Dot NET and PHP are two different web development platforms used for the design of dynamic web pages with database support. As an integrated development environment (IDE), PHP currently leads the market, but the choice between PHP and Microsoft’s .NET comes down to the user’s needs, budget, existing software infrastructure, and expertise.
A significant part of PHP’s dominance comes from its open-source (free) availability. .NET requires a license, though Microsoft has made free – albeit limited – versions available for download. As with any open-source product, users must seek support through third parties. The higher cost of .NET also brings full support and documentation, perhaps making it more attractive to neophyte web designers who prefer having a phone number to call when encountering a problem. .NET also possesses the built-in reporting tools most users have come to expect from Microsoft products.
Generally speaking, PHP enjoys more flexibility and customizability than its rival. PHP offers compatibility across divergent operating systems and platforms, while Microsoft offers support for .NET only under the Windows Server operating system. PHP works with a broader array of databases than .NET; the former supports most notable databases on the market, while the latter functions only Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Object Linking and Embedding-Database (OLE-DB), and Open Database Connectivity (ODBC). The exception to PHP’s customization dominance stems in .NET’s support for over 25 programming languages including Visual Basic .NET and C#; PHP supports only C, C++, and some object-oriented programming concepts.
Some programmers want their IDE to emphasize tools and plug-ins over coding and syntax, and .NET takes the edge in this area. Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE allows programmers to efficiently and quickly explore their code, taking the emphasis away from coding and placing it more on design and development. PHP does, in fact, receive IDE support from various third-party vendors, but Visual Studio benefits from Microsoft’s standardized development environment.
Likewise, .NET simplifies the onerous task of debugging with the inclusion of detailed tracing and environment information, debugging of pages while executing, and built-in reporting tools such as SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). Again, PHP’s open-source nature doesn’t lend itself to a unified support system; web designers must instead rely on third-party products of variable quality.
In short, .NET sacrifices versatility for relative ease of use, while PHP requires intensive third-party application to achieve the same level of user-friendliness. Those intimate with web design and development might well prefer PHP’s free cost and flexibility over .NET’s licensing fees and more structured approach. Though the “PHP community” is dedicated and knowledgeable, some web designers might not care for the additional hassle of developing ties with it and therefore will gravitate toward .NET’s more extensive support community.