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General Discussion

Question - What language should I develop my idea in?

I want to build a High School Football Stats website and not sure which language I should be learning to do so. I am probably not going to code it myself but I want to use Treehouse to get an understanding of the language so I can know it's capabilities. I currently have a Spreadsheet that I created that does formulas to calculate things like Yards Per Carry, etc but want to move everything from the Spreadsheets to the web. I specifically want the ability to have multiple people record stats in real time and have the ability to verify the stats as they happen. I want the stats that are recorded to go to each players profile page as well. I'm just not sure where to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

MaxPreps does this sort of. They have people upload stats to their site, but I want to do it in real time. Not sure if that makes a difference.

Thanks for your help.


5 Answers

Hi Darin,

You can accomplish this in a number of languages. I would suggest picking the one you are most familiar with, or enjoy working with.

Both the PHP and Ruby on Rails series on Treehouse are excellent, and should offer the background necessary to build this.

I have little to no experience coding (SEO work aside). I have employees for that. Is there any language you know of that can do formulas and arrays in real time?

Let me give you an example:

A running back for a football team has had 11 carries for 83 yards. Now he runs for another carry and 3 yards. I need his profile to update automatically that his total carries are 12, his yards are 86 and that his yards per carry are now 7.16. Also, the Game Summary will reflect the overall number of yards, carries and yards per carry stat from all the running backs. I know how to do it in Excel. I have an entire workbook done with this information including charts and graphs. I just don't know how to get that to the web or if I should code the same sort of thing in another language to make it work. The formulas and presenting data in multiple locations is where I can't seem to figure out which language will do that best.


PHP, Python, Ruby C#, Java, all should all be able to handle mathematical formulas for you. It's not so much the language then that you choose, but rather the skills of the programmers implementing it. If your employees are more comfortable with PHP or Java (as an example) then it would probably be best for them to implement the code using their preferred language.

Personally, I would lean towards Ruby on Rails if you are building this as a stand alone site. But - if you are looking for integration with something like Facebook, then I would still consider PHP (but Rails would still be a consideration).

You would probably end up using some sort of framework for the site if you wanted to have users sign in. Since Treehouse doesn't have a PHP Framework(like CakePHP or Laravel) training series yet, then I'd probably recommend the Ruby on Rails course.

Thanks Rhys!

I appreciate it!

Darin. darin@vzpro.com fb.com/vzpro twitter.com/vzpro

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell
9,767 Points

I'd use a CMS like WordPress as it'll handle all the security of users etc and save coding time. Plus, updating in real time is nice and easy, just edit the post that relates to the data.

It's how I'd do it but I'm not all that experienced so there's probably better options. Just seems the simplest way of doing it with what I do know.

I sold my old site that I built on Wordpress platform. Problem became when we had over 75k users it really slowed the site and the arrays and functions we did always broke. I need the ability to do formulas easily and disburse the results to multiple areas in real time.

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell
9,767 Points

That's interesting. Tagging Zac Gordon for his input.

The base of the site can be anything (PHP/MySQL, Ruby, etc), but a client-side language like Javascript on the gameday page will allow you to update in real-time (without refreshing/saving the page explicitly).

Sharon's right- I naturally assumed that JavaScript was part of the equation regardless..I didn't intentionally omit it.


Ben Jakuben
Ben Jakuben
Treehouse Teacher

Our PHP teacher, Randy Hoyt, has answered questions similar to this one a few times, and he always frames his answer very well. Check out this one about PHP vs Python or RoR. Based on your background, you might really enjoy and get a lot out of Randy's PHP courses.

Thank you for your response. I'll look it over and post a reply here.

Wow. That was a really good thread. I think I just need to take some time and go through the Web Developer Adventure and then revisit the issue. My thought is that I've already done all the work in Excel. Everything works exactly how I want it to there. There isn't any individual profiles on there but I can extract the data with a few extra development elements. Thanks for your help and guidance.

Zac Gordon
Zac Gordon
Treehouse Guest Teacher

My suggestion is to find some existing software that does this for you. There may be a WordPress plugin for it or you could probably build what you're trying to do with custom fields and some template tweaking. You could probably do it with EE or Drupal though too.

If you're asking about a language to learn for custom development, I would probably say Ruby over PHP.

We're planning on making this site national, not just a local market. There are 27 high school in my County alone, each school generally has three teams and each team will have 30 or more players. That's over 3200 profiles for one county in South Florida and not even the biggest one. Multiply that by the number of schools in the country you are talking about a massive amount of information. One data point will need to be disbursed to a plethora of locations throughout the site, each having their own formula that will need to be displayed. Do you think WordPress could handle all that and still run effectively?