Sites still in Classic ASP, why?
Classic ASP is not to be confused with ASP used in the .NET framework, the two are very different, I’m talking about Classic ASP here. Classic ASP, was first distributed with IIS (Microsoft’s Internet Information Services) back in 1996, two further releases followed in 1997 and 2000. It was Microsoft’s first server-side script that was used to dynamically generate web pages, so in it’s hayday was cutting edge. However, shoot forward to now, 2008 and there are still a load of new sites developed in Classic ASP, why? Surely given the rate at which internet technologies advance something would have come along that was better? Well it did, it’s called PHP.
Why is PHP better? Well there’s two points of view for why it’s better.
From a coders point of view, coding in PHP is a hell of a lot easier with better documentation, plenty of resources available, frameworks to work in making it quicker to get the job done and you can easily adhere to best software practices. It is incredibly flexible and can connect to a variety of databases, most commonly used is MySql database which is (in my view) a better database system to use than MS SQL, it’s syntax, extra functionality and clear documentation that MySql gives me is ace and makes any expansions/requirements needed by the client, no problem to do at all. Which is what every client wants to hear, a yes that’s possible rather than a err, well, that could be a problem.
From a clients point of view – PHP is free and doesn’t need a Microsoft platform to run on (which isn’t free, you have to pay Microsoft). The database PHP uses most commonly is MySql, which is also free, unlike MS SQL (again you pay Microsoft). The resources available in PHP are vastly greater than ASP meaning whatever a client needs from their site, it’s not a problem to do in PHP. Imagine a simple image uploading tool, in ASP you have to purchase a module _just_ to handle the images, in PHP there’s a wealth of image manipulation libraries at your finger tips at no cost.
With the purchase of River Internet we acquired some estate agent clients whose sites were coded in ASP. The next step for us will be to advise them to have their sites recoded in PHP (for which we use a great MVC framework that builds in many SEO best practices as well as other useful classes) so as to ‘future-proof’ their online marketing activity (now, in the present market, becoming more and more important as traditional advertising costs escalate).
While I’m advocating PHP here, if in another 10 years time there’s a better language out there, I’m pretty confident that we’d be using that. It doesn’t pay to be stuck in your ways when it comes to internet technologies and your clients shouldn’t have to pay for your shortcomings and not keeping an eye on trends in the future.
So for the love of all things good, can we please lay Classic ASP to rest?