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#1 Tesla89  Icon User is offline

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Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 28 December 2013 - 03:43 AM

Hello everybody i am new here. Probably i am going to be quite active member from now on :). Sorry i am not native english speaker.

Well i have three questions (for now) for web development gurus.

First i let you know about my knowledge. I know html5, css3, javascript (and jquery), php, mysql, wordpress. Problem is i dont have a lot of experience. I didnt have a real big and serious project yet so here are questions.

1. I would like to make web portfolio for a friend. I would like him to have a blog on a website. I was thinking not to use wordpress or other any other cms because they are restriced design wise and i would like to have better working knowledge of writing code and designing. But i would like him to have a blog on a site that he could update. He doesnt know code ofcourse. So should i code custom CMS for him? Just for text images and stuff. Is this common practice? What are other practices are for this problem?

2. I would like to make ecommerce site for my family business. What do you recommend should i code it myself as a begginer. Again i would like to be better at using code. Now i have all rules in my head but i am not confortable to make things with it and that could be excellent exercise. Or should i just use frameworks for ecommerce. I am kinda against that stuff for now and that leads to my third question.

3. I know that now in a world of web exists a lot of pre written code, frameworks just waiting to put them together in five minutes. But as a begginer dont you think is better to for at least first projects to write most of the code myself. Even if i am doing some of them with tutorials. I would really like to learn code. Not only web languages but aleast one for software(java, c#, c++ and so on). I am not doing this just for the money i am hungry for knowledge and a lot of times this lead me to doing things "the hard and long way" (sounds like title for porno :D).

What is you advice to me dear gurus :D.

Thank you very very much.

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Replies To: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

#2 laytonsdad  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 28 December 2013 - 01:28 PM

View PostTesla89, on 28 December 2013 - 02:43 AM, said:

1. I would like to make web portfolio for a friend. I would like him to have a blog on a website. I was thinking not to use wordpress or other any other cms because they are restriced design wise and i would like to have better working knowledge of writing code and designing. But i would like him to have a blog on a site that he could update. He doesnt know code ofcourse. So should i code custom CMS for him? Just for text images and stuff. Is this common practice? What are other practices are for this problem?


I would look into using a library like cakephp or something similar.

View PostTesla89, on 28 December 2013 - 02:43 AM, said:

2. I would like to make ecommerce site for my family business. What do you recommend should i code it myself as a begginer. Again i would like to be better at using code. Now i have all rules in my head but i am not confortable to make things with it and that could be excellent exercise. Or should i just use frameworks for ecommerce. I am kinda against that stuff for now and that leads to my third question.


Again look into using a framework that is made to support this.

View PostTesla89, on 28 December 2013 - 02:43 AM, said:

3. I know that now in a world of web exists a lot of pre written code, frameworks just waiting to put them together in five minutes. But as a begginer dont you think is better to for at least first projects to write most of the code myself. Even if i am doing some of them with tutorials. I would really like to learn code. Not only web languages but aleast one for software(java, c#, c++ and so on). I am not doing this just for the money i am hungry for knowledge and a lot of times this lead me to doing things "the hard and long way".


I wrote a lot of sites solo, before I realized the benefits of a framework. Does it help to write your own code? Yes. Is is going to be proper code for security and errors. Probably not. I suggest if you wnat to get to know the language do small projects that are learning specific.
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#3 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 28 December 2013 - 07:41 PM

View PostTesla89, on 28 December 2013 - 05:43 AM, said:

Well i have three questions (for now) for web development gurus.

2. I would like to make ecommerce site for my family business. What do you recommend should i code it myself as a beginner. Again i would like to be better at using code. Now i have all rules in my head but i am not comfortable to make things with it and that could be excellent exercise. Or should i just use frameworks for ecommerce. I am kinda against that stuff for now and that leads to my third question.

What is you advice to me dear gurus :D/>.

Thank you very very much.


What ever you do PLEASE do NOT try coding an eCommerce site yourself if you are a beginner! There are to many security aspects you need to understand before you should attempt creating something that deals with other peoples money.

