We build all of our e-commerce sites using Classic ASP. If someone asks me what the advantages are over the different languages, like ASP.NET, PHP or JAVA I tell them, “There really aren’t big noticeable differences.”
I give this as an answer because, from the customer’s perspective you can get the site to perform the functions you need using any one of the languages. While programmers may discuss things like how many lines of code it takes to accomplish complex features in one language versus another that is really a decision we make when we decide an area of focus.
I think that customers – meaning the people who want a website built or maintained – really want to know if there are restrictions in functionality or cost. If one language takes longer to program they just want to be sure it isn’t going to cost more because of that.
For instance, if PHP requires less code than ASP.NET to accomplish the same thing, they may assume that a programmer writing in PHP will cost less.
Programmers charge a certain rate per hour (typically) and often estimate how much time a job will take when they quote.
If they take longer to program… they lose money. If they finish quickly… they make money.
But if they don’t have the experience necessary to make the site work, it doesn’t matter what language they write in.
The advantage really doesn’t come from the language – the advantage comes from the one doing the programming.
An experienced programmer, regardless of the language they use, will know how to produce the results in functionality that the customer wants, and they will be more accurate in their estimate of the time it will take to finish.
For instance, NetProfits has been doing this for almost 20 years. We give fast and accurate quotes. This means that we can price competitively and feel comfortable turning down a request for work if people want a cheaper price. We understand the language we use frontwards and backwards, which ultimately makes the job more efficient. We also have developed a large library of routines and modules that can speed up the development of a new site. Any programmer who has enough experience, in whatever language, can say the same thing.
So the question isn’t really about the advantages over which programming language to use as it is about making sure you choose an experienced programmer.
One note though, as of the writing of this article, if you are hoping that people view your site on and Apple products, don’t use Flash. Sites using flash are not viewable on iPads, iPhones, or iPods.