Looking for faster development methods

Over the past week or two I’ve been researching ways to develop server-side web based applications as fast as possible (time is money, haha). I am in the initial stages of starting a little side business with a friend and one of our possible clients is looking for a large system to handle online ordering of their products. If you know anything about developing and programming a complex system, it takes a lot of planning as well as a good deal of time to actually create it. My “developer ideals” won’t allow my to create something of poor quality, so I’ve been reluctant to take on large things in the past. I’ve been pushing myself more lately to produce results the results I strive for with more speed. Well more like I’ve been trying to learn new methods and techniques where I can keep my quality level high, but just get things done faster.

While I’ve programmed in PHP before, I know that I would need to create a large amount of generic functionality to handle an ordering system. This would include the front end where the customer places orders as well as the back end where the company processes the order, allows for product creation/update/deleting and whatever else.

I’m not really going to do much with that order system right now, because it is only a possibility for us. What I need to do is find a tool that provides the best method of implementing server-side web based applications. My requirements at this time are free, reliable output, ease of use, and speed of implementation.

I’ve looked at Visual Web Developer 2005 Express with MySQL. The problem as I mentioned in a previous post is that to use the .net 2.0 pre-made functionality I have to use an unproven user made library. Not something I want to do.

Over the past two days I was researching Ruby On Rails. It looks interesting and should have a good deal of support in the future, but at least to me doesn’t seem like it would be something I would want to use to code a client’s application. At least not until I learn a lot more about it.

A few minutes ago I found Symfony. It’s a framework based on PHP5 and is said to be of “clean design and code readability.” So now I will be looking into that. If it’s true this might be what I am looking for. If not I may just get started on designing/creating my own generic framework.