Start on small things and work your way up, knowledge and experience are two separate things.
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#4 blackcompe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 28 December 2013 - 08:41 PM

Tesla89: I highly suggest using a CMS. It would be nearly impossible for a beginning developer to replicate the functionality (and as mentioned: security, robustness, and integration) provided by existing frameworks in a reasonable amount of time. You can create 95% of what's on the web with WordPress, Drupal, CakePHP, or Joomla. The technology used depends on the type of website. Informational sites, blogs, portfolios, simple e-commerce, tube sites, and those alike are commonly done with popular CMSs. WordPress would be just fine for portfolio/blog. The CMSs include a blog feature by default. The portfolio can consist of a custom page, but even then, most of the work is done. I suggest finding a portfolio theme, and work on customizing it. That'll be mostly CSS and graphic design work. Since you know front-end languages, you can also consider creating your own theme. That'll put a little PHP into your efforts. As you maintain the site, there may be things you need or think would be cool that you must code yourself as modules or plug-ins.

CakePHP is a web framework, and it differs greatly from a CMS. A CMS provides a lot more out of the box, but a framework is way more customizable. Again, it depends on your needs, deadline, budget, etc. A CMS is probably best for what your're describing. If you're talking business tools, high performance data tools, or something of the like, where there is a need for say... tight integration with middleware, OS/device-level interfacing, or anything that requires down and dirty programming, you'd probably consider a web framework. At the end of the day, I feel like in freelance web development, it's about being able to provide your customers what they want and doing it quickly. Coding everything from scratch won't get you there. You can create a templatized portfolio/blog site in 2 hours using a CMS.

Quote

1. I would like to make web portfolio for a friend. I would like him to have a blog on a website. I was thinking not to use wordpress or other any other cms because they are restriced design wise and i would like to have better working knowledge of writing code and designing. But i would like him to have a blog on a site that he could update. He doesnt know code ofcourse. So should i code custom CMS for him? Just for text images and stuff. Is this common practice? What are other practices are for this problem?


What restrictions are you facing? And have you attemped to find a CMS-specific solution for it? If all fails, you could probably write a module for it. I hear this a lot, that CMSs are restricted, but coming from an application programming background, I don't see limitations in anything. After all, it's all just PHP, right? Therefore, you're only restricted by the language itself and whatever restrictions (hopefully not many) the CMS imposes on your code.

Creating a simple CMS shouldn't be hard at all, but why re-create the wheel? It's a waste of time, unless you truly need a custom solution. If you want to improve your programming skills, why not participate in a MOOC or become an active member in one of our Java/C#/Python forums?

Quote

2. I would like to make ecommerce site for my family business. What do you recommend should i code it myself as a begginer. Again i would like to be better at using code. Now i have all rules in my head but i am not confortable to make things with it and that could be excellent exercise. Or should i just use frameworks for ecommerce. I am kinda against that stuff for now and that leads to my third question.


Definitely not. I'm pretty sure interfacing with financial APIs is no walk in the park, even for a seasoned developer. There's probably a ton of security crap you have to deal with. Consider using a paypal plug-in, which most CMSs have modules for.

Quote

3. I know that now in a world of web exists a lot of pre written code, frameworks just waiting to put them together in five minutes. But as a begginer dont you think is better to for at least first projects to write most of the code myself. Even if i am doing some of them with tutorials. I would really like to learn code. Not only web languages but aleast one for software(java, c#, c++ and so on). I am not doing this just for the money i am hungry for knowledge and a lot of times this lead me to doing things "the hard and long way" (sounds like title for porno :D/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>).


Again, trying to replicate what frameworks provide is going to be tough, especially if you're a one-man team, so it's best to just use them and not to care how things are done until you need to extend them. Even then, most CMSs/frameworks provide hooks to make extending things easy. I do suggest writing more code, I just think you should separate it from your web development work. Code things yourself when you really need to and not just beacuse.

Before anything, I'd always suggest starting from the bottom and getting a traditional Computer Science background, but most people aren't interested, aren't willing to put the effort in, or don't have the time. Coursera, EdX, and Udemy are great places to start. Perhaps you could work on something you find interesting that is at your skill level. Android development seems to be a hot topic these days. If you know PHP, and hopefully a little bit about OO programming and APIs, you should be able to do this, despite not knowing Java.

This post has been edited by blackcompe: 28 December 2013 - 08:55 PM

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#5 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:54 AM

The difference between a Junior Engineer and a Senior is that the Junior will try and make something from scratch while the Senior goes out to find what's already been made.

