As a newbie learning to code, the first question that you are faced with is: which programming language to choose? The purists would say it doesn’t matter. The customers don’t care if your site is coded in ASP.NET or PHP. As long as it’s solving a problem for them, it might as well have been written in Punjabi, no one gives a shit.
But this is one of those decisions that are less reversible down the road. So I wanted to make an informed decision. It came down to a choice between C#, Python, PHP or Ruby. I decided to tap on the infinite wisdom of the internet by asking questions. Its quite funny to see how quickly a shitstorm can be created with such a subjective and personal topic.
Note: The SO community DOES NOT LIKE SUCH QUESTIONS.
This was the best advice in my opinion:
Working with a language is usually a personal preference. Pick a language out of the 3 you mentioned and build something relatively simple:
- One simple web page
- How media(css, js) is handled in the framework
- Connect to a database
- One table to store your data
- A form to save information into the table
- Deploy it live
Do the above with all 3 of the languages and pick the one that makes your life easy. You won’t know which language fits your personality until you try them all to achieve the same task.
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
I went back to basics. My goal is to launch another startup. To do that, I needed to hunt for a technical cofounder. The personality that a technical cofounder ought to exhibit would lead him to naturally explore new languages and technology beyond his comfort zone. In this way, I generally regard C# as a safe corporate language to pursue a career in – not quite the hacker trait. From what I have read, PHP is just an inferior language to Python and Ruby. Even though a lot of people are using PHP because it is easy to get started, it seems to be easier to develop bad habits with PHP. Why jump on a bandwagon when you obviously know is broken? Granted there might be a bigger talent pool to choose from, all it means is there are more bad PHP programmers to sift through IMO.
So it came down to Python or Ruby. This is where it got a bit more arbitrary. In terms of popularity, Python and Ruby are probably the ‘in’ languages to know now. So my hacker technical cofounder would probably know either if not both. At this point, I did a quick search for number of questions tagged with Python vs. Ruby on Stackoverflow.
When I did it 1.5 months ago:
- Python – 43,082
- Ruby – 16,836
- Python – 48,040
- Ruby – 18,937
More questions asked in Python roughly means more people to answer my newbie questions down the road. So with that, I chose the snake over the gem.