I have realized that I should start learning some scripting language from now on. So where do I start? Perl, PHP, asp, javascript etc.
I mean which language would be better to start with?

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Last Post by pty

That all depends... what do you know already as far as coding goes (languages) and what exactly do you want to do with it.


I was just looking for a place to start from, no special purpose.

php? hmmm, I was thinking the same. But what about perl? Isn't it a good place to start with too?


Really any script language is usefull if you know what you are going to use it for. I mean no disrespect to vimkar, as he is entitled to his opinion, but php as with any script language really is useless if the server you are using doesn't support it. This is why I asked what you were wanting to do with it... what server support do you have... meaning what can you run? are you limited to just php? Or can you use any language and your server will handle it. If you just want to be able to alter the look of a page use xml and html. If you want to be able to do Database connectivity then you have different options. What you want to do and what choices you actually have ( support wise ) is what is really going to decide for you what you should be learning. Another thing that is going to influence the decision is are you a beginner or a seasoned programmer?

Myself I use ASP, JavaScript, DHTML, XML mainly because all the servers that I use are Windows Servers so it works well and there is no need for PHP or Perl (though knowing perl can help with expressions even in VBScript and JavaScript) since I can do it all without them.



Javascript is a good place to start - it's still being used and introduces curly-brace syntax programming. It's pretty simple, also.

Perl is great, but it's intentionally too flexible for an absolute beginner. Javascript is more standardized.


Let's define "web development". A "web application" can mean a lot of things. My loose definition is any web page that DOES something. If the page content is altered based on user input, that's a web application.

Understand there is client-side and server-side coding. Which end of the transaction you choose to do the programming is based on a few factors. For example, if you simply want a user to enter 2 numbers into two text boxes, click an "Add" button and see the mathematical result, you could easily do this in client-side script. There would be no reason to do this server-side, although you could.

On the other hand, if you want to interact with a database or retrieve content from a third-party website, you'll need to use server-side script.

By far, the most common language used for client-side scripting is Javascript. Understand that Javascript is NOT a scripting subset of Java. The two programming languages are not even related except they share a C-like structure that many languages do. With IE on Windows, you can also use VBScript for client-side script. You can also use Java Server Applets that run on the client. (Again, Java is not Javascript.)

Your server-side programming language choices are much more varied. Some of the most popular in alphabetical order include:

  • ASP (VBScript or JScript)<<
  • ASP.NET (VB.NET, C#, etc.)<<
  • Cold Fusion<<
  • JSP (Java)<<
  • PERL (CGI - style)<<
  • PHP <<

ASP and ASP.NET are not really "languages" themselves. Instead, they are an architecture in which you use languages such as VBScript in ASP or C# in ASP.NET to program web apps. This is similar to CGI in that CGI is not a programming language. It is an architecture in which you can use languages such as PERL to do web dev.

Now for my quick opinions on what you should use. You may think you want to pick your language based on the "best" language or the "fastest and/or most efficient" language or the "most powerful" language. I'd argue, you want to go with what you think is most likely to land you jobs and make you money. Which one will give you the best return on your investment for the long haul?

"Classic" ASP, as it's now called since ASP.NET hit the scene, is Microsoft's "old" way of doing webdev. This means that it will be increasingly difficult to get support from Microsoft for ASP and VBScript. You'll start to see the amount of online code examples drying up. I really liked ASP, and I felt Microsoft abandoned me when they launched ASP.NET. Classic ASP is actually more like PHP than it is like ASP.NET.

ASP.NET. What do I like about ASP.NET? You get to use "real" programming languages such as VB.NET and C# to do web dev. So the language you learn lets you write not only web apps but full desktop apps, too. Actually there are a LOT of languages supported within the .NET architecture, so you can use Python, Cobol, and many others. However, I tried to apply my ASP experience to ASP.NET and found that just about NONE of it applied! I'm not kidding. Microsoft really confused web dev with .NET in my opinion.

