What is the best programming language for the job?
April 9, 2013 9:45 AM   Subscribe

For a personal project I'm working on, what would be the best programming language if I wanted the user to be able to input some text and image choices and have them receive the information back in an eBook? I've used PHP before to store and retrieve that information, but I'm not sure it could handle the conversion to an ebook.

My programming skills are rather limited, so I would probably end up hiring someone to code it for me. Advice on how to go about hiring someone specializing in that language and which questions to ask to make sure they know what they doing is also appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The best language for the job is often just the language you know best. If you're hiring someone, just go by whatever mainstream language they prefer.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:55 AM on April 9, 2013


Any of the modern "dynamic" style languages (like PHP, Ruby, and Python) would work fine and be easier/quicker than alternatives, especially if you either forgo a GUI, or do a web-based one.

The most important questions to answer are a) what format(s) do you want to support, and b) is there a good library available in the given language to manipulate that format.

For instance, here's one for working with EPUBs in PHP that seems well-regarded (on a cursory inspection):

http://sourceforge.net/projects/oplsepublibrary/
posted by TonyRobots at 9:57 AM on April 9, 2013


Best answer: The following languages have mature, free EPUB libraries available.
Java
Python
Ruby

Any of these languages would be fine. I wouldn't restrict yourself to just looking at dynamic languages; static vs. dynamic is an ongoing holy war with no resolution in sight.
posted by a snickering nuthatch at 10:37 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll second the advice above and tell you to let the programmer decide. Just make sure you're thorough in expressing what you want your application to do.
posted by antonymous at 10:40 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


My programming skills are rather limited, so I would probably end up hiring someone to code it for me.

Then let them code it in whatever they want, or you're arbitrarily restricting your pool of available developers for no benefit.
posted by jacalata at 11:19 AM on April 9, 2013


Best answer: An ePub is essentially just a collection of img and xhtml files that have been zipped. You could do it without a specialized library at all, just creating the text elements, using file utilities to copy the image elements, and invoking a compression utility. I might still use the libraries anyway, though, depending on what you're doing, safer to use something that other people have proven to be reliable rather than build your own.

Of course, this assumes that you want to use the ePub format, which has probably the lowest barrier to entry and is generally a good choice.
posted by anaelith at 3:29 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


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