14 December

PHP versus ASP.NET

Selecting the right tools for a web development project is a tough decision. The problem is compounded by the fact that there are several very competent platforms that offer very competitive set of advantages.

Selecting the right platform depends on your preference, the needs of the project and sometimes, the type of hosting the developer (or the client) prefers.

The most widely used languages for web development are PHP and ASP.NET. These platforms are popular for developing dynamic websites and have their own advantages and features. Each of these tools has a very dynamic and active community behind it.  Let us begin by a brief introduction of the two.

ASP.NET

Active Server Pages.NET is the Microsoft’s developed and maintained product that takes full advantage of the .NET development platform. The best thing about ASP.NET is the support of the underlying technologies that ensure that the development timeframe and complexity of the project remain manageable.

The latest version of ASP.NET supports programming languages such as VB.NET, C#, JavaScript and more. Not only this, it also supports different models of development such as Webforms and MVC model.

PHP

Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) is the open source server-side programming language.  The latest iteration has become a huge development platform that offers several tools to streamline the development process. PHP features a highly scalable development model that allows easy post-implementation enhancements and maintenance.

How PHP and ASP.NET Differs?

Platform Compatibility

One major difference between ASP.NET and PHP is the platform compatibility. PHP usually works on a number of different platforms such as Windows, Solaris, Linux and UNX. A number of database engines could be used on without any problems.

ASP.NET is (mainly) compatible with Windows servers. The database engine of choice is MS-SQL database, a propriety implementation by Microsoft. ASP.NET could work with Linux server, provided that ASP-Apache is installed and active

Cost

Cost is another huge difference between ASP.NET and PHP.

Most ASP.NET applications run on IIS (Internet Information Server) and it is not free. It requires proprietary database engines, although this issue is often circumvented by using open-source database interfaces.

PHP runs on Linux, and it is completely free of cost. PHP uses MySQL which is open source and no charges required.

When it comes to the necessary tools, PHP offers a wider choice (many of whom are free-of-cost). This is one area where ASP.Net does not perform so well. However, the gap is rapidly being bridged by developers who offer free plugins and libraries for ASP.NET platform.

Speed

PHP is faster than ASP.NET.

PHP is faster because it runs in its own memory space. ASP.NET is a bit slower as it is built on COM based architecture that adds a layer of infrastructure (and thus a penalty on speed of execution). So, if you want to create an application that performs multiple queries then it would be best to go with PHP rather than ASP.NET.

Core Language and Syntax

ASP.NET and PHP have different syntaxes that confuse even the expert developers.  ASP.NET uses a Visual Basic syntax which is common across the Microsoft products. PHP uses a syntax that is based on C/C++ style.

Ease of Learning

ASP.NET is quite difficult to learn for beginners and even for experienced programmers. The reason is the frequent usage of C# style of syntax and structures that are difficult to master. PHP is relatively easy to pickup and a beginner could create a functional website in a few days.