While there are many programming languages out there for a web developer to choose from, the languages market is generally dominated by two competing language giants: ASP.NET and PHP. Either language can be used to complete any given project, but both have advantages and disadvantages. The dilemma lies in deciding which set of pros and cons best suits a particular company's web developing needs.

ASP.NET's flexibility and object-oriented features are its main advantages. ASP.NET got its name from Microsoft's old ASP technology. However, the new .NET Framework and CLR provides for seamless interface with other programming languages, such as Visual Basic.NET and C#. This means the programming language of a project can be changed mid-project without the need to rewrite everything. It also means multiple developers can work on the same project using other languages, such as Visual Basic.NET or C#.

Another advantage is that ASP.NET's library is task-based. Because the library is organized into inheritable classes related to a given task, such as XML or image editing, developers can save time on many common development tasks. Visual Studio.NET also saves developers time, provided it is installed on a computer fast enough to allow the program to function at its peak. This massive development IDE is equipped with built-in debugging functions. It also incorporates IntelliSense, an auto-completion feature that eliminates the need for developers to memorize methods and variables.

The main disadvantages of ASP.NET and Visual Studio are that they are expensive and their upkeep is resource intensive. Most ASP.NET applications run on IIS. Additionally, ASP.NET uses far more web server resources than PHP or other languages, so it requires either better servers or a greater number of them. Finally, Windows and IIS have a documented history of bugs and vulnerabilities in the programs have been prone to exploitation in the past.

PHP, on the other hand, is relatively inexpensive and secure and has several of its own advantages. PHP works by teaming up with HTML to display dynamic elements on a web page. The most notable thing about PHP is that it is commonly included as the "P" in LAMP architecture. LAMP is a software bundle that includes Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. These are all inexpensive, scalable, and secure web applications. The bundle is a popular way to distribute these applications.

PHP is very flexible and adaptable. It can be used in a wide variety of contexts because it is available for many more operating systems than ASP.NET. It also runs on all of the most popular web servers and can be used with a large number of relational database management systems. Because of this flexibility and adaptability, PHP has a wide Internet installation base. Servers with PHP currently host over 18 million Internet domains.

Of course, PHP has a few drawbacks. PHP can only parse code within its delimiters, and anything outside the delimiters is sent directly to the output. PHP also lacks namespacing, which can result in class naming collisions. Additionally, variables in PHP are not really considered to have a type, and type checking is very loose, which can potentially lead to problems. Finally, despite the high quality of much of the free or inexpensive software out there, some big corporations feel the low price of PHP suggests that it is not worth buying.

Both ASP.NET and PHP have their strengths and weaknesses. PHP is inexpensive, secure, fast, and reliable. ASP.NET may be easier to use and maintain because of its class library system. Since both languages can essentially accomplish the same things, the choice between these two giants of programming language really comes down to what a company is looking for regarding price, speed, security, and reliability.