Dear all,

I have been mostly focussing on client-side/javascript so far, and merely tweaking existing source code for the server-side. However, I am now at a point where I would like to build something more robust, or at least something I am more comfortable with on the server side for a new project. So I need to make a choice. ExtJS can accomodate with any server-side framework/language, so my question is not so much related to Sencha products as such; but I'd be interested to hear the Sencha community view as I find it very lightening and trustable.

I am sure every framework/languages have their own merits so, in order to be a bit more specific about what I am looking for, my requirements are:
  • I am pretty much newbie in all server-side stuff. So far I have been tweaking some PHP code, but I guess I can say that, whatever my choice, I'll need some learning time. So I would appreciate something with a reasonably fast learning curve (unfortunately, I can't afford spending too much time on it).
  • I can't rely on help from colleagues, so I need something with a big enough community which can help (just like Sencha forums would be perfect!)
  • My primary needs are:
    • be able to manage user accounts (login)
    • be able to bind a number of data to user accounts (so that means most likely DB management)
    • be able to allow users to publish stuff, and comments (blog-like)
  • I could try do it myself, but I'd rather not re-invent the wheel and use existing stuff (modules, plugins etc...)
  • I'd like something clean and future-proof.
  • I need something that can run on a webhost (i.e. I don't have control of the machine)

Basically, I am at a point where I need to make a choice, and I'd like to make a good choice from the beginning, otherwise later will be a nightmare to change. I have been hearing (including on Sencha forum) about things like javascript server side. Also PHP, Rails etc... I am not too sure how all those things compare. So any opinion/experience would be much welcome.

My findings so far:
  • PHP could certainly do the job. However PHP is very large, so I'd better start from an existing software (like wordpress, or other) and tweak it (what I am already doing). Those softs usually come natively with jQuery. I would prefer to stick to one JS library if possible…
  • RoR seem to have been gained interest in the web community. As it uses MVC, It has some similarities with ExtJS4. Is there a well structured frame (e.g. if there are 100 people who have developped a login plugin, I would have no idea which one to pick)? Would it be a good idea to start from a software (like lovdbyless, btw also using jquery, if I am right)?
  • Because I have some familiarity with JS, server-side JS looks attractive. But does not seem to be offered by my current host. Also, is it mature enough? (features/plugins/community) Would it serve the purpose?

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and your views!