When the times comes to fleshing out your web application idea into an MVP, it’s tempting to go with technologies that you (or rather, your developers) are most familiar with. This is not a bad idea per se, as familiarity breeds faster development.
But as significant as that is for an MVP’s success, it’s not the most vital factor. For the MVP to lead into a product that truly addresses the concerns and needs of your target audience, you need to choose technologies while keeping ‘fitness of purpose’ in mind.
In other words, your project’s use-case determines this choice. In this comparison, the four popular web application development platforms, PHP, Python, Laravel, and Mean Stack, are all suited to a wide range of use-cases.
As a product owner, this can make it challenging to choose the correct web development framework for your purpose. To make your task easier, we’ve compared these four web development platforms by listing out their significant pros and cons.
Web Development Platforms Comparison
Among the most popular web development frameworks of all time, PHP is preferred by developers for its simplicity, efficiency, and popularity. If you plan to hire PHP developer for your project, work with experienced hands who can help you make the most of PHP’s advantages while avoiding its pitfalls.
Pros of PHP:
- Simple: Some of PHP’s conventions might make it look difficult to learn initially, but in practice, the language is simple to learn and use vis-à-vis other scripting languages. It also helps that PHP is wildly popular the world over and has extensive community and documentation support. PHP is also one of the fastest scripting languages out there, ensuring your app retains its performance even under high user loads.
- Interpreted: As an interpreted language that needs no complication, PHP offers advantages such as smaller application size and dynamic typing.
- Platform independent: You can use PHP to script applications for multiple platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Unix etc.
- Open source: PHP is completely free to use as it’s open-source and has a vibrant community that you can tap into for answers to commonly-faced programming issues.
- Scalable: PHP powers the backend of some of the world’s most popular websites such as WordPress, Wikipedia, and Facebook, which makes it worth considering if scalability is crucial to you.
Cons of PHP:
- Ageing libraries: Many developers see PHP as lacking in libraries necessary to develop applications for the modern world. For instance, PHP falls behind more modern platforms when it comes to machine learning libraries.
- Security issues: This con is partly because of PHP’s open-source nature and partly because of its popularity. The former ensures code vulnerabilities become common knowledge once they’re exposed, while the latter results in many amateur programmers taking to PHP and creating shoddy work.
Python is an open-source programming language that is high-level, interpreted, dynamic and supports procedural and object-oriented programming. It’s a highly versatile programming language that can be used for diverse purposes.
Pros of Python:
- Open source and easy to learn: Like PHP, Python is open source and free to use. It’s also far easier to learn than the other contenders in this comparison, making it easier to hire Python developer for your project needs.
- Interpreted and integrated language: As Python is an interpreted language, no compilation is required at the time of code execution, making debugging an easy affair. At the same time, Python can also be integrated with other languages such as C.
- GUI coding: With Python, you can develop GUIs (Graphical User Interface) by using modules such as PyQt5 or wxPython. This is yet another example of Python’s versatility.
- Cross-platform: Launching a product on multiple platforms while keeping its performance consistent on each is a challenge that’s made easy with Python since its code works seamlessly on Windows, Mac OS, Linux etc.
- Rich library: Python’s library of modules is vast and can be used for diverse purposes. The programming language also comes with a host of functions, ensuring your developers don’t need to program every functionality from scratch.
Cons of Python:
- Run-time errors: Because it’s dynamically typed, Python’s applications spend more time in the testing stage than what’s conventionally required or accepted. It’s also not unknown to have errors throw up in Python right when your web application is complete.
- WIP database access layers: You might find Python’s database access layer wanting, especially when compared to more popular technologies such as ODBC and JDBC.
Based on PHP, Laravel is an open-source, full-stack framework that offers a rich set of features to develop different web applications. This has led to Laravel becoming a popular web application development platform with businesses.
Pros of Laravel:
- Authentication: Authentication is an essential part of developing a web app, and developers spend a lot of time building robust authentication code. But with Laravel 5, authentication is available as an inbuilt feature, with developers only needing to configure model, views, and controllers to help your app work flawlessly.
- ORM: Laravel’s effective ORM enables a smooth Active Record implementation when working with databases as it lets you create models with a corresponding database table. And since ORM features built-relationships, whenever you change the table, the data therein changes too.
- Testing: Laravel facilitates fast and easy testing as it’s compatible with PHP Unit, allowing you to identify changes that harm your application. Laravel also lets you write test cases in your code.
- Artisan: That’s the name of Laravel’s integrated command-line interface that your developers can use to create skeletal codes. Artisan also controls the database, thus freeing up your developers from executing routine coding tasks.
- Resources: Laravel offers over 20 inbuilt libraries (of which authentication is one, as mentioned previously) to speed up your web development process. This ensures your developers can focus on the technical aspects of your project instead of reinventing the wheel for essential functions such as payment methods.
Cons of Laravel:
- Lack of built-in support: Laravel compares unfavourably with other frameworks such as Django and RoR regarding build-in support. However, this issue can be mitigated by using third-party tools.
- Iffy updates: As with all technologies spawned by PHP, Laravel suffers from issues and bugs with long-term support. This makes it all the more important to hire Laravel developer experienced with the framework and its deficiencies.
Pros of MEAN Stack:
- Flexible: MEAN Stack is known for a high degree of flexibility during the web application development process. You can hire MEAN stack developer to easily and quickly add new features and aspects either during or after development.
- Reusability and performance: Node.js is super-fast as it’s built on Google’s JIT and uses asynchronous programming. While the former ensures JS code is compiled and executed into machine code quickly, the latter runs processes such as I/O to the file system, database, and network connections in a fast manner.
- Cloud compatible: Because of MongoDB, MEAN Stack offers excellent cloud compatibility. You can deploy all major cloud functionalities in your web application with MongoDB, helping save physical infrastructure costs and enabling scale.
Cons of MEAN Stack:
- Subpar isolation of server and business logic: Because of its suboptimal separation of the server-side from the app’s business logic, Express.js doesn’t let you execute services like batching operations. Instead, you’ll need to go through the whole middle chain for any internal job, a bothersome affair.
- Runner up to relational database: MEAN Stack doesn’t quite match up to relational databases in terms of functionality. The latter continues to be the more stable and reliable option, the main reason why large companies like Facebook and Google prefer it to MEAN stack.
Summing It Up
While we’ve laid out the pros and cons of what are unarguably the most popular web development platforms used today, the choice to hire dedicated developer should still be guided by your project requirements.
This means, for instance, you should be willing to overlook a particular flaw (such as PHP’s relative antiquity) or forego a virtue (such as Laravel’s faster development cycle) if that’s what your project requirements dictate.
If you’re still unsure about the right way forward for your project, talk to our experts now. As a custom web application development company, we’ve built over 2,000 websites and applications for clients in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa.
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