Ever since Microsoft has come up with ASP.net, there has been a widespread debate among programmers as to whether it is any better than the existing open source programming language of PHP.
If you were to make a search on the Internet on how loyalists of both PHP and ASP.net are doing almost everything by biting each other’s heads off, you will realize how hot this debate actually is. The major contention is that Microsoft
products are generally considered to be superior to other products, but then there are programmers that have been using PHP since ages and never once has it let them down. While there is acclaim for ASP.net being more robust and speedier, PHP fans maintain that PHP has much better support and a very easy to understand language.
As the debate between PHP and ASP.net rages on, it is important to make a frank comparison between the two languages, so that other developers who are not so strong in their opinions are not caught in the argument between the two. Here are some of the important points that distinguish the two programming languages from each other:-
(For the uninitiated, PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and ASP.net stand for Active Server Pages. It helps to put things into better perspective!)
» PHP is a relatively simpler language to use than ASP.net. Initially, PHP was written in the C programming language to replace a set of scripts in Perl. That is the reason why coding in PHP remains simple even today. Many developers find themselves to be more at ease with the user-friendly nature of PHP when it comes to coding. However, critics also count this advantage of PHP as a disadvantage. Some of them maintain that the language of PHP has not been updated much, and hence it is still quite archaic and even, somewhat cumbersome for coding. ASP.net, which is a relatively new development, has a lot of options when it comes to languages. Here, you can use languages such as C#, J#, C++ and VB.net. Hence, when it comes to sheer choice, ASP.net has better to offer. But PHP is no less, since it can do its task quite well, even with its minimum language tools.
» PHP is has much better support for the database management system, MySQL. In fact, the very popular blogging platform, WordPress uses the formidable combination of PHP coding on MySQL for its content management system, which includes about hundreds of thousands of blog posts every single day. Another very popular and frequently updated service that uses the combination of PHP and MySQL is Wikipedia. ASP.net can also support MySQL, but PHP is unanimously hailed, by the masses and classes alike, for its great support for this database management system.
» People who use both PHP and ASP.net also maintain their opinion that PHP is better for embedded support with another database management system, viz. SQLite. SQLite is described as a relational database management system and since it is contained in a C programming library, PHP can provide better support to it.
» PHP has also a very good support for object oriented programming, on which whole scripting languages are being built nowadays. ASP.net also provides very capable support to OOP.
» When it comes to support, PHP wins over ASP.net. The main reason for this is that PHP is open source. Hence, the support can come freely from all over the world. In most cases, PHP fixes are made instantly. Being open source also ensures that there are very few snags in PHP. While, ASP.net could take a while to make fixes. That is because it is owned by Microsoft, and it is the development team of Microsoft that will need to respond to the support query. That could take more time than the worldwide open source support that PHP is able to get. Most PHP supports can be instantly found online by doing a simple search on the Internet. Some of the providers of support for PHP are Zend, NuSphere and ThinkPHP.
» PHP can use the command line to perform many everyday activities. Some of the things that the PHP command line is useful for is for manipulating across many files and for putting files into multiple directories at once. These are just some of the important features that PHP’s command line is used for.
» PHP is an open source programming language, which means it is free for anyone to use. Programmers can develop PHP applications virtually at no cost, because PHP is free to use. ASP.net is not free too, but its extensions are available for free on Windows platforms, upwards of 98. Hence, ASP.net is available to Windows users when they buy it. That puts a bit of restriction in its use.
» ASP.net is compiled into memory in binary code. So, when ASP.net is used for coding, it is evident that it takes much longer time to process since the codes need to be retrieved from memory. However, PHP is not compiled into memory like ASP.net is. It is interpreted at runtime. That is the reason why PHP coding leads to better speed and even efficiency. However, it must be said that both PHP and ASP.net can run at supreme speeds and efficiency when they are coded expertly.
» Talking about hosting charges, both PHP and ASP.net are quite cheap to host. If you do a good deal of shopping online, you will also be able to find hosting for as little as $4. While there are several pricier hosting services out there, their charges are higher for both PHP and ASP.net. Hence, it can be said that both PHP and ASP.net are at par with each other on the hosting charges.
» Since PHP is older, there are many people who claim that it is much more secure than ASP.net where coding is concerned. ASP.net is much new, and the security options may not be fully in place yet. However, many programmers will pooh-pooh at this point, because they maintain that security in coding does not depend on the language that is used, but in the way that the coding is done by the coder. Even so, there is a lot of talk on the Internet about PHP coded sites being more difficult to hack into than those done with ASP.net.
Hence, there is a lot to debate on about the worthiness of PHP over ASP.net or vice-versa. There is probably no end to it, and there never shall be. The problem mainly is that both of them are good in their own place, but people who have been staunchly using PHP for several years now – some of them for more than a decade – would certainly not like to go in for the new ASP.net. The price to be paid is quite high, i.e. learning a whole new syntax and getting used to it. That is more the reason why PHP is still so popular.
But, to ASP.net’s credit it must be said that it is much more dynamic, even if the mere use of different languages are concerned. While PHP is still stuck to its scripting language days, ASP.net has broken new grounds by entering into new languages, and even developing some of its own. However, a new shadow is looming large on these language-programming tools – the coming of the WYSIWYG editors such as Dreamweaver, which are making coding a very simple task to do for even the lay computer user.