ASP.NET vs PHP
If you have ever looked up PHP versus ASP.NET or Comparison between PHP and ASP.NET type of articles and blogs on the internet, you will find that there are two happy camps supporting and defending either. And consequently, putting down the other. But the answer is never as cut and dried. When we are talking about two of the leading development languages, it is not a case of which comes out tops but rather which platform is better suited for what kind of projects.
PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP originated as a scripting tool that has quickly taken over the internet thanks to its easy learning curve and large developer community. According to one estimate, PHP is installed on over 244 million websites with server support from virtually all major hosts. PHP is also free and boasts a number of frameworks to simplify web development. Some of the major websites written in PHP include WordPress and Facebook.
ASP.NET was developed by Microsoft to provide developers with an easy scripting tool for building web pages and web applications. It is a successor to ASP (Active Server Pages), another platform pioneered by Microsoft in the mid-90s. You can code ASP.NET using any .NET supported language, which made it especially popular among .NET developers. Microsoft’s early domination of the web browser market with IE was also responsible for increasing the popularity of ASP.NET. Some of the major websites that use ASP.NET are StackOverflow and MySpace. The question now is: what language should you choose if you are starting out as a programmer?
This is a no-brainer – PHP is completely free, while ASP.NET is a Microsoft product. This means there are certain costs associated with ASP.NET development, namely:
Both ASP.NET and PHP are highly scalable. Consider that Facebook, the second most heavily trafficked website in the world, was originally built in PHP, while MySpace, the website Facebook dethroned as the world’s favorite social network, was built in ASP.NET. This illustrates that both ASP.Net and PHP are highly scalable, as long as the programmer knows how to scale their application. Recommended: Both
Performance for most web applications is a function of the interaction between the script, the database and the server. Most web applications written in PHP follow the LAMP stack – Linux (OS), Apache (server), MySQL (database) and PHP (scripting language). The LAMP stack is extremely popular for web development, and thus, has been optimized extensively for improved performance.
The database used most often with ASP.NET is MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server), although you can also use MySQL with it. The performance different between a ASP.NET+MSSQL stack and a PHP+MySQL stack are very small with PHP+MySQL edging out ASP.NET.
Another factor that affects performance is the OS and file system used on the server. Most tests indicate that Linux and ext4 file system have better I/O performance than Windows and the NTFS file system. Thus, there’s a good chance a PHP application running on a Linux web host will slightly outperform a similar ASP.NET application running on a Windows host. Recommended: PHP
PHP is free and among the most popular scripting languages online. There’s a huge open source developer community that regularly contributes to PHP development. The open-source community also tends to be very helpful, which is a big bonus for beginners.
ASP.NET, on the other hand, is a Microsoft property. While you’ll find plenty of developer boards run by ASP.NET enthusiasts, the scene is nowhere near as vibrant as PHP’s. Recommended: PHP
Availability of Tools and Editors
Most PHP developers prefer using text editors like VIM and Notepad++ instead of a full-fledged IDE. If you did want to use an IDE, however, you’ll find solid support for PHP in free editors like Eclipse.
ASP.NET is also supported by most IDEs but is mostly used with Microsoft Visual Studio. Microsoft VS is one of the most powerful, feature-rich and flexible IDEs around, even though it is not free. Thus, if you’re willing to shell out the cash, you’ll find that no PHP editor/IDE comes even close to Visual Studio. Recommended: Both
Ease of Learning
PHP wins this one, hands down. ASP.NET is usually written in C# (pronounced C ‘Sharp’). C# is built on C which can be difficult to learn for most beginners. Its syntax is complicated and difficult to read, even for experienced programmers. People new to programming will find ASP.NET hard to pick up.
PHP, on the other hand, is very easy to pick up (so much so that most seasoned developers consider PHP coders as ‘newbies’). You can learn a few simple lines of code and start tinkering with WordPress themes almost right away. Recommended: PHP
According to the TIOBE Language Index, PHP ranks as the 6th most popular language online. ASP.NET, on the other hand, doesn’t even show-up in the top 20. Recommended: PHP
Unless you are already familiar with the .NET framework or want to stick to Microsoft technologies, there is no discernible need to use ASP.NET over PHP. PHP can do everything that ASP.NET can, and it can do it for free.