Don't reinvent the wheel, it's a very very bad idea 99% of the time. What's the 1% of the time it's not? When you have enough experience, that answer will come to you very clearly, but until then don't do it.

Personally I won't ever reinvent something unless I really want to know how to make it, or I know I can make it better. The second is good reason to hack away and do it, the first is only for tinkering and may transition into the second upon gaining more domain specific knowledge.

As far as financials, it's not as bad as people are leading it on to be. We're forgetting things like Stripe and Dwolla which abstract out any type of nightmares. APIs exist for much of anything, even sms texting.
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#6 Tesla89  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 29 December 2013 - 02:11 AM

View Postblackcompe, on 28 December 2013 - 08:41 PM, said:

What restrictions are you facing? And have you attemped to find a CMS-specific solution for it? If all fails, you could probably write a module for it. I hear this a lot, that CMSs are restricted, but coming from an application programming background, I don't see limitations in anything. After all, it's all just PHP, right? Therefore, you're only restricted by the language itself and whatever restrictions (hopefully not many) the CMS imposes on your code.

Creating a simple CMS shouldn't be hard at all, but why re-create the wheel? It's a waste of time, unless you truly need a custom solution. If you want to improve your programming skills, why not participate in a MOOC or become an active member in one of our Java/C#/Python forums?


So you are saying that sites like Site are made in CMS? I am sure its possible but i think it will cause you more troubles then coding from the scratch.

Thank you all. So i would not try to code ecommerce. I know about security issues but yes i am not experinced enough.
I definitely should look at CakePHP!
About getting better at coding i should just play around in competitions, forums and on my own maybe open source projects and make most of my payed professional projects with cms and already made stuff.
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#7 AfterBurner66  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 30 December 2013 - 05:42 AM

As already mentioned, knowledge and experience are two separate things. I , for instance, have a technical background and degree but I love CS and math, so I put them myself on my way and after years of great efforts, I can tell that this was definitely something worthy. I think that everyone involved in IT in general, that really loves this stuff and respect himself, puts a great effort on learning the underpinnings of everything he deals with, so to be prepared and confident when the need for software creation or modification arises. This is the knowledge part. Experience is gained obviously through projects, but if you are not involved in any, it's always a good idea to make a small to medium project as an experiment, deal with it as long as there are things you can't do and then learn something new and expand or make something bigger in scope. Especially in the field of IT, knowledge and experience are not too distant, as are in other sectors or specialties, because you can simply do everything using a computer, whatever this machine could be. You can learn everything you want using the web, practice on that as long as you need it and then go the next level. All is needed is time and dedication.
I would definitely agree, not to develop things from scratch for the real world, so if you want something out of the box to play with and modify, a CMS is what you need and there's no need to create one yourself, as there is a plenty of them that work fine for any programming language or platform, but you can experiment creating your own CMS in an educational perspective. And yes, do not ever attempt to create an ecommerce system from scratch, mainly due to the security issues that you won't be aware of, and to the software complexities that will get in your way especially for transaction handling, which are real puzzles even for seasoned programmers.
As a final note, learn as much as you can, practice on, use out of the box software for your professional work and if you are an open source fan, just look for a project that you really like and contribute.
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#8 Tesla89  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 30 December 2013 - 07:43 AM

View PostAfterBurner66, on 30 December 2013 - 05:42 AM, said:

As already mentioned, knowledge and experience are two separate things. I , for instance, have a technical background and degree but I love CS and math, so I put them myself on my way and after years of great efforts, I can tell that this was definitely something worthy. I think that everyone involved in IT in general, that really loves this stuff and respect himself, puts a great effort on learning the underpinnings of everything he deals with, so to be prepared and confident when the need for software creation or modification arises. This is the knowledge part. Experience is gained obviously through projects, but if you are not involved in any, it's always a good idea to make a small to medium project as an experiment, deal with it as long as there are things you can't do and then learn something new and expand or make something bigger in scope. Especially in the field of IT, knowledge and experience are not too distant, as are in other sectors or specialties, because you can simply do everything using a computer, whatever this machine could be. You can learn everything you want using the web, practice on that as long as you need it and then go the next level. All is needed is time and dedication.
I would definitely agree, not to develop things from scratch for the real world, so if you want something out of the box to play with and modify, a CMS is what you need and there's no need to create one yourself, as there is a plenty of them that work fine for any programming language or platform, but you can experiment creating your own CMS in an educational perspective. And yes, do not ever attempt to create an ecommerce system from scratch, mainly due to the security issues that you won't be aware of, and to the software complexities that will get in your way especially for transaction handling, which are real puzzles even for seasoned programmers.
As a final note, learn as much as you can, practice on, use out of the box software for your professional work and if you are an open source fan, just look for a project that you really like and contribute.


