WebDev to the ^nth
September 11, 2008 5:55 PM   Subscribe

DevFilter: Building first web app, resources & advice?

Long story short, I'm at an intermediate level with Rails and PHP. I'm being tasked with building a SaaS app that is fairly API intensive. Between the two, Rails & PHP, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each in a large-scale deployment and being a single developer?

What web sites and/or books would be good resources for code examples and design strategies (A List Apart is to Web Design as ____ is to Web Application Development)?

posted by emptyinside to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Without more detail, I'm afraid I can't help. But regardless, I'd recommend Django. A month ago, I didn't know anything about it. Today, I just showed our Associate IT Director an App I created with it, and she liked it. Maybe it'll meet your needs?
posted by fvox13 at 7:19 PM on September 11, 2008

Wow, another option. Not exactly what I was looking for, but helpful regardless. What additional details would be helpful?
posted by emptyinside at 10:55 PM on September 11, 2008

Heya. I don't know nearly as much about rails as I do PHP, but I will say a few things:

- I hear rails (Ruby on Rails specifically) being touted by a lot of my friends/colleagues as being superior to pretty much everything else in regards to scalability. I'm not a rails programmer myself, but that's what I hear.
- I've developed some very extensive PHP websites, with as much as a few 100k uniques per month. I've not had any problems with scalability.
- There are a shit load of tutorials for anything you want to do with PHP
- PHP is pretty secure if you take the time to guard yourself against SQL injection, lots of tutorials for that as well.
posted by calvinfr at 12:36 AM on September 12, 2008

I recently started learning RoR (Ruby on Rails, for those who don't know), and according to a friend who's well-versed in that and PHP, RoR does everything PHP can, without you having to deal with SQL statements and such. How that scales to large sites, I'm not sure, but I can see the potential that Rails has in that area.

There's a crapload of documentation for Rails, on RoR's own website and Peepcode, and just as much for PHP, though I haven't found anything to my liking for the latter. I do have to note that documentation for Rails may be dated since they released version 2.0 last December, which was a huge overhaul from 1.0, and a lot of tutorials are based on the older version.
posted by curagea at 1:29 PM on September 12, 2008

It's hard to say anything specific without knowing the particulars of the project, but here's what I'd do.

Get a list of frameworks you're considering. Go through all of their tutorials, from installation to building whatever web 2.0 app du jour they use as an example. Take notes, and when you've run through them all, make your decision based on which strengths are most relevant to you and which weakness are least costly.

All that said, my go-to framework these days is also Django (partly because I think Python is a better language than either Ruby or PHP, partly because the automatically generated admin interface is pretty useful, and partly because I think the WSGI, which Django speaks, is a Good Thing). Django's been around for years, but they just hit 1.0. All that really means is they finally have some API stability.
posted by amery at 2:39 PM on September 12, 2008

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