so basically I'm trying to pick the right platform/language for a productivity tool/web app that will essentially implement a user account with a simple workflow and some minimal user interaction functionality. Here are my requirements:

  • there will be no massive backend apart from integration of a few third party APIs (such as Stripe for payments, Facebook for authentication and some business logic).
  • User experience is a priority. The website should look modern and have intuitive dynamic interface allowing user to get what they want with minimum efforts.

  • Mobile app may be the next stage, so website may need to expose some kind of API in future.

  • Development process should be flexible and fast. I would like to use ready modules and libraries as much as possible, but need to keep in mind the possibility that customisation will be needed.

  • Important: I would like to be able to at least participate in development as part of the team. I have a degree in software development, but haven't work as a developer in the last decade. The platform should be such that I may start coding after spending, say, a couple of days learning.

I guess Wordpress will be too inflexible for this kind of project, and Java might be an overkill. I'm not too familiar with everything that lies in between. Further, are there any good solutions that integrate basic server side and client side parts such as user account functionality, authentication and dynamic AJAX frontend? What platforms/frameworks would you recommend looking at?

  • I'd specify whether there are restrictions on the webserver. For example: IIS vs. Apache, will you manage the server? Are you allowed to install any stack?
    – peval27
    Feb 6, 2017 at 9:55
  • I will set up the server myself, so could be any, but I strongly prefer Linux-based servers. I am happy to install and manage any stack that is necessary to facilitate quick development. Feb 6, 2017 at 13:45
  • asp.net/core
    – Alexan
    Feb 10, 2017 at 22:11
  • I won't answer myself because I have practically no experience with Web development. I will say that I'm surprised no one has mentioned Ruby on Rails, or Python with Django or Flask or a number of other popular frameworks of various sizes.
    – John Y
    Aug 6, 2017 at 17:43

3 Answers 3


Java + Vaadin

I suggest the Vaadin Framework. Briefly: You write your app's business logic and user interface in pure Java. The Vaadin framework automagically translates this at runtime to use Web standards technology (HTTP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.) to render your app within the user's web browser. But this happens under the covers - no need for you to learn the many web technologies as Vaadin handles that on your behalf.

Specific to your points:

  • Many many rich libraries available in Java for many varied purposes, especially for business purposes.
  • Vaadin easily produces quite professional smart-looking apps with minimal effort. Vaadin is explicitly intended for business-oriented desktop-style apps (as opposed to flashy animated marketing apps).
  • Vaadin has good support for mobile platforms, allowing touch-based interactions. And this support gets better all the time.
  • I cannot imagine a faster development environment for building web apps (except perhaps Xojo below). The complicated templating required by common web development frameworks, plus the need to master the various web technologies and languages, makes for a tremendous burden.
  • Java is one of the easier languages to learn, with many resources available including the Oracle Tutorials. And Vaadin relieves you of having to learn about complicated web technologies, so you can be productive much faster.

See my longer Answer to a similar Question.

Vaadin is open-source and free-of-cost. The vendor sells training, consulting, service, and a few extras such as an integrated testing environment toolset.


(source: wikimedia.org)

Xojo is a commercial proprietary programming language, IDE toolset, and server-side web app runtime (similar in that sense to Vaadin described above).

Simple enough for a beginning programmer to get started, yet powerful enough for professional programmers to create commercial software apps.


Try to use MEAN approach (easy to learn and follow with JSON data model):

  • Mondo DB
  • Express.js
  • Angular.js
  • Node.js

There're a few frameworks... one of them: http://mean.io . And the full ecosystem is all around JavaScript


You guys are a little behind on the "inflexibility" of WordPress. WordPress is going to easily eat most of the other technologies listed here. The numbers and trends are massive. Here are some new developments:

WordPress has a new REST API interface that handles every thing: authentication, security, end-point publication etc. Awesome.

WordPress flat out DOMINATES in terms of the number of available developers, and the cost ratio of any metric you can imagine. Simply put, it's the best bang for the buck. Forget the statistics that you see on sites that focus on technology. There are MILLIONS of small businesses that aren't technology facing that use WordPress, at least tangentally. That means the biggest market on the planet for SaaS products and API markets. Build a plugin, they will come. In terms of number of developers working on any particular platform or technology, WP has the field covered. That means that in the future, the WordPress function base and action / filters are going to become semantic basis for how the internet works. WordPress, and it's APIs, are becomming the "operating system" of the internet. For instance, WP functions are being ported to other technology bases all over the place. You're starting to see WordPress in IOs and Android, WordPress in .NET, WordPress in compiled PHP, WordPress NodeJS overlays like Calypso. There is no reverse phenomenon.

Did you know that WordPress is absolutely customizable in any way that is conceivable. There is no "WordPress look". There are a lot of WordPress sites that look similiar, but that's just a choice by those developers.

Finally, WordPress now has a fully developed testing framework in Codeception that can drive acceptance, functional, and WordPress unit tests to do Behavior Driven Development and Test Driven Development in. Check out WordPress-BDD.com.

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