The Top 9 Web Development Languages You Need To Know

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Web development began as a process for structuring static content using HTML to make it easier to exchange. Adding style with CSS came next so that a web page could provide appealing content. These web pages were static and people wanted more. Web development is well beyond these simple beginnings today. Sometimes it’s hard to know when you’re using a web application or a desktop application, or a combination of the two. There are so many possibilities for content and presentation that it’s hard to know what to choose in the way of web programming languages. However, if you review what you want to do and why you want to do it, the choice of web programming languages quickly diminishes. The website programming language you choose affects what sorts of web design coding you can do.

What are Web Programming Languages?

A programming language provides a method to tell a computer what to do. Web development languages take this process a step further and provide instructions in a specific environment; a browser or other application designed to work with HTML. Web programming languages provide a method for the developer, designer, and other individuals to communicate content in a dynamic way.

Structure and Style with HTML and CSS

No matter which programming languages for web development are chosen, they all generate some type of HTML and optionally CSS on the client-side. It pays to know both HTML and CSS as part of development skills in website design languages (those languages used for creating a user interface) and website development languages (those languages used to manipulate content). Learning HTML is not difficult because it comes down to knowing what the various tags used to structure content mean. CSS is also not hard to learn once you understand how it augments HTML tags to provide visual styling.

Striving for Dynamic Content

Website design languages, such as JavaScript, are popular as a means to provide action within a web page. Mouse over a particular area and that area does something interesting providing visual cues to the viewer. Likewise, website development languages, such as Java, allow the creation of content based on conditions, so that the content is no longer static and reflects a specific need. Webpage languages provide a compelling experience that keeps viewers focused on the content you’re providing on the web site.

Dynamic Content

Website design languages, such as JavaScript, are popular as a means to provide movement, dynamism, and more complex functionality on a web page. Mouse over a particular area and that area does something interesting providing visual cues to the viewer. Likewise, website development languages, such as Java, allow the creation of content based on conditions, so that the content is no longer static and reflects a specific need. Webpage languages provide a compelling experience that keeps viewers focused on the content you’re providing on the web site.

Choosing a Language Based on Career Goals

A mistake that is often made by people seeking a language to learn is not understanding the need to base the choice on the career they want to pursue. Someone who is actually an artist at heart may choose a backend web development language, which they find boring in a short time. What they really want is a frontend web development language so they can interact with the user directly and dazzle them with special effects. The list below groups programming languages based on development areas you can focus a career on.

  • Frontend web development languages used to create the user interface:

    • JavaScript
    • Python
    • Angular
  • Backend web development languages that create dynamic content:

    • JavaScript
    • Java
    • Python
    • Ruby
    • C#
  • Mobile development languages used specifically with mobile devices:

    • JavaScript
    • Java
    • Angular
    • Swift
    • Kotlin
  • Game development languages that lend themselves to creating game apps:

    • Java
    • Python
  • Desktop development these languages are used to create business apps:

    • Java
    • Python
    • Scala
    • C#
    • Angular
  • System programming these are used to create low level features that the user doesn’t normally interact with:

    • Java
    • C#

9 Web Development Languages To Learn Today

Understanding what you want to do and why you want to do it is a good first step. Now you need to know what makes each language compelling. The following descriptions provide a brief overview of the top nine web programming languages.

JavaScript

JavaScript is often seen as part of the HTML page. Other languages in this guide often generate JavaScript based on your application code. So, even when using another language, expect to see JavaScript. One of the most important considerations for choosing JavaScript is that the language is incredibly flexible and it’s also quite forgiving of mistakes. In addition, JavaScript is standardized across all browsers so your code works no matter where you use it. You can also use JavaScript for server-side development, but you need a third-party product like Node.js to do it. Consequently, you need to learn another product in order to use JavaScript as a complete solution when you want to generate dynamic content.

