Often, we get asked by clients which technology platform is best for their site or application: Windows or Linux. Unlike some development houses, we keep an open mind and realize that both platforms have something to offer. In fact, we excel in developing with PHP on Linux as well as we do with C# and ASP.NET on Windows. We strongly believe in using the right tool for the job.
So how do we answer that question? Instead of basing it on personal preference, there are a few factors that we consider when making a recommendation. Perhaps this list will help you make a decision on your project as well.
- Are you upgrading or extending an existing system? If so, what technology is it built upon? Upgrading a system can often be much cheaper if you stick with the same technology. This shouldn’t be the sole factor in your decision, but it can be a powerful one. If what you have already works, don’t reinvent the wheel without a very good reason.
- Where are you hosting the site? What platforms do they support and what is the difference in price? For a professional web hosting company, this will really be a non-issue, since they will likely offer both Microsoft and Linux hosting at very comparable rates. In fact, PHP runs so well on Windows now, that this may not really sway you one way or the other. But if you’re forced to host in-house, this could have an impact.
- Do you have in-house developers that will need to maintain the code? What is their skill set? Remember, the cost and effort of a web site is not in its initial development only. In fact, if your project is successful, it will likely be maintained and supported for many, many years. If you would like some of this to be done in-house, make sure you pick a technology that they are familiar with (or willing to learn). On a broader subject, make sure you pick a technology that is widely supported by third-party companies as well. If some development company suggests a programming language only used by a handful of people, you may be hard pressed to find support if they are no longer available. Thankfully, PHP and .NET developers abound in the Milwaukee area.
- Does your site/application need to integrate with any other systems? For example, if your application needs access to a database that is not supported on one platform, this could be a deal breaker. Hopefully, your integration is done over open protocols and web standards, but if that’s not an option, integration may be an important factor in which technology platform you pick.
By the time you’ve thought through those questions, you may have a much clearer picture of which technology stack is right for you. If not, then perhaps either would suit you and you can make a decision based on the developer’s recommendation or even their personal preference. In my case, it’s no secret that PHP is my first love. In addition to writing for PHP publications and organizing the Milwaukee PHP user group, I also regularly blog about PHP in Milwaukee.
Despite all this, I am very careful to not let this color my decision. At Orion, we put the client’s needs first and only let our personal preference come into play if no stronger factors prevail. If you’d like to discuss this further with us, fill out our contact form and someone will get in touch with you as soon as possible.