Looking at the headline, you might do a double-take and exclaim, “Say what?!?” “Are you kidding?”
And because we here at 1WD want the members of our community to be on top of their games, we created a list of the different languages, libraries, frameworks, databases, and CSS that could help you become a better web designer.
Like our languages, there are also several computer languages you can use to issue a command to your computer. Each of these languages is not better than the other, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Python is an object-type multi-purpose programming language that works on the Django framework. It is popularly used in mathematical calculations because it makes solving mathematical problems as easy as writing down your own thought in pen and paper. In addition, Python is also easy to learn, can be written once, and run on any computer without having to change the program.
Running on the Ruby on Rails framework, Ruby is similar to Python. Besides Rails, Ruby is used for almost everything from web applications to desktop GUI applications, and even web servers, intelligent libraries, threaded databases servers, low-level system utilities, picture recognition engines, and throughout computing.
PHP is the language used by WordPress. But basically, though, it is used to add more functionality to your website which can’t be done by using HTML alone. PHP can do a lot of things from performing calculations, interacting with MySQL databases, creating simple and dynamic graphics, such as the dynamic Twitter signatures.
Go or Golang is a new language from Google and is becoming popular in the programming circles. According to Google’s own FAQ, it allows you to compile a large Go program in a single computer in just a few seconds, has a model for software construction making it easy to conduct dependency analysis, and avoids much of the overhead of C-style include files and libraries. Despite its popularity, we don’t recommend to migrate your program to it just yet because it is on its early stages and development.
ObjC is the main language behind Apple’s OS X and iOS as well as their APIs, Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. This simple language which includes Smalltalk-style messaging to the C language is an extension of the standard ANSI C. ObjC is an object-oriented language which features great object orientation, elegance, and low-level ability.
Swift is the new programming language Apple uses for its OS X and iOS apps. The new language is easy to learn and understand even by those who are just starting to learn code. What makes Swift popular is how it provides fast real-time feedback and its ability to be seamlessly incorporated to the ObjC code.
Elixir is another newcomer which utilizes Erlang’s great features. Those who have used it has compared it to Ruby in terms of its syntax. Elixir is a highly scalable language which uses its lightweight processes to run in all your cores. Its best features when it comes to performance, however, is its occurency.
Frameworks make it easier to build and work with programming languages. What it basically does is it takes all the repetitive and difficult tasks of setting up a web application and it performs the dirty task for you or make the task easier for you.
It is a full-stack framework which uses, obviously, Ruby and covers both the back and front end of design. Twitter and Basecamp are two of the most popular sites which have Ruby on Rails at its core. One of its greatest advantage is it allows you to really focus on building complex websites by eliminating lame tasks, such as handling database communications, processing Ajax updates, or providing a template system for handling layouts and page sections.
Django is another full-stack framework but uses Python. Its clean and pragmatic design encourages rapid development. Some of the main reasons why some developers prefer Django over other frameworks are its excellent open-source documentation (even when it first came out), an amazing and supportive community, it’s been crowd-tested, and numerous of packages available – the latest count was more than 3,000 packages and still growing.
1WD is a big fan of WordPress, a preference shared by many experts in the industry. In fact, 20% of website including BBC America, The New Yorker, and the official Star Wars blog run on the WordPress framework.
Built by Microsoft, one of the beauties of ASP. NET is its ability to reduce the amount of code to build large applications as well as its security created by Windows authentication and per-application configuration. Add to that its early binding, native optimization, and caching services which add to more efficient performance. The framework works perfectly whether you are building a small or large website.
There are a lot of CMS framework on the web and Drupal is one of the most popular using PHP. Often compared with the similar CMS, SiteCore, Drupal has an edge being an open-source CMS with a dynamic community which continuously develops it. Because of this, Drupal has tons of free designs and plug-ins for rapid site assembly.
Laravel is a PHP framework that is gaining popularity this 2015 because it has made PHP fun to use once again with its noteworthy features, like the composer packages which modularize the framework making the process of dependency management much easier.
Play is a highly scalable web app framework using Scala and Java. Built on Akka, Play boasts of a web-friendly and lightweight architecture which aims to optimize your productivity using hot code reloading, convention over configuration, display of errors in the browser.
Libraries group code snippets to give you a vast amount of functionality without letting you write all the code by yourself. Libraries also ensure that all codes work efficiently across all web browsers and devices.
Databases, obviously, are like filing cabinets where you store all your data. They basically come in two types – SQL and noSQL. Where SQL makes sure that all data is correct and validated, noSQL gives you a lot of flexibility to maintain and build applications.
Mongodb is an open-source noSQL database and the only database at the moment that supports Meteor. Some of its features include high scalability and tools which allow you to deploy, monitor, back up, and scale the database easily.
Redis is also a noSQL database but unlike Mongodb, it is a key-value store with built-in persistence and more datatypes. Redid gained popularity because of its lightning speed for retrieving data. However, it doesn’t allow for much depth when it comes to data storage.
PostgreSQL is an open-source SQL database. Compared to MySQL, Postgre isn’t object-relational and has more powerful querying facilities. Other advantages of Postgre include subselects, user-defined datatypes and functions in various languages, and data handling. On the other hand, some of its SELECT queries might be a bit slower compared to its MySQL counterparts.
This is an SQL server manager built by Microsoft. Some of its pros include tools, such as BI tools and SQL Server Management Studio, which save you a lot of time in development and troubleshooting. And since it is one of Microsoft’s flagship products, it is well-documented and rapidly evolving in various technologies.
CSS is one of the foundations you need to learn as a web developer. And as every one of you well know, CSS is responsible for enabling you to change the fonts, colors, animations, and transitions of the website you’re building. In short, CSS is responsible in making the web look aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
CSS can be quite a headache but with a CSS pre-compiler like Less, it makes working with CSS codes a lot easier. Less can work inside Node, the Rhino, or in the browser. There are also third-party tools available which allows you to manage and compile your files much easier.
Based on what it said on its website, Sass is the most mature, stable, and professional CSS extension language. Sass is the inspiration why Less was created and compared to Less, it has some smart extras. However, you need some extra time to learn them. Sass uses Ruby and needs to be setup on Mac, Windows, and Linux. However, it has a version which runs on the Node.js.
Compared to the Sass and Less, Stylus isn’t as popular, but it has some noteworthy features which deserve it to be on this list. For one, Stylus allows you to define your own functions for smart CSS parameters expansion and management. It also has different types of loops, conditionals, and import option which allows you to reuse CSS libraries.
With all these technologies available and more being developed, which one is better? The honest truth is, not one is better than the other one, but it is just a matter of preference which one will you use. Though you don’t need to learn all of them, you are at a bigger advantage if you know not just one, but a number of these technologies.