Insights | Development

Why should you care about development languages and which one should you pick?

13 November 2020

Development languages unlock the true power of the internet.

While markup and styling languages HTML and CSS are the visual language of the web, development languages provide the tools to deliver dynamic content and offer rich experiences. Everything from normal tasks like registration forms to exciting web applications, augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence. They all require development languages to make them possible.

What options are available?

There are a wealth of possibilities with their own strengths, here are a few of the most common languages that you’ll encounter on the web.


Simple, versatile, powerful and secure. Python is an excellent general purpose language, it powers everything from web development to machine learning and A.I. applications. It provides the foundation for popular web frameworks like Django and the next generation CMS Wagtail. Google, Facebook, Netflix and NASA are a few of the more famous users of Python.

Python development is a little different to other languages which can prove challenging if you’re used to a more traditional development language like PHP or Java, but if you can get past that it’s a great fit for most projects.


Easy to learn and widely used across the web. PHP is likely to be the first language that you’ll come across. It has lost some popularity in recent years mainly to Python and Node.JS but is still used by many companies. Etsy, Facebook, and MailChimp all use PHP for parts of their services.

While it’s not our first choice for development these days, PHP is still a very useful language to learn, the incredibly popular CMS WordPress is based on PHP, and web frameworks Symfony and Laravel both use PHP.

Javascript and Node.js

Javascript is the only language in this list that can be run both on a server and directly in a web browser. This can be useful if you only want to learn one language. Pretty much every company on the web uses Javascript in some capacity to run code in the browser, and companies like LinkedIn, PayPal, IBM and Amazon Web Services use Node.js to run Javascript on servers.

There are many web frameworks and libraries available for Javascript, including Angular, React, Vue.js, and Ember. These frameworks and libraries make it easier to create complex applications. React is heavily used in WordPress 5 for component generation.

Simple to learn but powerful. It’s a useful language for many tasks and is an essential part of any web developer’s toolbox.


Probably the most powerful language on this list, it can be difficult to learn and generally it takes longer to create applications in Java than other web development languages. 

It’s strengths are that it can be very fast and efficient, and very secure if care is taken when developing an application. It’s best suited to large web applications that would be hard to maintain in languages like PHP. 

Which one should I choose?

There is no perfect language, they all have advantages and disadvantages, but Python or Javascript would be ideal choices for a first language. Python with Django is excellent if you’d like to create more complex web applications or want to develop Wagtail websites.

Javascript has the advantage of being able to run within HTML code, you can start experimenting with it within your existing web pages so that could be a good first language to learn. Learning Javascript+React and PHP would give you the ability to create custom WordPress components.

There are a huge amount of free tutorials on the web for all these languages, so you should find it easy to start whichever language you choose. Good luck on your software development journey! 

If you have a question about development languages, or would like to speak to us about developing applications, get in touch.

Published by

Michael East

Full stack developer