The Best Programming Languages for Web Development in 2023
Web developers have every reason to be optimistic about their industry's future, as projections show that it will grow at a remarkable rate of 23% by 2031.
We highly recommend getting into web development if you want to leverage this field’s growth potential and position yourself for a high-paying occupation.
But where should you start?
The first step is to learn an ideal web development language. However, the world of web development boasts an abundance of programming languages, leaving one wondering: which programming language is the best for web development?
Selecting the optimal programming language involves considering multiple elements. These factors include evaluating project demands, experience with specific languages, and projected outcomes.
In this article, we will cover:
- What web development is
- The different types of web development
- Factors to consider when choosing a programming language for web development
Let’s dive in.
What is Web Development?
Web development is the process of building dynamic and functional websites. It involves building user-facing content, configuring network security, and creating mechanisms to handle back-end scripting. For this to happen, web developers use various technologies and languages to create functional and visually appealing websites.
Web development is slightly different from software engineering. A critical disparity exists between web developers and software engineers despite both being focused on programming. The key distinction lies in their professional roles—while web developers specialize in building websites, software engineers can handle diverse applications based on their skills repertoire.
What are the Different Types of Web Development?
Web developers have different routes they can follow depending on their interests—there are three possible paths:
- Back-end development: Back-end developers use programming languages like Python or PHP to create the server-side code that powers a website's functionality.
- Full-stack development: Full-stack developers have expertise in both realms of design: they can bridge the gap between front-end aesthetics and back-end logic. Developers in this space typically have more work scope and responsibilities than their specialist colleagues as they understand front-end and back-end web design processes.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Programming Language for Web Development
If you’ve been in the web development space for a while, you may have noticed that each programming language works differently. Some programming languages are faster than others. Others are better suited to specific scenarios within a website. With this in mind, you may need to evaluate programming language based on different factors:
- Documentation and availability of resources: Choose a language with good documentation and plenty of resources online. In addition, check to see that your language of choice has a large developer community who can assist when you need help.
Programming Languages for Web Development
- Easy learning curve
- Many resources available to help you learn
- Vulnerable to security issues such as cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks
Pros and Cons of TypeScript
- Since TypeScript is a statically typed language, it can prevent errors and make code more maintainable
- Thanks to TypeScript’s popularity, there are lots of resources available to help you learn it
Since its inception in the 1990s, Python has stood out as a versatile language preferred by developers involved in web development. Its simple syntax makes this language appealing even among beginners just starting their journey into web development.
Those experienced with Python know they can leverage different frameworks such as Flask or Django when building out backend applications. On compatibility, Python provides native support for C and offers highly reliable ways to integrate with other programming languages, such as C++, Java, Rust, and Go.
Contributing significantly to this language's growth are large support networks provided by developer communities where crucial networking collaborations occur. Such resources provide continual cutting-edge library updates targeting essential fields like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Ultimately, this makes Python an attractive solution beyond just web development skills.
Use Cases: Besides web development, Python is a popular choice for data science because it has a wealth of libraries that one can use for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analysis.
Pros and Cons of Python
- Easy learning curve.
- Large and active developer community.
- Not as memory efficient when compared to other languages.
- Not ideal for some tasks, such as low-level programming.
There’s no conversation around web development without mentioning HTML and CSS. In fact, HTML has existed since the dawn of web development.
Even though HTML and CSS aren’t technically programming languages, they remain the backbone of web development. Both languages have grown exceptionally well since the early days of the World Wide Web.
Use Cases: HTML is used to develop the structure of a web page, while CSS styles its appearance. HTML and CSS have common use cases, including creating websites, building web applications, and creating email templates and PDFs.
Pros and Cons of HTML/CSS
- Easy to learn.
- Flexible and powerful.
- It can be time-consuming to use and work with, especially for pages that require a complex user interface.
- Difficult to debug.
- Challenging to make it usable by people with disabilities.
As you begin exploring the field of web development, pay attention to the importance of PHP—especially if you want to focus on back-end programming. While other languages like Python might steal the limelight, PHP remains an incredibly popular option well-suited for beginners.
While there are some limitations in terms of syntax and consistency across different versions over time, PHP still gets the job done when it comes to powerful backend web development. It is also a core technology underpinning popular content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.
PHP’s array of frameworks tailored for back-end API development makes it stand out from other programming languages. These frameworks include popular options like Laravel, CodeIgniter, and Symfony.
Use Cases: Expect PHP to appear in different environments, such as general website creation (naturally), e-commerce sites where complex functionality is needed, or custom content management platforms.
Pros and Cons of PHP
- Easy to scale a web application using PHP.
- PHP is prone to security vulnerabilities.
- PHP is complex to master, especially for large applications.
- On performance, PHP is not as fast as some other languages, such as C# and Go.
Web development has come a long way since its inception, and staying ahead of emerging trends requires ongoing adaptation to new technologies and modern tools available within various programming languages.
A crucial factor when embarking on your journey to becoming a successful developer is understanding which programming language is the best for web development.
Our guide includes several excellent options that provide strong foundations for launching a career in this exciting industry. In addition, we hope it has equipped you with highly desirable skill sets valued by employers across all sectors of this market space.