Are you interested in becoming a professional web developer but don’t know where to begin? Starting out your journey in the field of web development can be a daunting task, particularly when it comes to choosing which programming language or framework you wish to learn first. When building websites and web applications, there’s a huge variety of different programming languages to choose from. Every language has its own strengths and weaknesses, and some are better suited for specific tasks and projects than others.
In part one of our beginner’s guide, we will take a look at examples of some of the most popular and widely-used languages for modern website and web application development.
HTML is the go-to language for building websites. It functions as the base language in which the vast majority of websites are built on and it helps define the structure and content of each page. You can think of it as the backbone of virtually all websites. Using HTML, developers can create various elements that tell a web browser how to display the content for each page. Relative to other coding languages, HTML is exceptionally easy to pick up and learn, making it a perfect entry point for anyone who is new to web development.
CSS is a tool used for making great looking web pages. It’s a stylesheet language specifically made to help developers design the style and layout for any of their HTML web pages. CSS can be used to adjust font sizes, colors, and the positions and orientations of various elements on a page. By leveraging CSS, developers can save a lot of time and effort by making changes to the layout of multiple web pages at once. When used together with HTML, advanced CSS developers can make your website look professional (and pretty).
PHP is an open-source programming language that is most often used to create interactive and dynamic websites. When combined with HTML and CSS, PHP can help create websites with more advanced features such as custom context, PECL extension, deploy tracking, and request queuing. PHP is particularly helpful when building online storefronts, content management systems, and other advanced web-based tools. On top of PHP’s ability to build advanced web features, it can be used to make web servers and can even run in different environments, such as a web browser or command line.
Ruby on Rails is a web framework which uses the Ruby programming language to create a variety of full-stack web applications. With all the necessary tools available in one place, developers are able to craft high-quality applications on both front and back ends. Ruby on Rails gained its popularity due to its ease of use and simplicity when creating complex web applications. It is most frequently used for applications that require extensive database integration and user interaction. Some of the most popular apps built with Ruby on Rails include Airbnb, Shopify, Groupon, Fiverr, Goodreads, and Hulu.
Ruby on Rails is an excellent starter language for beginners because it enforces good programming habits, utilizes a simple English-like syntax, and is supported by a massive development community with tons of plugins, guides, tests, and challenges.
Java is a programming language that has been around since 1995 and has gained immense popularity in the years following its release. It is most commonly used for creating applications for Android devices, as well as for building enterprise-level applications such as financial systems and scientific simulations. Over the years, Java has come a long way thanks to its open source nature and support from a massive community of developers. It is now responsible for powering a significant portion of the digital world we live and work with every day. Some of the most popular Java frameworks include Spring, Hibernate, and Apache Struts.
Experienced developers who are familiar with Java are highly desirable in the job market. While Java is probably not the easiest programming language in the world to learn, it is a high-level language which makes it relatively accessible for beginners.
If you’re a developer with some experience working on mobile applications, chances are you are at least somewhat familiar with Flutter as it is one of the most popular development kits in existence. While Flutter is primarily known as a mobile development language, it also works wonders at creating multi-platform applications for both mobile and web development across Microsoft, Apple, and Linux operating systems.
Created by Google, this open-source framework is built upon the Dart programming language and utilizes a reactive programming model which allows developers to create snappy, responsive applications which run seamlessly across many platforms. Popular web apps that leverage Flutter include Alibaba, Reflectly, and Google Ads.
If you are brand new to programming and have zero experience working with any coding languages, Flutter may not be the best choice for your first language. However, if you are a beginner with at least some experience working with languages such as Java, C, or Python, then Flutter is a great choice to take your skills to the next level.
.NET is a comprehensive, open-source software development framework created by Microsoft in 2002. It contains all the toolkits and frameworks needed to create cross-platform mobile and web applications for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. Developers can choose from a variety of languages they wish to work with, as .NET supports multiple programming languages such as F#, C#, and Visual Basic. A few of the most popular apps built using .NET include Microsoft Dynamics, Visual Studio, and ASP.NET.
.NET is a great starting choice for beginners as it is easy to learn and requires minimal setup and resources. It is a widely used and very popular language, which means developers with .NET experience are highly sought after in the job market.
First released all the way back in 1991, Python is a high-level, object-oriented language most commonly used for web development. It is known not only for its extreme ease of use, but also for its incredible versatility. Utilizing Python, experienced developers are able to create a wide variety of web-based applications; but it is particularly well-suited for building data-driven applications and for handling vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently.
Python is widely considered to be one of the best programming languages for absolute beginners as it reads similarly to plain English, making it easier for new developers to wrap their heads around it. This allows developers to gain a solid understanding of fundamental coding practices without getting tripped up by minor details that are crucial in other languages. This, combined with the fact that Python is one of the most popular coding languages in the world make it a great stepping stone for rookie developers to begin their careers in the field of programming.
All of these languages each have their own strengths and weaknesses, with some containing unique features better suited for specific tasks or platforms. Choosing the right language for you boils down to a few factors, including the size and complexity of your project, the type and style of the web application you wish to build, and the skills and experience of other developers you may be working with. Before diving headfirst into your first programming language, think carefully about the specific requirements of your project and the tools you will need to complete it.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our blog series where we will discuss the best beginner programming languages for mobile development.
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