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Published: Thursday, March 02, 2000

What Server-Side Scripting Tool is Best?


If you are visiting 4Guys, chances are you primarily use ASP for your server-side Web development. However, have you ever wondered if ASP is the right server-side scripting tool? There sure are a lot of choices, though, including PHP, Perl, and Cold Fusion. So, is ASP the right choice? This article presents some of the pros and cons of each dynamic Web tool. A worthwhile read, since every Web developer should know the pros and cons of the various options available.

- continued -

To get a good idea of the various server-side scripting languages and options, be sure to read Server-Side Scripting Shootout. Note that each of the four scripting languages examined (ASP, ColdFusion, Perl, and PHP) were written by developers who were passionate with the technology, so be sure to take each section with a grain of salt. (FYI, I wrote the ASP section for this article.)

The following are several links to interesting articles on each of the major server-side scripting languages.

Active Server Pages
ASP rocks. I love it. However, it does have its drawbacks. For one, you're locked into using Microsoft's Web server or shelling out some hefty change to companies like Chili!ASP or Halcyon Software. Another thing Perl developers often find lacking in ASP is inherent file processing/emailing. In ASP it seems like you need to instantiate a component to do just about anything, whereas in Perl you can create files, send emails, retrieve HTML content from another site - all without having to use any components. In my opinion, ASP's biggest advantage is its ease of use. A developer who has a little experience with VB can jump into ASP and create powerful, data-driven Web sites within days, if not hours!

ColdFusion (most of these articles are nearly a year old)

  • ColdFusion Problems - this article bashes ColdFusion without mercy. A good read, though, to see what kind of pitfalls you may find yourself in if you decide to use ColdFusion.
  • ColdFusion Review - This review is fairly positive, addressing the features ColdFusion has and how it compares to ASP.
  • Another ColdFusion Review - This is another good ColdFusion review, outlining the product's strengths and weaknesses.

    PHP

  • PHP Review - A good review on PHP, covering its roots and its future. A good read for those not familiar with PHP.
  • PHP vs. ColdFusion Discussion - this Slashdot discussion was started with a question on moving from ColdFusion to PHP. Many user comments are quite informative, even if they are a bit annecdotal.
  • Perl vs. PHP - This article discusses whether developers should use Perl over PHP. I know these last two links may seem a tad out of place (this being an ASP site and all), but I think having a solid understanding on all the available server-side scripting languages is worthwhile.

    I hope you found this comparison of the server-side scripting languages interesting and informative! And hopefully you're still glad you're working with ASP! :)

    Happy Programming!


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