Cold Fusion. Huh? Never heard of it? It's almost like that now. I don't know anybody using it. But I'm sure it has some fans out there. I never used it, but I believe it was very easy to use with nice features for quickly building data-driven web apps.

JSP is the Java way to do web dev. It has some of the same advantages I mentioned with ASP.NET. Personally, I'd pick Java over .NET..but of course we already established that I don't like .NET ;) I've had JSP programmers tell me that setting up the server environment for JSP can be a daunting task. I don't really know. Java is definitely a great language, very popular, and since it is not a Microsoft language, it does not stand the chance that it will be abandoned in 8 months for the next "great" thing. You can make lots of money as a Java programmer....so return on investment is probably one of the best.

CGI (using PERL or otherwise) is "old school". I don't know of any advantages or reasons to keep using CGI when we have the newer integrated web development methods. It was great, but we have better methods now that offer better performance.

PHP is what I use now. I started web dev about 10 yrs ago doing CGI with the PL/B language. Then I moved to ASP/VBScript and SQL Server for many years. When Bill launched .NET, I reviewed ASP.NET, then quickly moved to PHP and MySQL! PHP won me over VERY quickly. I also enjoy that I can use PHP for all my shell scripting needs. PHP is a very popular webdev language and well supported. Oracle announced last year they are now including PHP in their products. PHP, unlike ASP/ASP.NET can be used on UNIX, LINUX, and Windows platforms.

Troy's Conclusions: If your goal is quickest path to powerful webdev with a language that will reward you for many years to come, PHP is an excellent choice. If your goal is powerful webdev, ability to also develop desktop applications, and to make as much money as possible, Java will reward you well.

DISCLAIMER: Opinions are like....well you know.


I agree with some of the others, if you have limited programming skills and already know html well, then JavaScript is a pretty good starting place.


Thank you all specially Troy for his detailed explanation.
I actually do not have any specific purpose for learning scripting languages. I want to start with the one that will give me an in-depth understanding of web-dev and webapps. Also I have a plan for learning other languages once I start with one. I am not an absolute beginner in the sense that I have experience with C and C++.


I knew some c/c++ and I start to learn PHP.

After 6 years I used the same, php


in my opinion the language you learned should meet with your working environment, ASP is supported well by windows,php is faster,it all depends.


Troy's post gets a tumbs up *raises thumb* :)

i started with html, because my brother was doing it in college, then xml. Which bother give a nice simple intro into how prgramming languages work (which you already have with the c/c++ knowledge). then c-programming.

now onto using Visual Basic software. heading for Javascript (which i have some understanding of), Java and it seems by what i've seen here.. php :)


Btw, I've started working with Python. I'm very impressed so far. Python is a mature, robust, efficient language somewhere between PHP and C. Python is a fantastic scripting language for shell tasks. You can also develop rich GUI applications with Python--apps for Windows, Linux, or Mac. For web dev, you can use Python as a CGI language or you can use the Apache mod_python. From the trends I'm seeing, I believe LAMP may soon also mean, Linux/Apache/MySQL/Python. There are some very powerful Python IDEs available with robust debugging features.


I've heard really good things about python as well, although I haven't used it. I did see an impressive screencast for turbogears (uses python).

No matter what language you learn I would encourage you to begin learning good design patterns along side your learning the syntax and functionality of whatever language you choose. I'm a fan of object-oriented and model-view-controller design patterns. I know PHP only, but its worth noting that some of the other server-side languages are likely to "encourage" you to use better design patterns than PHP might. My point really though: Learn good design practices and you will write less code or not write the same code more than once ;)


I have realized that I should start learning some scripting language from now on. So where do I start? Perl, PHP, asp, javascript etc.
I mean which language would be better to start with?

I used perl and python at ruby but then discovered Ruby.

Try it in your browser. I bet you love it. Even the Kaiser Chiefs love it


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