ASP.NET versus PHP. Which is the better platform for web development?
The major race is between the two – ASP.NET or PHP, even though it is not fully fair because ASP.NET is a web framework using full-featured programming language like c# (C Sharp) while the latter is programming language. However, you need to be aware of the benefits of both before you choose one of them. Web developers still ask themselves this question when they sit down to create a website. It may look like you are comparing oranges with apples because ASP.NET is used for commercial platforms and PHP is an open source platform. Even so, it is still worth comparing the two so you are absolutely clear when you sit down for web development.
A little intro about the two
ASP.NET, as mentioned earlier was developed by Microsoft, and it is the next edition version of ASP. The main popular feature about ASP.NET is that you can use it with any .Net supported language; developers love this. This fact, coupled with the reason for Microsoft’s initial popularity as a web browser made ASP.NET extremely successful.
PHP is Hypertext Processor. Its huge developer community was mainly due to the fact that it has a very easy learning curve. As PHP is free and houses a number of frameworks, it became instantly popular. Some major websites like Facebook and Word press are used with PHP.
One major difference between the two heavyweights is that ASP.NET is backed by Microsoft web platform and it can support any language with .Net support.
Difference in Cost
Let’s look at the cost difference between the two. This is not difficult at all because ASP.NET is Microsoft based and hence, comes with strings attached. PHP is free. Though ASP.NET has a Windows backing, it doesn’t mean that you can apply it only on a Windows machine. You can make use of Mono project to work with ASP.NET on your Linux or Mac. Mono is a software platform that would help you to perform cross-platform applications.
The use of PHP is defined in two groups. In the first group, you have the PHP working for My SQL Server, PostgreSQL Server, Apache server and Linux OS. This is entirely fee and the upgrades can also be done free of cost. You don’t have to pay licensing fee as well. In the second group of PHP, you have LAMP – Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP.
Though popular, there is a fee involved in it, but when compared to Linux server, the cost could be less.
For ASP.NET, you have the Windows and IIS group, and though that may be free, there is substantial cost involved in Windows server. The cost keeps changing from time to time. If you are a beginner using ASP.NET, then you will find it is free. It is when you get into the professional stage that you have to start paying. Also, Microsoft hosting is much more expensive than Linux based hosting; at least this was the case a few years ago. But now the cost difference is negligible.
Nevertheless, PHP emerges the winner here.
According to experts, both ASP.NET and PHP are highly scalable. You cannot say that one is better than the other. Both make the programmer’s job easier, use the best programming tactics, works on solid programming framework and follows programming guidelines and standards.
Both emerges the winner
Upgrades and Performance
Both ASP.NET and PHP get upgraded at regular intervals. And if the upgrade in ASP.NET makes it superior when compared to PHP, the next version of PHP always gets into the better side of ASP.NET.
The performance of both ASP.NET and PHP could be based on the interaction between the server, database and the script. Web applications that are written in PHP and follow LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) are extremely popular and they are constantly optimized to deliver excellent results. With ASP.NET, you have MSSQL (Microsoft SQL Server) as the most commonly used database, though MySQL is also used. If you look at the difference in performance between the PHP+MySQL stack and ASP.NET+MSSQL stack, you will say that that the former is elbowing out the latter. The next factor that should be considered here is speed. Linux is fast while Microsoft is slow. So when you look at a PHP web application running on Linux and a ASP.NET application running on Windows, you have the odds stacked against ASP.NET.
Here PHP emerges the clear winner.
Difference in structure
As said earlier, Microsoft has developed ASP.NET with the overall concept in mind. PHO is robust and developers have added their knowledge and skill in it.
Even so, ASP.NET is slightly better than PHP because it boasts of a more elaborate and thus a better structure. PHP frameworks like YII, laravel and Zend may compensate for this.
The learnability factor
A developer making his entry into the field of web development will be able to move ahead if it is PHP. You can write simple applications and experiment with them. ASP.NET is easier for developers who are experienced in .Net language. Actually, this depends on the person because developers are divided on the two. While some find PHP easy though it takes plenty of experience to make it a good scalable application, some developers find ASP.NET easy.
Depends on user
PHP has a vibrant community of developers and you have a huge open source community ready to help and give you suggestions. ASP.NET is owned by Microsoft and though you have support forums, they are not nearly as dynamic as PHP. Most beginners just gravitate towards PHP.
PHP emerges the clear winner here.
The bottom line
When you are writing applications, the general trend is to go for PHP (for example, Facebook). However, several business applications are still run on ASP.NET, while freelancers prefer PHP.
Interesting links about the topic:
Pictures: Flickr.com/ Kinney/ Jung
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.