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ASP? PHP? What are all of the options to choose from when someone wants to code a browser/web based application? Why should certain languages be chosen over others in any given scenario? This article will provide a checklist of questions the programmer should ask in order to choose which language to use.

Since the inception of the internet, web programming remained a popular and in-demand skill. With a web-driven society, programming for the web continues its upward trend. Sites such as Udemy and as well as on-line and on-site bootcamps make learning web programming easy and accessible. Moreover, programming teaches many excellent general life habits 6 Life Habits That Programming Could Teach You Today 6 Life Habits That Programming Could Teach You Today Everything important that you need to know about living a successful life, you can get from a computer program. Don't believe me? Read on. Read More .

Yet what’s more important than learning a web programming language is learning the right web programming language. Several factors shape which language is the best. Here’s how to choose the right web programming language to use.

Defining “Right”

Full Stack Dev

Picking the “right” language may be a bit misleading. This implies that there are wrong languages. While some languages won’t help you achieve your programming needs, many times there are multiple methods to reach a desired outcome.

This is especially true with web programming. There are primarily web-focused languages such as JavaScript, as well as general purpose languages like Java. We’ll concentrate on the questions you should ask yourself to determine the right web programming language to use.

Which Programming Language Is Easiest to Use?

Coding photo html php

Determining which web programming language is easiest to use depends on your background. If you have any experience with a language as basic as HTML then you have a basic understanding of syntax and layout. Additionally, everyone learns at a different rate.

But certain web programming languages are simpler than others. For ease of use you’ll want a language that has a libraries and frameworks, is structured, and concise. A less complex syntax is also a plus. Including games like Minecraft or a DIY Flappy Bird make programming fun and accessible for kids. Here are a few beginner-friendly languages to consider:

JavaScript

  • Object-oriented.
  • Dynamic.
  • Functional.
  • Structured.
  • Lots of libraries.
  • No compiler necessary.

Ruby

  • Language-like syntax.
  • Concise.
  • Ruby on Rails framework.
  • Multi-paradigm.

PHP

  • Large community, lots of resources.
  • Dynamic.
  • Flexible environment.

Which Web Programming Language Is Most Popular?

Popularity is key in picking the right web programming language. Especially if your intent is landing a programming gig, you’ll want to learn a language that’s heavily sought after.

Gleaning data from Indeed, Coding Dojo provided a breakdown of the most in-demand programming languages. Popularity offers two main benefits: Potential jobs and community resources. For web programming, these are the among popular:

  • JavaScript — It’s powerful, easy to learn, and widely used. JS is built into many modern browsers. According to Stack Overflow developer survey data, JavaScript passed PHP and Java in popularity. The likes of Node.js, a server-side JavaScript environment, use JS as a backbone.
  • Java — Don’t confuse JavaScript and Java. Java is a long-standing staple in the programming community. Since it’s been around more than 20 years, there’s a massive dedicated community.
  • C# — It’s not necessarily a web programming language. Instead it’s a general programming language. ASP.NET web apps often feature a C# base. Most ASP.NET apps are composed in Visual Basic or C# though any .NET language will work.

On the flipside, there’s merit to learning a less popular programming language. According to 2016 statistics from Indeed, PHP, Ruby, and Python clocked lower demand than the likes of JavaScript and Java.

However there are reasons that Python programming is pretty useful 5 Reasons Why Python Programming Is Not Useless 5 Reasons Why Python Programming Is Not Useless Python -- You either love it or you hate it. You might even swing from one end to the other like a pendulum. Regardless, Python is a language that's hard to be ambivalent about. Read More . While there’s not as much demand, your competition in the job market may be lower as well. Sure, demand for Java in the workforce is high, but so too is the population of skilled Java developers.

Which Web Programming Languages Are Versatile?

Especially if your goal is future employment, versatility is key. In this case, your best bet is learning a programming language, not a web programming language. Languages such as Java, C/C#, and Python are excellent all-purpose programming languages.

Get started with Python 10 Basic Python Examples That Will Help You Learn Fast 10 Basic Python Examples That Will Help You Learn Fast This article of basic python examples is for those who already have some programming experience and simply want to transition to Python as quickly as possible. Read More using these 10 basic examples. What sets these apart is their general-purpose nature. While a language like JavaScript is used in certain non web-based environments, it’s much more common for web development.

In choosing a general purpose language that can be applied to web programming, you learn a versatile language. This benefits not only job seekers, but also those seeking further programming edification. Many all-purpose programming languages reinforce basic syntax so are well-suited to learning other languages.

