In this article, we’ll explore the best programming languages for web development. Web development is a vast field with a lot of opportunity. It’s constantly evolving, and offers a lot of potential for career growth. In order to be a web developer, you need to have a good understanding of at least one programming language.
However, the type of programming language a developer will use often depends on the types of development and specific aspects of the project, and it also depends on the developer’s preference. Let’s look at some of the factors you need to consider when deciding what languages to learn for web development.
Programming languages are sets of rules that provide a structure for computer programming. They’re used to create specific instructions that can be executed by a machine, usually a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs to solve specific problems, or to express algorithms.
Some programming languages are designed for specific tasks, while others are more general-purpose. For example, SQL is a domain-specific language used for querying databases, while Python is a general-purpose language that can be used for a wide range of tasks.
For the sake of context, let’s say that programming languages can be classified into many different types, based on their purpose, level of abstraction, and syntax. However, much of that — such as low level programming and procedural programming — isn’t of much interest to us when it comes to modern web programming, so we’ll focus just on certain specific groups.
The main types of programming languages are as follows.
Domain-specific languages are designed to be used for specific tasks. For example, SQL is a domain-specific language used for querying databases, while HTML is a domain-specific language used for creating web pages.
Markup languages are used to create documents that contain structured data. Markup languages are not executable on their own, but they can be used to create documents that can be executed by other programs. Examples of markup languages include HTML, XML, and JSON (note quite, but let’s go with that categorization).
Additionally, programming languages can be classified as either compiled or interpreted.
Compiled languages are converted into machine code that can be directly executed by a computer. Examples of compiled languages include C++ and Java.
As an additional and useful category, scripting languages are designed to automate tasks. They’re often used to write code that interacts with other software programs. For example, a script might be used to automate the process of creating a new user account in a web application.
Examples of scripting languages include Bash, PERL, and PowerShell.
There’s no single best programming language that will suit all needs. Different programming languages are better suited for different tasks. A developer needs to assess the task at hand in order to make the best decision.
To be clear, the so-called “full” stack involves combining the backend (server side) with the frontend (client side).
Among other things, the Jamstack does the following:
For more on this, see:
At the end of the day, it’s important to note that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to programming, so even if you don’t become a jack of all trades, you’ll surely end up learning and using a bit of this with a bit of that.
The world of programming languages is vast and always evolving. It can be tough to keep up with the latest and greatest, especially when you’re just getting started. Here are eight of the best programming languages to learn in 2023.
Consider that each language has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you need to create a complex web application, you’ll want to use a language that’s easy to scale and has a large ecosystem of libraries and frameworks.
On the other hand, if you’re just creating a simple website, you might be able to get away with using a less complex language. When possible, try to choose a language that you’ll comfortable with in the long run, and that will make your life easier.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in HTML or XML. CSS is used to style all HTML elements, including the document’s layout, colors, and fonts.
CSS is easy to learn and has a wide range of applications. It’s a good choice for beginners as well as experienced developers.
The pros and cons are pretty much the same as for HTML.
PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) is a server-side scripting language. It’s used to create dynamic web pages. PHP code is executed on the server, and the results are then sent to the browser.
PHP is free, open-source software released under the PHP License, also first released in 1995. Since then, PHP has grown to become one of the most popular server-side scripting languages and is used by millions of websites, including Wikipedia and Facebook.
C# (pronounced “C sharp”) is a general-purpose, high-level, multi-paradigm programming language created by Microsoft. It’s used to create desktop and web applications. C# is similar to C++, but it has some unique features and a toolset also provided by Microsoft (such as Visual Studio) that makes for a better developer experience.
First released in 2000, C# quite a popular programming language, especially among .NET developers. And as a multi-purpose, object-oriented programming (OOP) language, it can even be used to develop games! So if you don’t want to limit yourself the web development, C# might be a good fit for you.
But this is an oversimplification that doesn’t really do justice to TypeScript. TypeScript dramatically improves the workflow of developing web applications and working with managing projects in general.
TypeScript was also created by Microsoft and first released in 2012. It has become increasingly popular in recent years among frontend developers (especially those using Angular, React and Vue.js).
Python is a widely used, high-level, interpreted programming language created by Guido van Rossum in 1991. Python is known for its simple syntax and readability. It’s used for creating web applications, scientific computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and more.
Also, like C#, Python is a multi-purpose language that can open a door further than web development, very especially into the data science and AI fields.
Go (often referred to as “Golang”) is a free and open-source programming language created at Google in 2009. Go is a statically typed, compiled language that feels like a dynamic language. It’s used for creating web applications, distributed systems, and more.
Go is a relatively new language, but it has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It’s especially popular among developers who come from a Unix or Linux background.
Alright, so you already have an overview of the main programming languages for web development. But which one should you choose as a beginner?
There are a few things to consider before making your decision:
Once you feel comfortable with these three languages and would like to delve into the backend, you can start learning more specialized languages like PHP, Python, and Go, or even C#. These languages will give you more control over how your website or application functions and looks.
Further, if you’d like to keep your prospects beyond web development, learning Python is a great idea, as it’s not only one of the most popular languages, but also one of the easiest to learn. Additionally, Python is used in a variety of fields like data science, machine learning, and more; so you’ll be able to use your skills in many different ways.
For plenty of resources on all of these languages, including access to a huge library and books, fresh content weekly, consider a subscription to the SitePoint Premium Library (pricing). And here are some tips for learning programming languages faster.
As stated, it’s important to learn multiple languages so that you can be prepared for any situation. The more languages you know, the better equipped you’ll be to handle whatever comes your way.
No matter which languages you choose to learn, the most important thing is to keep practicing and expanding your skills. The world of web development is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay curious and up to date. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to build amazing websites that people will love.
Lucero is a programmer and entrepreneur with a feel for Python, data science and DevOps. Raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he’s a musician who loves languages (those you use to talk to people) and dancing.
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