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Starting a Tech Business: A Practical Guide for Anyone Creating or Designing Applications or Software by Alex Cowan

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Understanding Development Tools

This chapter provides a brief primer on system development tools. Unless you have a background in software development, I don't recommend making a decision for your team on what technology tools they use based on this section. The idea here is to give you a succinct synopsis of the most popular development tools as well as a few foundation concepts so you can ask the right questions when collaborating with your team.

What's in a Language?

Four of the most popular languages in the world of web application development are Java, PHP, Ruby, and .NET. In the abstract, most programming languages are similar. If you asked your average web developer to give you a quick layman's characterization of the four, they'd probably say something like this:

Java is good for heavy-duty development (like the Enable Quiz engine).

PHP is good for lightweight development (controllers to support front ends, like the interface to Enable Quiz).

Ruby is a more modern take on what PHP sought to do and has more structure.

.NET is for developers that prefer things prepackaged and don't mind paying some licensing to Microsoft for platforms.

Though the reality is more nuanced, those glib statements have some validity. Looking at it from an economic perspective, you'll want to ask the following three questions regarding technology selection.

1. How well does our selected technology dovetail with our customers' operating environments?
2. What is the quality and availability of ...

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