thinking of learning programming language

  louandel 09:18 18 Oct 2006

I need to get into using databases on my website so I can create e commerce sites and members only sites.I use xhtml, css, and javascript.
So I know the options are around php, mysql,pearl, asp and java. In the future I intend to build sites as a part time business. Does anyone out there have some good advice as to what I should take into consideration? As learning a new language is going to be quite a slog and a challenge.

thanx for your time


  Forum Editor 23:04 18 Oct 2006

on your design/development requirements you'll need to understand MySQL, ASP and possibly how to work with Perl scripts.

Don't worry too much about Perl - you can get almost everything you need 'off the shelf', and in any case, there are hundreds of specialist script-writers who will produce something for you at a very reasonabe cost.

Equally important is the ability to be able to design sites that are eye-catching, easy to navigate, and comply with accessability standards. You'll need to be up to speed with the legal requirements relevant to e-commerce sites, and with shopping cart software as well.

  louandel 09:09 19 Oct 2006

Thanks for that. I've been standing on the brink of learning ASP for some time. As far as other areas concerning accessibility legal issues, interface etc i am currently taking the CIW master designer course. Which i know a lot of feeling on the forum is against these kind of courses, but it has given me confidence in the foundations of the work, and also introduced me to many tips and techniches and useful websites.

As far as e commerce off the shelf packages(for developers) go would you suggest a knowledge of ASp and mysql is needed?

What does perl actually do?



  gibbs1984 17:51 19 Oct 2006

Wouldn't XML be easier to use for your database?

  Forum Editor 21:48 19 Oct 2006
  Taran 08:47 20 Oct 2006

PHP is easier to learn than most other programming languages, but ASP/ASP.NET would give your programs more appeal to many larger corporations, if you choose to roll applications out in that environemnt.

That said, it is not uncommon for businesses to mix and match elements of several platforms to combine into their daily running toolset.

One of my clients runs several applications through PHP, ASP and CGI, but the end user only sees the web page output and not the underlying jiggery pokery.

I'd suggest you settle on one of the main common platforms and stick with it until you have an advanced understanding and ability.

After that, feel free to bring in other languages and database platforms.

Learn all you can about MySQL and PHP, or ASP/ASP.NET and Access (for small sites) and MS SQL.

ColdFusion is another very real possibility and it has to be one of the most underrated web programming languages out there - it is immensely practical and powerful.

Also keep in mind that the free MySQL everyone goes on about is fine for general use but if you want to leverage the more powerful capabilities of MySQL it does incur a licensing cost and it isn't cheap.

There isn't much you can do one one platform that you can't do on another - the goal state can be reached regardless of the language being used - you just take a different route to get there.

  louandel 09:26 20 Oct 2006

Thank you Taran for that very comprehensive answer. I suppose the most impertant thing is the languages at the end of the day are much the same though each have thier positives and negatives. Obviously Mysql is a priority for which ever one i go with.

I have now heard from those in the ASP camp and those in the PHP camp who both claim theirs is the easier to use. I guess at the end of the day I just need to jump in.

Can anyone suggest Cd tutorials for ASP or good books for ASP?

(there! I've decided!)


  Taran 09:45 20 Oct 2006

Non need for buying books and such like.

Go to W3Schools click here for a superb set of tutorials on all the current langauges.

Training disks are difficult to suggest - the only ones I've seen that particularly impressed me were from, but they tend to centre on development with Dreamweaver, and you haven't said which web authoring tool(s) you use.

Any search in Google for the language of your choice followed by the word tutorial will throw up more free resources than yuo will ever be able to work through:




And so on.

Be advised though, that hosting could prove slightly more difficult if you choose ASP.

Most hosts offer ASP or ASP.NET with Access and/or MS SQL.

Most hosts offering MySQL databases do so with PHP language support.

getting an ASP/MySQL host is not impossible, but it isn't the usual format.

So you may need to reconsider your choice of language before you even get started !

Another factor to keep in mind:

PHP is PHP - end of story.

ASP can be VBscript or JScript, and it isn't wise when starting out to even attempt to learn both.

Of the two I usually use ASP VBScript, but many people don't and you'll have to learn both to interact with any existing programs that are in place when you begin working for clients.

A final point: there are more free Open Source PHP/MySQL programs available than you can shake a stick at, from Content Management Systems to bolgs, forums, form handlers and all kinds of everything.

Fewer are available in ASP, but there are sill some. Those that are out there usually work with Access or MS SQL databases, and some interesting jiggery pokery is required on your behalf you port them over to a MySQL connection, where some database features may not be available.

My point is that you need to balance what a host can offer you (language and database support) with your abilities with said supported platforms.

ASP is great...

...provided you know what you'e doing with it which, when all is said and done, goes for all languages.

Good luck whichever platform you go for.

  louandel 12:09 20 Oct 2006

Thanks again Taran. Now Im beginning to swing towards php again.

I do have dreamweaver.

Im going to ask a really dumb question now. What is the "host"? I regularly get mixed up. Is this a company like Or internet explorer? Or windows? Or individual servers such as database servers?

What I will want to do is work with clients providing e commerce packages.



  Taran 13:36 20 Oct 2006

basically a series of servers set up with web specific software.

Typically your web host will give you an account with:

X megabytes of space (for web pages, images and other site content)

X megabytes of monthly bandwidth (which will be used up as people request your site pages in their browsers)

Scripting language support (some will offer ASP, some may offer PHP)

Database support (some will offer Access/MS SQL support, others will offer MySQL support)

And so on and so forth.

You pay your web host to serve your site files from their server.

You pay a domain registrar (many web hosts also offer registration services) to register your site domain name.

The domain name points to the files on your hosts server.

And yes, 1&1 are, among other things, a web host.

  louandel 18:05 24 Oct 2006

But the big problem with asp is finding a host that will support asp/mysql. So why is mysql superior over ms sql? and what is an open source programme?

thanks again


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