Choosing a Programming Language? (CMS’, Languages, & Frameworks)

November 15, 2010

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Answering the question, “How to Choose a Programming Language” has more to do with what you are trying to accomplish than one language being better than another. Of course if you are a programmer, then go for a heavily supported language so you can find libraries and code bases to make your life easier.

To get started you need to first determine what is your application:

Websites: If you need to get a basic website created, and you don’t have any experience, then you probably don’t need to be worried about a programming language, or even HTML. Instead you should get a basic CMS, content management system, that will allow you to create pages, a quick sitemap and links to your site. I’d recommend WordPress as a quick way to get started.  It is an easy to use framework that can quickly create basic sites, yet at the same time scale for much larger organizations. WordPress has been developed in PHP. If you are getting a programmer make sure they have a background in CSS3 and HTML5, as these are some of the top protocols for juicing up your website.

    On a Shoestring Budget: If you don’t have a lot of money, and don’t expect to have a lot any time soon, then you need to pick a programming language that is widely used and adopted so you can get access lower rates per hour for programmers that will meet your needs and solutions. But a word of caution, just because you’re on a shoe string budget, doesn’t mean that you need to be sacrificing proper planning for your application. Cobbling an application together without proper planning can cost a lot more money to get fixed than getting it done properly the first time.

    Content Management Systems: If you have a lot of pictures, videos, articles, and new pages that are going to continuously be produced then you should consider using a robust CMS. Although WordPress is a great choice, it might not be as fully integrated as you might like. If you are looking for a complete list of CMS’ see below. There are many others out there, and the list that I provided will continue to evolve, but what you really want to search for is how active the community is in order for you to get the most number of add-ons modules.

    Online Applications: If you have a very specific application you are developing, I first suggest finding a framework out there that has already been created and then building up from there leveraging best practices and design patterns to help you build a more robust application.  Of course, each framework has its advantages and disadvantages, which will be dependent on your application. You could also be like the guys from 37Signals, who created Ruby on Rails, their own framework on the Ruby Language.

    What is the difference between a language and a framework? A framework is developed on a language, but depending on the framework you can code in possibly various languages to get the framework to work, such as .NET, which you can code in VB.NET, C#, or J#, then run it through the compiler to a common language infrastructure.

    Touch Screen Applications / Mobile are the new rave with iPad, iPhones, Android Phones, etc. One framework that you can check out is Sencha. It’s venture backed and works with the Google Web Toolkit (GWT). You can also check out MobGenie to find portability to different mobile phones.

    Though it is debatable, the top 10 languages in order are:

    1. Java
    2. C
    3. C++
    4. PHP
    5. Javascript
    6. Python
    7. C#
    8. Perl
    9. SQL
    10. Ruby

    The top web frameworks would be as followed. Term framework isn’t really accurate, but it’s a start.

    PHP based Frameworks

    Python Based Frameworks

    Ruby

    Javascript / AJAX

    Just in case you are still unsatisfied with our CMS recommendations above, check out the list below:

    This is a list combined from personal experience and a few good websites. My point is not to give you commentary on each and every one, but for you to quickly go through the list and find the one that fits you.

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