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    Beginner: How to choose a programming language for a specific project


    Hi all,

    As a project, I want to create a website which lists upcoming activities in my town. E.g. dances, music concerts, theatre shows, sporting events etc It needs to be dynamic as the front page will always reflect what is upcoming in the next day or two, so when the 2nd Feb has passed, the page will automatically stop showing events for 2nd Feb and show what is available from the 3rd February.

    i) requirement - Dynamic / date driven

    Event organisers will be encouraged to register and post their events. Organisers will either pay an annual fee and be allowed to post unlimited events, or a one off fee to post a single event. When they enter their event, they have to select/fill in defined fields to categorise it e.g. Date of Event, Time of event, Duration of event, Type of event (Dance, Sport, Theatre etc). They then enter undefined descriptions of the event and cost

    ii) requirement - Allow registered users to post events
    iii) requirement - Categorise information by date, type, etc
    iv) requirement - Arrange payment gateway

    End users will be able to search events by selecting a date (range) and viewing either all events or only a type of event.

    v) requirement - create efficient search tool and display results by relevance/cost/etc.

    The website model should be able to add additional locations, so although I'm just doing it on 'myTown' eventually it could include lots of other towns, which would be added to the search.

    vi) requirement - location based search (e.g. within 5 miles of xPostcode)

    I have a limited bit of C# experience and have used bits and pieces of javascript on webpages from JQuery, and I am going to be using NetBeans in another course I am taking. However, I have no practical programming experience, and this 6 month project is one that I hope I will learn a lot from. Can anyone tell me if I will be able to create the above website using Java (netbeans) and Dreamweaver CS3 or if there would be elements that would not be possible.

    Or, is there a good tutorial to evaluate which programming language to use? As I will be basically learning as I go, I haven't got too much invested in one rather than another but would rather figure out now the best approach.

    Important considerations for me are cost (I only want to use free resources if poss as am on student budget) and relative ease of learning and integrating the programming into my webpages.

    I once did a class on PHP and MySQL but it was very badly run and I didn't really learn a lot. I'm sure that now as I am much more motivated I would be able to click with it, but before I waste my limited time on it, I want to know if it is necessary to the above project or can the database be created through dreamweaver?

    So my question boils down to basically what skills do I first need to start and complete this project.

    Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have questions about the project.
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    Lost in code
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    You can program websites in Java. When Java is used to build websites it is generally referred to as JSP.

    I once did a class on PHP and MySQL but it was very badly run and I didn't really learn a lot. I'm sure that now as I am much more motivated I would be able to click with it, but before I waste my limited time on it, I want to know if it is necessary to the above project or can the database be created through dreamweaver?
    Dreamweaver is not a database engine, it can't create databases. DW is not terrible if you're using the code editor, but professional-level web applications are never built using the WYSIWYG editor. The project you're describing will require a database, but there are many choices besides MySQL. Postgresql is the 2nd most common open source solution, and MSSQL is the most common closed-source solution.

    Unless you're doing something fairly unusual, the languages, skills and technologies you need to build a website are pretty much the same regardless of what you're actually building. At an absolute bare minimum, you need to know:
    1) A client-side markup language (HTML)
    2) A server-side scripting/programming language (Java, ASP.NET, PHP, C, Perl, Python, Ruby, etc.)
    3) A database system (MySQL, Postgresql, MSSQL, etc.)

    However, with only those three your website will look like something out of the 90's. So for professional websites, it is a given that you need two more:
    4) A client-side style language (CSS)
    5) A client-side scripting language (JavaScript)
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    Thank you for your reply. I do know html and css and have incorporated jquery snippets into pages for functionality

    The reason I mentioned dreamweaver is that there was an option to link through to databases created in MySQL as far as I recall. For the last 2 years though I haven't used dreamweaver at all, I was using Aptana studio for all web design / updates.

    I will certainly go through the tutorials on w3 schools on javascript. Do you know of a good resource online / or in book form on how to create a dynamic website such as the one I propose using all different elements that you have mentioned?

    Many thanks though, as you have given me a good focus to start my research.
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    Oreo is right (as he usually is). I'd recommend PHP with MySQL or postgres for this project.

    Do not use w3schools, they're woefully out of date and will be teaching you bad practices. Use a real book from a real publisher like the O'Reilly PHP/MySQL books. That will walk you through the whole process, from database to site design. You may want to pick up the DHTML/CSS book as well.
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    jQuery is definitely your friend for a project like this.

    Head over to www.codeacademy.com for a great basic course on jQuery. They also have a JavaScript track if you want to go more in depth there.

    If you're looking for free / free tools, you might think about Ruby on Rails for your server side needs. I haven't messed with Rails much, but it has a near fanatical following, and Ruby itself I have used. It's about as intuitive as it is possible for a programming language to be. Much more so than JavaScript.

    There are classes for Ruby over at codeacademy. you might also Google the course Rails for Zombies.

    What you're talking about it a pretty complex project. I'm sure you are going to learn a lot developing it.
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    Not PHP


    I would advise against PHP (the database you use is inconsequential) for numerous reasons - one being that the build up is a pain - it isn't a solid framework.

    I'm a beginner, i've tried numerous fits and starts at the web site programming and design idea and never really stuck, that is until i tried rails. There is a great, free, tutorial for rails atrailstutorial.org that not only will help you build a simple twitter type site using rails, it will show you have to set up models, views, controllers for future work to have well built sites.

    Additionally, you will be introduced to bootstrap, which I can't recommend enough for your front end design. The fluid column design ALONE solves so much of the layout issues I commonly have it's amazing.

    Rails, and gems, make integrating plugins a snap and if you have an analytical mind you should pick up rails with no problem. If you want to do a basic ruby tutorial to get up and running beforehand you can but it is not necessary. Rails is a great framework that builds in so much inherently that it's just easy

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