If you’re not from a tech background and you’re trying to build an eCommerce website, it can be overwhelming to see the number of developers and programming languages available. Should I be hiring somebody who uses Python? Java? Where does Ruby come into it? Which programming languages should you use for your eCommerce site?
Wait, what about HTML and CSS? I’ve heard about those.
HTML and CSS are a very important part of that equation and shouldn’t be discounted, but they’re not what we’re here for today.
With properly-configured AJAX, a user can add or remove items from a cart with minimal fuss. It’s also great for things like account creation, support queries, and any other form your users need to fill out.
N.B. when we talk about building an eCommerce storefront, we’re talking almost entirely about the front end. The back end will use languages like MySQL and it’s a whole different can of worms.
PHP is a language whose job is to communicate with the back end, and pull things into the front end. If you’ve ever gotten an email that greets you by name, you’ve interacted with PHP. How that works is:
- In the database, your email address and name will be stored together
- PHP can see your email address, so it uses it to find your name
- It inserts your name into a designated slot
On a website when you’re being greeted by name, a similar thing is happening. Have you noticed that happens more often if you’ve set up an account on the website? It’s because your name is now stored on their database, so PHP can pull it up easily. PHP developers help build bridges between your front end and back end.
What Aren’t Good eCommerce Storefront Languages?
Python also comes up in a lot of these guides for some reason, when in reality it’s more commonly used for data processing in the sciences, banking, heavy manufacturing etc. There definitely are eCommerce sites written in Python (usually using the Django framework but it’s a bit like making a pizza base out of muffin dough: it tastes fine, but it’s still a bit weird, and I wouldn’t trust the pizza opinions of anybody who said it was the default choice.
And that’s that! Good luck out there.