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You are an inspiring young website application developer.  You sit down with one of your many ideas that you have come up with over the past day, and begin thinking how you are going to execute it.  One of your first choices is, what backend language are you going to use?  There are varying possibilites, but your two main ones are ASP and PHP.  Well, I guess only nerds like me only have these situations, sigh.

Anywho, ASP (Active Server Pages) and PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) have their varying pros and cons.

First off, let it be known that you only need to use one of these language if you have a task that requires backend scripts that communicate with files, or with some data source such as a database.

ASP is a toy from the Microsoft development toy chest and is used with “Internet Information Server” (IIS) which is a program that runs on Microsoft servers. ASP is generally not supported beyond Microsoft servers. However, there are 3rd party applications that can make it compatible with a few other servers. ASP is widely used for large companies Web needs.

Rasmus Lerdorf originally designed the PHP parsing language during 1994/1995. Some other major contributors were Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans who rewrote the parsing engine to create PHP version 3. The major NT and UNIX Web servers support it and it is widely used with the mySQL database. Small and medium Web developers use it religiously.

ASP requires a windows server while PHP will do just fine with a linux server.  If you plan on hosting this over the net, you will find it much easier to find free, or cheap linux hosting, than the same server with windows installed on it (probably because windows server software cost money, but what do I know)

Overall PHP is easier to learn because there are tons of tutorials online and a huge community, while you have to go digging a little more for ASP.

So what should you choose?  It depends on what you already know.  Which one you choose is based on many variables but none more important than preference. When people visit your site they won’t say, “Man, this page was generated by ASP; that sucks!” What they will do is evaluate the site’s usefulness based on design and content. Therefore as long as your site follows the rules of good design and also provides the content that the client was looking for any of these dynamic content tools will work just fine, so take your pick.


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