Learning Resources for Web Programming Languages

In today’s connected world, you’re not on your own when learning. Forums, courses, and experts are available from virtually anywhere. For web programming languages, the best resources are community sites, courses, and language-specific tools. Look for a language with lots of frameworks and libraries. Frameworks and libraries can ease the development and learning process. Ruby and JavaScript are great examples.

Open-source software usually benefits from dedicated, close-knit communities. Therefore selecting a language that’s open-sourced allows for ample community resources. PHP for instance is a stable, open-source language. Ruby is open-source as well. Combined with its Ruby on Rails framework, it’s simple to use and features many tools.

What Platforms Are You Using?

Coding OS

While Windows, macOS, and Linux are the most common operating systems, Chromebooks have risen in popularity. These ultra-portable computers feature Chrome OS or Chromium OS. Chrome OS offers a suitable development environment for basic languages like HTML (not technically a programming language).

However for more intense programming you’ll need to run a VM or dual boot a Linux distribution. Linux distros provide a high level of customization and the UNIX-like operating system. macOS features UNIX components which posits it as a stellar programming environment. For developers, Apple provides Xcode that interfaces to compilers for Swift, Objective-C, and C/C++. Windows consistently ranks as the most popular operating system, and its high compatibility makes it a suitable development environment.

If you’re using a language like C, you’ll need to run a compiler that runs on Linux and Windows-based machines. macOS users will either need to use Xcode, dual boot a compatible operating system, or use a virtual machine (VM). Because Core .NET and Visual Studio received open-sourced iterations, it’s pretty simple to set up a programming environment on almost any operating system. The biggest limitation comes with Chrome OS. Sideloading a Linux distribution remedies this problem.

Front-End vs. Back-End?

PHP Code Example

Do you want to program for the front-end or back-end? If you answered front, just go ahead and focus on JavaScript. The likes of Facebook Google, Amazon, and Wikipedia all use JS for their front-end. On the back-end, you’ve got a little more choice. Mostly, you’ll want to learn something like Python, Java, C, C++, or PHP.

However you may also consider Perl, ASP.NET, Scala, Hack, or Ruby. Learning JavaScript opens the possibility for front-end development and back-end development using Node.js.

Front-end developers should learn frameworks such as EmberJS and AngularJS. Back-end developers benefit from database-centric languages like SQL. The full stack developer combines front- and back-end programming. Therefore you’ll need client- and server-side languages for full stack development.

What Is Your Programming Purpose?

Ultimately choosing the right web programming language centers on purpose. Are you learning web programming for personal use and education or for your career? If you plan to pursue employment, invest time and money into learning the proper language.

However if you’re programming for fun or personal projects, try starting with a simple language. An open-source language is a best bet since it’s free to use and offers loads of resources.

Career-Focused

  • Invest time and money.

Personal Use

  • Free and open-source.
  • Easy to learn.

Get With the Program(ming Language)

Ask yourself these questions and determine which web programming language is right. Based on your needs, you may have to seek additional learning 3 Course Bundles That'll Take You From Programming Noob to Pro 3 Course Bundles That'll Take You From Programming Noob to Pro Today, we're going to look at three heavily discounted course bundles that'll teach you all different programming languages -- from Ruby on Rails to C. Read More or enroll in courses.

Thankfully, you’re not alone in your programming journey. There are plenty of resources available. Plus, any programming knowledge makes learning more languages more digestible. For novices, check out the easiest programming languages for beginners 6 Easiest Programming Languages to Learn for Beginners 6 Easiest Programming Languages to Learn for Beginners Learning to program is about finding the right language just as much as it's about the edification process. Here are the top six easiest programming languages for beginners. Read More .

What do you find most helpful in identifying the right web programming language?

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  1. Rogier
    April 9, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Error found in the article..
    "However you may also consider Perl, ASP.NET, Scala, Hack, or Ruby. Learning JavaScript opens the possibility for front-end development and back-end development using Node.js."

    ASP.NET is NOT a language! ! ! ! !

  2. Owen
    February 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks, this article is a must read for individuals begging their journey into the exciting world of software development.

  3. Tony
    January 24, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Hey, old school here... COBOL developer and considering the amount of code out there that is still COBOL and the fact that baby boomers are retiring this market is starting to open up.... if I was starting out would it be the primary language... NO but as a secondary then yes as it could help finding a job...

    Look, I am in the process of diversifying myself so that I can grow. But, I can tell you that I have had no problem finding work in COBOL in today's market. Will it dry up... probably... but that is why I constantly learn in the hopes that in the future, I can move to other areas.