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#1 Noclue1   User is offline

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Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 28 April 2020 - 08:01 AM

Hello All,

As my username might tell you I have 'no clue'. I have never had any experience with coding (I'm a painting restorer) but I realise that it is becoming more and more necessary.

I know what I want to achieve, but I don't know where to start. What coding language should I learn? What am I actually trying to do? Is it possible to do what I want to achieve? I guess you get the gist: I'm lost!

Here is what that problem is that I'm trying to solve:

-In my studio a painting arrives.
-Then we write down info such as: owner, artist, title, arrival date, our job number, our invoice number etc.
-We then manually enter all the information again into a prepared template for our treatment report.
-This is followed by making a final invoice, again with similar info entered.

Doing all this manually has created a jumble of invoice and job numbers and is generally a pain!
So far I have tried to work with excel and mailmerge function, which is a nod in the right direction but not quite what I want.

Here is what I would like to do:

-The painting arrives and I add all the info about the object and client into something like excel.
-Then I press a button/ run a script and two documents will be prepared using the info from the excel sheet. One treatment report template that is has required fields filled out, and the other is the invoice which uses some info from the excel sheet, and some info that I will have added in the treatment report. Both documents will also be saved with a predetermined document name.
-I bascially want to start out with one database program, but the two generated output documents should be a word based editor because large parts of text will be required.

And here are my questions:
-Is it possible to achieve something like this?
-As a complete novice, is there any possiblity that I might be able to achieve this?
-Where do I start? What programs should be my hosts word, excel... or google docs, sheets...
-What coding language is best for this, or are the any limitations in any?
-Are there pages where sample codes for parts of my desired process might be available and I could 'simply' copy and alter those to suit my needs?


I'm grateful for any information you can offer. Thank you.

Noclue1

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Replies To: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

#2 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 28 April 2020 - 08:14 AM

Quote

-Is it possible to achieve something like this?

Yes.

Quote

-As a complete novice, is there any possiblity that I might be able to achieve this?

Most likely, no, but with time to learn or paying a merc it can be done.

Quote

-Where do I start? What programs should be my hosts word, excel... or google docs, sheets...

With a plan. What platform is this? Do you want to make your own user interface or use something like Excel?

Quote

-What coding language is best for this, or are the any limitations in any?

Depends on the platform and what you want to get going on the 'minimal viable product' output.

Example you could use python to some degree, Excel's VBA scripting, or go full out making a desktop app in C# that saves data down to a MSSQL database, and has the option to spit out docs and what not.

Quote

-Are there pages where sample codes for parts of my desired process might be available and I could 'simply' copy and alter those to suit my needs?

Maybe? It's difficult to say, and often leads to false valleys and rabbit holes that should be abandoned.
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#3 Noclue1   User is offline

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 28 April 2020 - 08:20 AM

Thank you modi123_1 for your honesty, much appreciated!
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#4 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 28 April 2020 - 08:55 AM

One of the first assumptions that a developer makes is that there is probably already a tool that does something like what we want to do. On that assumption, I would ask if you've looked into options for off-the-shelf software that solves problems like the ones you're having. If something that does most of what you want exists, it's almost certainly cheaper and easier to buy it and use it than to develop something of your own.

That being said, if you're interested in learning how to write code, and that's something you want to do for its own sake, a project like this is not a bad one to work towards. After learning the basics of python or ruby, you could develop something like this as a web app in a standard web framework like django or ruby without too much trouble. This web app would not even necessarily need to be deployed if you wanted to use it just for your own purposes, you could run it locally. The benefit of the web framework in this case would be that it provides a very convenient way to connect a database backend, in this case probably an sqlite flat-file db, to a familiar user interface, viz, your favorite browser.

Becoming the developer who could do this might take you a year or more, depending on how much work you put into it and how much background you have and how much fun you're having, so it's not going to solve your problem in the time frame you probably want, but it's not a bad thing to want to do.
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#5 DarenR   User is offline

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 28 April 2020 - 09:41 AM

do not think you will learn this over night-- it may take months to years
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#6 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 28 April 2020 - 12:18 PM

Based on what you said, no scale is needed, and anyone accessing the program would be on-site? What computer are you currently using? If you can't find what you are looking for, I actually think that something like MS Access may suit this Use Case, and I don't like recommending Access.

Exporting Data from Access to Word
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#7 Radius Nightly   User is offline

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 30 April 2020 - 09:25 AM

You can try using wxLua, its simple, cross platform, you can use any library you want to speed up your project without having to make lots of needed things or know how some library completely works (for database example, its easier for you to use SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL or other database library where you can simply put something in database and read it with baseline knowledge, later on you can invest time getting to know databases better), you can use lots of different programming languages, its short and fast, so you can see your results pretty quickly with each line of code, as a beginner you wont like idea that after a week or month of programming, you are not able to see any results and you are not able to show it to anyone, where for example if you draw a line in Photoshop you can instantly see and feel results without any additional problems, having solid proof of a progress, in programming all progress is just a bunch of code text that doesnt work. Here is a quick manual for wxLua, and for the Lua language you got some online books for couple of versions, most popular are 5.1 (x86), 5.2 (x64) and 5.3 (x64), but older versions like 5.0 may be easier for beginning. With wxWidgets UI Library you are able to pull out faster some crucial parts, such as drag and drop, web, renders, sockets, multithreadings, etc. Check some known applications made by this.
If you survive that pretty small and quick informations from this links, you may have a chance, or you will quit.

This post has been edited by Radius Nightly: 30 April 2020 - 09:33 AM

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#8 justawebuser   User is offline

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 30 April 2020 - 01:12 PM

If you want to just solve your problem best advice would be to pay a programmer. There is plenty of students out there who would take care of this gladly.

But if you're interested in programming and you want to kill two birds with one stone it's a good idea but it will take more time than you think.

Plan A: Go with MS Access - Learn some basics about tables, queries, forms, SQL... If this didn't satisfy you and didn't solve your problem then go with

Plan B: Learn VB or C# then use it alongside an MS Access DB

From what I see you're gonna need a database so learning MS Access doesn't hurt.

Start with the minimum clue you have and the path will be more clear.
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#9 Noclue1   User is offline

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Re: Complete beginner! Where do I start?

Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:58 AM

Thank you very much for all your answers! You gave me plenty of information and food for thought on how to tackle this.
I will definitely be lookig up Access and possibly wxLua.

I seems like I'm better off relying on a quick fix for the moment, and start the coding on the side for future projects.

Thank you for giving me an idea of where my first step should be.

View Postastonecipher, on 28 April 2020 - 07:18 PM, said:

Based on what you said, no scale is needed, and anyone accessing the program would be on-site? What computer are you currently using? If you can't find what you are looking for, I actually think that something like MS Access may suit this Use Case, and I don't like recommending Access.

Exporting Data from Access to Word


Yes everyone accessing the program would be on-site and we would all use the same computer to input info (although some documents would have to be shared across several computers, but we have been using cloud systems for that at the moment). Just a regular office computer with Windows16 I think.
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