After evaluating several languages, tools and environments, here is what I finally decided on to deploy RoadRaceResults.com.
The criteria were:
- excellent development environment
- site will be all dynamic pages
- quick execution speed, site must be very responsive
- support and documentation easy to access, many other developers to tap into
- hosting of chosen technologies widely available and competively prices
- compatibility with all client platform
- compatibility with at least one common server platform
- server logging, monitoring and statistics
Factors that were not very important, if at all:
- learning curve
- third party components availability
I needed to choose technologies for:
-web application server
- server-side application development and hosting
- page markup
- some client-side functionality
- development envisome client-side functionality
I always lean toward technologies that are low-level to gain speed at the expense of complexity. I have a great deal of experience with CGI and some ISAPI filter experience so that wasn't out of the question. Those would result in the most responsive sites. But cost was a factor here and hosting was more limited for these. I would have had to co-locate the host right from day one if I went this way. Eventually, I will need to co-locate but I wanted to wait to grow into that.
I have experience with ASP.NET and some ASP experience so those were each a possibility. My experience with these is that there is a bit more overhead than I am comfortable with. In addition, my tendency to low-level solutions pushed me away from these but I seriously considered .NET. Hosting is getting quite easy to find and cost effective.
Finally, I jumped on the bandwagon and selected PHP and mySQL even though I hadn't every used them. I was up to speed quite quickly and everything is going great so far. Easy to learn. Quick responsive site. Easy to deploy. Widely available hosting. Cost effective. etc. etc.
For the development environment I tried several CSS editors, HTML editors, graphics tools, PHP development environments and FTP clients. I'm not going to take the time to list all the tools I didn't choose but suffice to say, I tried almost everything.
Here's what I finally choose:
- HTML Pad or Rapid CSS from Blumentals (RapidPHP from Blumentals didn't make the cut though)
- Zend Studio Client (excellent PHP debugging)
- Navicat 2004 (mySQL client)
- Flash FTP
- Easy GIF Animator (Blumentals)
- Corel Draw
- MS Paint
- JASC Aftershot (for simple filtering and transforming images)
I'm still deciding on the site monitoring and site analysis tools.
WebTrends seems very good so far.
Save yourself some time. If you're building a portal with medium traffic then these tools will allow you to deploy a responsive, reliable site in a minimum amount of time.