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Top programming languages used in web development

Top programming languages used in web development
Top programming languages used in web development
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Web development can be a profitable venture which makes use of creativity along with discipline. It requires web developer to have a particular range of skills and up-to-date understanding of programming languages, and the ability to apply them – something they will need to keep doing on a constant basis.

Each project requires a different approach and the web developer can only know the best course of action if they have competency over all languages.

There are three main parts of web development:

  • Client side scripting: this runs in a user’s web browser.
  • Server-side scripting: which runs on the web server.
  • Database technology: which manages all the data on the server which supports a website.

Once the web developer has understood the requirements of a particular project, they can go about selecting the language which best suits their parameters.

Web development languages

Below are some of the most commonly used web development languages.


The main purpose of HTML lies in giving a website a proper structure and meaning through the appropriate use of semantics which allows the browser to display the information correctly. Without the proper use of HTML tags, the browser will be unable to differentiate between a heading and a paragraph, for instance.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) has become indispensable in the modern web development process. It provides easy control over layout and design of a website page and even allows faster browsing. CSS gives programmers control over multiple elements such as color, layout and fonts size.

Client side scripting

As the name implies, client side scripting is the code which runs on the user’s browser. It runs more efficiently because it is independent of the server which hosts the website. The browser acts as the ‘client’ of the website and uses the computer’s resources such as the graphics card, processor and RAM. JavaScript is a popular choice for client side scripting.

Server side scripting

Server side scripts run on the server which hosts the website rather than the client’s browser. When the user visits a website, the script will generate a webpage dynamically. This is easier for servers to maintain than having the client’s browser load the HTML pages on the computer and then uploading them to the server. Some of the popular languages include PHP and Python.


It brings animation, games, apps and other dynamic effects to life. No other programming language gives the web developer this much autonomy in web design than JavaScript which makes it the most important language in front-end development, after HTML and CSS of course.


Although HTML5 is poised to replace Adobe Flash, it is still in use today and almost ubiquitous worldwide. Adobe Flash uses ActionScipt as its primary language which makes it well suited for applications on the internet such as Flash animation, streaming audio and video, and video and digital rights management (DRM).

While ActionScript trails behind JavaScript, if you want to use Adobe Flash Player software for multimedia applications, then ActionScript should be your go-to choice.


PHP has become extremely important for both webpage and web application development. It is a popular server side scripting language because it improves the appearance of websites and easily generates dynamic web pages. It is comparatively easier to learn PHP if you already know some other languages, since it has a syntax that is similar to languages like C and Java.


Java has become the server side scripting language of choice for larger websites which usually have voluminous traffic. Some popular examples are Amazon and Apple App store which are based exclusively on Java-based web frameworks.

One of the main reasons why Java has become so useful is due to its platform agnostic nature. It means that Java programs can run on most systems with a Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Almost all environments support JRE including Windows, Unix and Max computers.


Python is gaining popularity with data scientists who often use it for data analysis and artificial intelligence. While Python has been used to make games, productivity tools and desktop apps, its primary function lies as the main language for backend development. As a high level programming language, Python puts emphasis on code readability through the use of a large standard library which minimizes the use of actual code. 


Many large scale organizations such as Amazon, BBC and Cisco use the Ruby framework. Ruby on Rails has become an extremely common open source web framework allowing developers to create dynamic websites quickly while efficiently handling large traffic. 

The preferred language

While this serves as a small guide to web development languages, it isn’t an all-exhaustive list by any means. The language of choice for web development rests entirely with the web developer. You can start by defining a clear goal and purpose for your website, pinpoint the features or functionality it requires, and then decide what your proffered language for web design should be.

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