PHP vs .NET, Does it Really Matter?
Myths of B2B eCommerce
Featured Guest – Matt Vandenbush
In episode 2 of “Myths of B2B eCommerce”, Insite’s VP of Marketing and Customer Experience, Karie Daudt is joined by Matt Vandenbush, VP of Engineering at Brady Corporation to discuss whether you should build your eCommerce site on php or .net.
If you conduct a simple Google search about whether you should use php or .net, you’ll find hundreds of articles attempting to illustrate the differences.
With Matt Vandenbush’s experience and expertise with this subject, we set out to answer whether it even really matters if you use php or .net. Vandenbush joins the conversation with over 20 years of experience across a range of technologies including java, .net, search technology, SAP integration and cloud software.
Programming Language – Does it Matter?
“The bottom line is, talented developers can write good software in almost any language. Sometimes I say to my team, we can fail or succeed equally well with about five different options. It’s really not about the technology or language, it’s what you do with it,” Vandenbush said.
It’s not about the language of the platform. Rather, you should be answering questions like:
• What skill sets are available in my organization?
• Do we have access to partners with the right skills?
• How well is the platform architected?
In the end, it comes down to a preference based on your situation. In Brady’s situation they slant toward a preference for .net because:
• .net is widely used across the organization
• Brady’s IT department uses Microsoft Stack and .net
• Software is written for Windows desktops to drive printers
• The printers themselves have embedded .net code in them
• Brady can leverage .net for web development
“I like the ability to leverage a common development tool in my organization because I can take skillsets and transfer them around. Plus Microsoft and .net have a strong story around ‘the continuum of problems’ you can solve with that stack. You can effectively create solutions across a broad spectrum,” Vandenbush explained.
You can solve for common problems like:
• Embedded systems
• Desktop applications
• Server-side backend related problems
Compiled vs. Interpreted Environments
“What I’ve found is that the environments that tend to be more compiled versus interpreted like .net or java seem to run faster out of the box. In our circumstance that’s what we’ve seen, but it might not be true for everybody.”
In Vandenbush’s experience, installing something that has a .net foundation, has been fast without a ton of engineering effort. With other environments it can take a lot of engineering time and effort adding hardware, optimizing and adding multiple levels of caching just to get basic performance out of it.
“This is just a preference that I have, that I’ve seen in my career. I do slant towards the environments that are a bit more compiled in nature instead of interpreted.”
Considerations when Choosing an eCommerce Platform
Ultimately, it’s all about selecting the right platform for your business. For a manufacturer like Brady, it’s essential that the eCommerce platform is able to handle the complexities of B2B.
“We’re looking for core B2B eCommerce capability, and a company and platform that understands what that means, and will continue to build capabilities that we can leverage,” said Vandenbush.
Some of the core, out-of-the-box, B2B capabilities that are important to consider when selecting your eCommerce platform include:
• B2B workflow
• Advanced pricing
• Advanced product configuration
• Integration to backend systems like ERPs
• Unique catalogs for customer experiences
Not having to build or make significant customizations to get core B2B functionality means your team won’t have to spend extra effort on the platform. The foundation already exists in a solution like InsiteCommerce®.
“In B2B, a lot of what’s happening are the things that are happening behind the scenes as opposed to what you’re seeing up front. What we’re looking for are platforms that are lightweight with core B2B frontend and backend capabilities,” said Vandenbush.
In B2B you have to consolidate a lot of data coming from disparate systems across the organization and try to make the experience seamless for the customer on the frontend. Your eCommerce platform has to be able to help you accomplish that goal.
It’s critical that your eCommerce platform is able to integrate with backend systems. When looking for integration capability, Vandenbush looked for:
• Clean APIs (headless commerce engine)
• Out-of-the-box integrations key to B2B like cXML
• ERP integration
• PIM integration
• CMS integration
In B2B so much of Personalization is driven by backend data. Insite prides itself on having the most robust B2B capabilities out-of-the-box than any other platform in the marketplace.
“Insite’s platform is built in a way that it can behave as a system of record, if that’s what’s called for, or it can behave as a system of reference if that’s more appropriate,” said Vandenbush.
The platform and architecture is easy to configure and upgrades can be easily made to the environment. Customizations and extensions are available with Insite. However, the platform is already very robust and has a lot of built in B2B capabilities that other platforms are not able to handle.
“I want to be partnered up with a company and a platform that understands my needs, Insite continues to move in a direction that will benefit me, and that lowers the cost of ownership over time because their great development team is adding capability that I don’t have to rebuild,” said Vandenbush.
The deciding factors are not so much about the programming language, but rather about available skills, partners, experience, and architectural fit.