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What stack to choose?

By wayne62682 ·
My company's existing system is built on Classic ASP and is pretty much what you would imagine - a tangled mess of spaghetti code and spaghetti SQL. We're now looking at redesigning it using an open-source PHP shopping cart, Magento (we're an e-commerce shop).

We require some custom software for the back-end order processing, and I'm looking at what to handle that in. The idea is to use Magento as the front end only, and for minor things like product maintenance, and then have a custom ERP-type system to handle managing orders, creating quotes, reporting, and the like.

On top of this, we're hoping to implement some sort of Business Intelligence features (we don't have any in place apart from a few basic reports done in SQL Server Reporting Services), because I personally think we could make great use of them and it would help our business. Magento forces the use of MySQL, so we can't make use of SQL Server's business intelligence features anymore; as a result I'm looking at using the open-source Pentaho Open BI Suite, which is Java based.

My background is .NET/C#, although for nearly a year I haven't done much development since the current system is VBScript Classic ASP. I would rather avoid introducing another technology to the mix in addition to PHP (Magento) and Java (Pentaho BI). I'm leaning more towards Java because I know C# so the learning curve shouldn't be too hard, and because to be perfectly honest I cannot stand to look at PHP code; it looks insanely ugly even with some decent frameworks out there, and I can't/won't use the ROR-inspired frameworks because the system can't be coerced to fit into the typical "sweet spot". The current system makes use of a lot of views to aggregate data, there isn't a strict one-to-one mapping between tables, also a fair bit of things need to be calculated on the fly and/or manipulated based on results from a different table. The current system is very inefficient in how it processes (it's all procedural garbage, in one single page), and uses no classes or anything.

On the other hand, though... we're a very small shop (8 employees) and Java seems like it would be really heavy, although it's the closest to .NET, which I already know.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

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