2 Replies - 8160 Views - Last Post: 30 May 2012 - 10:08 AM

#1 EASy_2013  Icon User is offline

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I'm looking to build an interactive online database... best langua

Posted 29 May 2012 - 09:21 PM

Hey all, I'm just getting started in online website design. I'm looking for basically some advice in what languages I should learn how to use? I am familiar on how to build a database (in MS Access), but I'm not certain if it differs online. I've looked into forums about using Dreamweaver but I'm looking for a low cost program to get me started. I'm also looking to make the site interactive and allow for online data collection. Should I build my database in MS Access first or should I got with an entirely different product? I know it's a lot to ask, but I would really appreciate the help!

Also, just a note, I'm looking to make the site look "pretty". I am not going for the oh-so-famous dead site look. I want it to be at least graphically interesting. Is there any way to do that in a particular programming language? Thanks again everyone!

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Replies To: I'm looking to build an interactive online database... best langua

#2 Atli  Icon User is offline

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Re: I'm looking to build an interactive online database... best langua

Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:13 PM

Hey.

Quote

I'm looking for basically some advice in what languages I should learn how to use?

As far as client-side languages go, all websites are built in HTML, CSS and sometimes Javascript. There aren't really any other choices.

For server-side languages, your main choices as PHP, ASP.NET and JSP. Of those, PHP is perhaps the simplest to get started with. It's also free and platform-independent. If you're a Microsoft kind of developer, then ASP.NET is maybe a better choice. JSP is the Java web development side, which is aimed more at large, enterprise websites than anything else.

For me, I'd recommend starting with PHP on the server-side.

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I've looked into forums about using Dreamweaver but I'm looking for a low cost program to get me started.

Dreamweaver is definitely not "low cost", and it's fairly over-rated if you ask me. It's WYSIWYG editor is handy for newbies that don't know much about HTML/CSS, but it tends to produce pretty poor HTML and CSS so if you're using it to learn, you're kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

For people learning HTML and CSS I'd recommend a simple text-editor over an IDE like Dreamweaver, at least while getting the basics. IDEs have a habit of getting in the way of learning. Something like Notepad++ is good for that.

There are other IDEs though. Top of my list would be:
  • Aptana - Better for designers, but has no WYSIWYG editor... which is not be a bad thing IMO.
  • Visual Web Developer - Microsoft's web-dev IDE, based on Visual Studio. Great for ASP.NET development as well as HTML/CSS/Javascript
  • Netbeans - More programming oriented, but does HTML/CSS/Javascript well enough


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Should I build my database in MS Access first or should I got with an entirely different product?

MS Access is a poor choice. It was designed for small single-user databases. I'd highly advice against it for multi-user environments, like websites. (Even for single-user apps there are better choices.)

You would do best, for a website, to use a real database server. Which one kind of depends on which server-side language, but the main choices would be:

  • Microsoft SQL Server is best used with ASP.NET. Microsoft products tend to work best with each other. It's a pretty powerful SQL database, and while it's very expensive, they have a scaled-down "Express" edition that is free. (It's still powerful enough for small websites.)

  • MySQL is the popular choice for PHP development, both being Open-Source. It's a great database server for small to medium sized sites.

  • PostgreSQL is another Open-Source database, which is very good for PHP development, but is perhaps a tad more complex to work with than MySQL.

  • Oracle is a very powerful server, but it's aimed more at large enterprise websites. It's also very expensive.


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I want it to be at least graphically interesting. Is there any way to do that in a particular programming language?

Nope. HTML and CSS are always used to define the structure and appearance of websites, and Javascript is used to add behavior to them (animations, interactive controls and such.)

Flash is sometimes used to add effects to sites, but honestly I'd try to avoid doing that. These days Javascript can achieve that on it's own.

This post has been edited by Atli: 29 May 2012 - 10:18 PM

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#3 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: I'm looking to build an interactive online database... best langua

Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:08 AM

It sounds to me like you are an absolute beginner. I fear that by trying to tackle functional, attractive site design, front- and back-end coding, AND tackling a new database system, you may have bitten off more than you can chew at this particular point in your journey.

I recommend taking a step back. Create a design you really like in Photoshop or GIMP. Download a nice, simple text editor (I recommend Notepad++) and learn to hand-code HTML and CSS. Use the HTML and CSS to make your site look like the design you created in Photoshop/GIMP.

We're here if you need help, and can guide you toward the next step once you've mastered this one.
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