PHP, ASP, ColdFusion, What’s the difference?


Hang around web developers often enough and you’ll hear talk of PHP, ASP and ColdFusion. It can get rather confusing, especially if you don’t know anything about web development. So, what’s the difference between PHP, ASP and ColdFusion?

PHP is a server-side scripting language. It is designed for web development, but can also be used effectively as a general-purpose programming language. In its early days, PHP stood for Personal Home Page. Now it stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

Many web developers like PHP because it can be easily mixed with HTML code or used in combination with templating engines and web frameworks. PHP is free software and has been widely ported. It can be deployed on most web servers and nearly all operating systems and platforms for free. This makes it a powerful and cost effective option for developers working under budgetary constraints.

ASP stands for Active Server Pages. It is sometimes referred to as Classic ASP or ASP Classic. It was the first server-side script engine for dynamically generated web pages from Microsoft. Today, ASP pages with Internet Information Services is supported on all versions of IIS and will be supported on Windows 8 for a minimum of 10 years from its release date.

ColdFusion is a commercial rapid web application development platform. The programming language used with the platform is often just called ColdFusion, although its proper name is ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML). The original purpose for ColdFusion was to make it easier to connect simple HTML pages to a database. Over time, it was developed into a robust platform with an IDE and comprehensive scripting language. Today, ColdFusion includes advanced features for enterprise integration and the development of rich Internet applications.

It is distinctive because of its scripting language ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML). CFML is comparable to ASP, JSP and PHP in its purpose and features. However, its tag syntax is closer to HTML. Its script syntax is most similar to JavaScript. Developers use generally ColdFusion for data-driven websites and intranets.

Now that you know a little about PHP, ASP and ColdFusion, your communications with your web developer may be more productive. If you are looking for web development services then consider giving us a call for a free quote.