wow wow. BEST ANSWER EVER! I must save this and read it everyday! :D You are awesome! Thanks!
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#9 trixt.er  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 30 December 2013 - 07:55 AM

View PostTesla89, on 30 December 2013 - 07:43 AM, said:

View PostAfterBurner66, on 30 December 2013 - 05:42 AM, said:

As already mentioned, knowledge and experience are two separate things. I , for instance, have a technical background and degree but I love CS and math, so I put them myself on my way and after years of great efforts, I can tell that this was definitely something worthy. I think that everyone involved in IT in general, that really loves this stuff and respect himself, puts a great effort on learning the underpinnings of everything he deals with, so to be prepared and confident when the need for software creation or modification arises. This is the knowledge part. Experience is gained obviously through projects, but if you are not involved in any, it's always a good idea to make a small to medium project as an experiment, deal with it as long as there are things you can't do and then learn something new and expand or make something bigger in scope. Especially in the field of IT, knowledge and experience are not too distant, as are in other sectors or specialties, because you can simply do everything using a computer, whatever this machine could be. You can learn everything you want using the web, practice on that as long as you need it and then go the next level. All is needed is time and dedication.
I would definitely agree, not to develop things from scratch for the real world, so if you want something out of the box to play with and modify, a CMS is what you need and there's no need to create one yourself, as there is a plenty of them that work fine for any programming language or platform, but you can experiment creating your own CMS in an educational perspective. And yes, do not ever attempt to create an ecommerce system from scratch, mainly due to the security issues that you won't be aware of, and to the software complexities that will get in your way especially for transaction handling, which are real puzzles even for seasoned programmers.
As a final note, learn as much as you can, practice on, use out of the box software for your professional work and if you are an open source fan, just look for a project that you really like and contribute.


wow wow. BEST ANSWER EVER! I must save this and read it everyday! :D/> You are awesome! Thanks!


So if you are very serious, then you'll invest some time and money into constructing your own development server. I stood one up a few years ago. It runs Fedora Linux 64 bit and has been a tremendous help in my own coding endeavors. Linux makes web development a snap, because most of the web services and technologies are considered FOSS (free open source software) and are available in repository (rpm) databases. I set up an Apache Tomcat web server daemon running on my Linux server, and this service routes to a landing web page that is configured through dyndns. This allows for global access to the lander. That way, whenever I deploy a web application, I can link it to my lander and notify my friends and family members so they can start using the app right away. I don't give my url out to everyone for security reasons. It's been great fun building the system and getting it up and running. It is a lot of work, getting everything set up plus coding from scratch, but it is definitely worth it. For starters you could even go on craigslist and purchase a cheap system for around $100. I purchased all my parts from newegg.com Just make sure that whatever you get has at least one ethernet port, because you want a strong, reliable connection. Happy coding!
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#10 blankwavercade  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 30 December 2013 - 04:20 PM

Adding onto trixt.ers point, you can also run a local dev server with wamp/xampp/amp stack on your local machine. Or spend a few bucks a month on a vps.

Another thing, no one should be telling him not to make an ecom site. What should be said is, don't make an ecom site and actually put it into production. There's nothing wrong with learning how they work, plus im pretty sure you would only be able to allow paypal or implement something like stripe.(? strip? idk some payments saas). since you would not be pci compliant.
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#11 Tesla89  Icon User is offline

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Re: Confused beginner web developer (questions about stuff)

Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:34 AM

Yes i am running xammp. I am not THAT much of a beginner. Its just that i dont have experience in how things are done in "real world".
Thats exatly what i was thinking and trixt.er lead me to that. Things that i want to code and learn i will do on my on and NOT put it out there. I think thats the best practice.
Thanks!
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