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Software Comparison: ASP.NET vs PHP


Virtually every medium or large web site now uses some kind of server-side scripting to generate web pages and interactive features instead of static html. A number of technologies are used for this purpose, including PHP, ASP.NET, Perl, ColdFusion, and JSP. This paper will look at Microsoft’s ASP.NET and an open-source alternative, PHP, and compare them in terms of cost, performance, support, features and ease of use for web development.


Comparing ASP and PHP can be difficult because they are not exactly the same class of software. PHP is simply a server-side scripting language. The PHP homepage describes it as “a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML.”1 ASP, more properly ASP.NET, is not a language per se, and allows users to program Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) in Jscript, Vbscript, and C#, among others. ASP.NET is a little harder to define than PHP. ASP stands for Active Server Pages, and .NET, according to Microsoft, “is a set of Microsoft software technologies for connecting information, people, systems, and devices. It enables a high level of software integration through the use of Web services—small, discrete, building-block applications that connect to each other as well as to other, larger applications over the Internet.”2


Despite major structural differences, the two can and should be compared because they can be used to create the same kinds of medium-to-large, dynamic, often database-driven web sites. Server-side scripting allows sites to easily edit and update information, offer interactive features like forums and personalization, and track user traffic.

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