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Which is Better, PHP or ASP.NET?

After replying to a similar question in this thread in the Sitepoint forums, I decided to talk about it further here.

There are plenty of comparisons out there that will prove either one victorious in this never-ending debate.

I will answer this question with another question: Does it really matter? Unless you are building a multi-million dollar application, It doesn’t. The time you take in researching which is better for your small e-commerce site, or for a simple site like this one, will eat up any resources you may have saved by choosing one over the other.

When deciding on these technologies, there are a few questions that will naturally come up:

  1. How much will the software resources cost me?
    If you use a shared hosting service, the difference is negligible if there is any at all. If you host your own servers, it will cost you a bit more for ASP.NET since you must purchase a Windows license. But again, it’s negligible. The only major cost factor here lies in the database. MS SQL server can cost from nearly $1,000 US, to tens of thousands per processor. There are free and comparable alternatives.
  2. How much will the development cost me?
    The development costs will be comparable.
  3. Will this technology be around for while?
    Both of these have been around for roughly a decade (in different forms) and there are no signs of either one ‘going away.’ There are always other options but these are two of the front-runners.
  4. How difficult is it to find people who know PHP or ASP.NET
    It’s not difficult at all. However, what is difficult (according to clients of Superiocity) is finding talented and dependable developers. Superiocity is solely a PHP development company. If you happen to need ASP.NET development, contact me and I’ll recommend a developer.

I love speaking to people who are passionate about technology, whether it be PHP, ASP.NET, or any other language or platform. That passion is what often leads to developers losing their temper when arguing about what’s better. They (as I once did), take any criticism to their platform of choice very personal. I suggest that loosing colleages, potential clients or business affiliates is not worth the argument. Instead, learn from that person. Guide the conversation in the direction of “Tell me more about x.”, instead of “…well, x is better then y because…”.

As developers, most of us love what we do. So let’s just shut up and start writing code!

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