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424 posts

Ultimate Geek

#29334 3-Jan-2009 18:51
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Ok, first I've never done any web stuff before, but I have done 'normal' programming, so in other words, I'm a technical guy.

I want to create a website, and rather than have static web pages, which never change, I'd like the site to do stuff.  Send out confirmation emails, make decisions based on (say) a persons age, country etc, change the website functionality based on all sorts of things.

Can people please make recommendation about what technologies to use?  I'm not sure what is good, what is bad, what is obsolete and what is too cutting edge.  I don't mind paying for software, suppose I'd have a budget of $400-500, and I can get an academic discount if that helps with things.  I'd rather pay for software that makes life easier for a beginner, rather than waste time with freeware that is less user friendly.

Also I'd prefer some technology that has a lot of books available via interloan rather than just what's available on the web.  BTW, if you want to see what's available via interloan: the Te Puna database here has it.

edit: forgot to say that I'm running Windows.

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835 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #187230 3-Jan-2009 20:39
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Hi there,

That's quite amusing how you refer to your current knowledge as "normal" programming, as opposed to "web" :o) May I ask what that "normal" programming is? That may help decide how much learning you need to invest. If you mostly live in the Windows environment then you may already be familiar with .NET in the desktop world? It may be more logical to invest time in ASP.NET - you mostly just need to remember the stateful vs stateless paradigm, and a couple of other things, and you should be good to go.

Other possible and accessible technologies include PHP and Ruby on Rails. Some may consider Silverlight cutting edge in the Microsoft world, especially since the XAML world requires a fair amount of paradigm shift in your thinking compared to, say, .NET Windows Form and ASP.NET.

When it comes to tools you probably don't have much to worry about. As you said, the Academic Edition are quite affordable. You can get Visual Studio 2008 Pro Academic for around 200-odd bucks last I looked. If you fancy yourself a bit of a designer then you may want to play around with the Microsoft Expression products (Design, Web, etc.).

When it comes to learning resources you should be able to get quite far only with Google as your friend. All of the more common technologies mentioned above are mature enough to have plenty of resources online. If you learn better from books then there should be plenty of .NET books around. Can't say I've looked for PHP or RoR books though - online resources may well be your best bet.

It also depends on what sort of websites you'd like to build. There may be various CMSs you can choose from - each web technology has a free one or three floating around. The should give you the leg up in managing and publishing content.

Good luck! There should be plenty of folks around who can give you more advice.


Android user, software developer, a semi-typical (not a gamer) geek, and a Bernese Mountain Dog nut! |

1819 posts

Uber Geek


  #187252 3-Jan-2009 22:07
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I don't like the limiataions of a printed book and use a 2nd monitor to display the reference infomation I use.

Have you looked at the googles platform, with their email, doc's, googles appengine and open social

I like googles appengine becuase "Run your web applications on Google's infrastructure. Build apps on the same scalable systems that power Google applications."

The Apps engine uses Python 2.5


Phil Gale
1108 posts

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Red Jungle

#187264 3-Jan-2009 23:41
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I heartily recommend looking at ASP.NET.. the typical IDE is Visual Studio, and there's a free Express version for you to try out before splashing out on the full versions (not that you necissarily need to even).

As for resources, the ASP.NET website has a LOT of great resources, tutorials, videos, getting started guides, etc.

If you do get into a bit of ASP.NET and need some help, feel free to come back and ask Cool

Red Jungle: we make fantastic software

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  #187269 4-Jan-2009 02:42
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You could also look at Wordpress (more of a blogging tool) or Drupal. Drupal is fantastic, though I'm biased because it's what I use. But with the list of addon modules, you can make a pretty amazing site using Drupal. The Onion for example is a Drupal based site.

Both Drupal and Wordpress are free, they use MySQL and PHP4/5 to do the heavy lifting work. Both those are free as well and you can get an install package from the XAMPP page. There's a bit of a guide for getting Drupal to work with XAMPP here.

Whatever you choose, have fun!

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