Questions & Answers

Posted by Mike Stoddart on 2014-06-19 10:39:52
Title: When you have ideas for websites you want to prototype, what platforms, languages, technologies (dat...
Category: Technology

When you have ideas for websites you want to prototype, what platforms, languages, technologies (databases/operating systems), PAASes/SAASes/IAASes do you prefer? And how do you scale them from prototype to live?


Tony Tomasone
2014-06-27 16:08:54

Hi Mike,

For users who aren't familiar with those terms, I'm including some definitions. Usually associated with different types of cloud computing services commonly referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). I'm assuming you here you are talking about sites in the context of a small and medium sized business. For many small businesses, it really makes sense to make use of cloud-based services for many of your technology needs.

My suggestions is to pick your hosting platform first which will scale well first, and then use that to guide your other downstream technology choices. The most popular cloud-based hosting services are Windows Azure (WA), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google App Engine (GAE). Windows Azure and AWS currently allows for many more technology options than GAE. GAE currently officially supports only Python, and Java (although Go and PHP are in experimental status). Support for data storage in GAE is through BigTable or MySQL.

Some of the busiest sites in the world use many of these languages so it's hard to recommend one. For example Facebook uses PHP and MySQL whereas Twitter is based on Ruby and MySQL. I suggest you also consider availability of resources to help you as your site grows. There's great availability of skilled PHP developers out there to help you with your goals, and the frameworks and Content Managements Systems (CMS) available for it are quite mature. Content management systems speed up your development and maintenance times for many sites. There are also some PHP frameworks that simplify accessing a database for quick prototypes, but often you need to refactor those for performance as your site grows.

Have a look at this answer to a related question which might also help clarify:

Hope that helps,

Tony Tomasone
Chief Technology Officer, - Arlene Dickinson Enterprises