed].

We are now out of those dark times, and now live in modern enlightened times where every teenager can view as many image of women in bikinis as he wants. Thanks, Sir Tim.

Languages used in Web Development (yes, there are more than one)

So in these civilized times, if you want to write web based apps, you need to know three main things:

1. HTML/CSS– Yes, you do need to have some basic knowledge of these, even though you may be a “programming ninja”, or whatever is the “cool” term all startups use. You know, on those ads on Stackoverflow, saying, “We need a Python ninja,”:

Yamato_Takeru_at_16-cropWhich to me seems they want a cross dressing Japanese, who will go around murdering people using the python snake

 2. Client side languages – Client here doesn’t mean shady men who hang around in shady neighborhoods looking for illegal stuff. No, client here means code that runs in the web browser. The most popular language here is Javascript and jquery. Client languages are needed because talking to the server is very expensive (in terms of time). It’s faster to do small things (like checking if the email address is valid, or password format is correct) right in the user’s web browser, using something like Javascript.

Note, some people will tell you that Flash (from Adobe) is also a programming language. My advice is, take such people out and shoot them. Adobe, the creators of flash, are actually a secret terrorist group run by psychotic aliens. My evidence: They try to get you to install spyware and “anti-virus” tools every time you try to update flash.

3. Back end languages – These languages talk to your back end code(or may be your back end code). Back end means they do stuff like talk to databases, authenticate users, perform calculations, talk to aliens etc. The core of your app.

For a long time, PHP was the most popular language in the domain, and it still is. However, it is widely seen [editor: reference needed][screw you, editor] as a clunky, ugly and insecure. In the last few years, other languages like Python and Ruby have taken over, especially with their web frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django.

You haven’t answered my question: Which language should you use?

It depends on which you are comfortable with. If you know Ruby, choose Ruby on Rails. If you know Python, choose Django, Flask or something similar. Just don’t use PHP or Java.

But you still haven’t told me which language to use!

Sigh. Just use Python, okay. Now go bother someone else.

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2 thoughts on “Which language should you choose for web development?

  • Stephen

    Python, Ruby….aha, i do not know what 2 say…i‘ve learned servlet/jsp, frameworks like Struts, hibernate and spring…

    • Shantnu Post author

      Any language is fine. As I say in the next part of this blog, what language you use isn’t important; what you build with it is.