Java

Java is seen in all sorts of applications. Once you learn Java, you can create everything from desktop applications to backend code to produce dynamic content for your website. Java is also used for Android development and you see it in Internet of Things (IoT) devices. One of the reasons Java is incredibly popular is that it enjoys vast support in the form of well-maintained libraries. It’s also possible to create multi-threaded applications with Java. If you’re building a large scale website designed to handle millions of users, this is probably the best choice. However, Java comes with a significant learning curve so it’s probably not a good choice as a first language.

Python

Python is not a difficult language to learn and it enjoys strong community support in the form of libraries. In fact, Python is now used by many school systems as an aid to learning how to program. You can use Python for a wide variety of tasks that includes machine learning, statistical analysis, image processing, and computer vision. To use Python for backend web development, you must rely on add-on products such as the Django framework. If you’re creating a website that focuses on statistics, such as a weather forecast generation site, then Python is likely the best choice because so many of the required features are built right in.

Ruby

Ruby is a scripting language. It provides support for the Model-View-Controller (MVC) method of designing websites through Ruby on Rails. The use of MVC can separate what the user sees from the background data, so that it becomes possible to create multiple views of the same data with less effort. In addition, using MVC tends to reduce application errors and make team development more efficient. Ruby has a community that offers great support which is a large part of learning any language and making it work for practical purposes.

C#

C# is one of the languages supported by the .NET Framework. Originally, C# focused on desktop application development. Now it works on Linux systems and mobile devices. Unlike many other language options, getting the right version of C# allows you to create applications of nearly any size and scalability without investing in third party products. In addition, C# supports development using several models and has templates that streamline the development process. If you have a large project that involves working with a lot of backend databases, this language is a good choice. This language comes with a particularly steep learning curve and community support is sometimes lacking.

Scala

Scala is an offshoot of Java that supports functional programming techniques, a method of programming that follows pure math principles. There are many advantages to functional programming, including far less potential for coding errors. Functional languages also naturally support concurrent programming, which means that you can create a multi-threaded application that can support millions of users and scale well. Because it’s a strongly typed language, engineers can create their own data types and rest assured that doing so won’t cause problems. This is the language to use if site reliability is topmost on your list.

Angular

Angular is based on TypeScript and provides a flexible, component-based development environment. One of the advantages of using Angular is that you can turn static HTML documents into dynamic content. In addition, Angular tracks dependencies between components so you don’t find yourself with a dead application due to a seemingly small change in one component. This language is a work in progress; Google continually updates its functionality to provide more of the features that developers need to create great looking websites. The downside of using Angular is that it can produce sluggish webpages and it also has a steep learning curve.

Swift

Swift is a very specific programming language because you use it exclusively for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS development. However, the iOS market is immense and there are many kinds of development you can perform. This language’s advantages are that it’s both safe and speedy. You can create fast applications with only a little code using it. It’s also possible to extend Swift to add new features. Unfortunately, this language suffers from poor interoperability with other languages and language tools. There is also no cross-platform development potential.

Kotlin

Kotlin is a general purpose language, meaning it can perform a wide variety of tasks. Its claim to fame is Android development. You can use it for either client-side or server-side web development. In addition, it works well for mobile development. Many developers prefer Kotlin to Java because it provides type safety and you can create an application with fewer lines of code. In addition, Kotlin’s learning curve is smaller than Java. Kotlin is one hundred percent compatible with Java, so you can use all of the Java libraries. This is the language to use if you need the potential of Java, but don’t want to delve into all of the Java coding details.

Conclusion

There is a deluge of information on the web seeking to convince you that a particular web programming language is better than the others. It usually comes down to personal taste and goals. Choosing the right language for the right reason makes learning that language less difficult. No matter which of these languages you choose, Linode makes a great platform to install on and use the language of your choice. You can create a Linode of just the right size to experiment with your language and then move up in size as your web application development takes shape. The ability to resize as needed helps keep your costs low.

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