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    Newbie with ambition needs web app with database (language help needed).


    Hi!

    New to the forum, went through the first very informative sticky, unfortunately still very much lost.

    My question is simple so I'll get right to it: I need to create a relatively simple web application that selects some things from a database based on user input and outputs something as a result on the screen.

    I don't have anything yet, so I'm guessing I need to learn: some form of SQL to create the database and some programming language to create the app.

    To show an example, think of a database of something simple like cooking recipes, which the user selecting some criteria using the web app, and the app just showing the user the recipes from the database that match his choices.

    In the future, the website with the app must accept user logins etc. Possibly even be ported to android and iphone with the database remaining unchanged online, just the app itself being different.

    I have no previous knowledge of programming languages, and just basic knowledge of HTML / JS, and some idea how databases work from MS Access.

    But I have loads of time (the project is not time constrained in anyway, I'm doing this just to learn).

    And I need suggestions which language to choose and where to start learning. Unless I can use some ready made web framework/thing wordpress-like that can do the work for me.

    Thanks for your time and sorry for making a simple question so verbose.
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    I highly recommend PHP with MySQL. It is commonly used on websites nowadays. Virtually every web host supports it. Even some free web hosts supports them.

    There is a way to set up PHP and MySQL on your own computer, too, so you can test code on your own machine.
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    Originally Posted by Veebers
    I highly recommend PHP with MySQL. It is commonly used on websites nowadays. Virtually every web host supports it. Even some free web hosts supports them.

    There is a way to set up PHP and MySQL on your own computer, too, so you can test code on your own machine.
    Thank you kindly for your reply. What I'm worried about: is PHP powerful / rich enough to still be used for that goal mentioned above even if the app grows and grows to include more features?

    What I mean is, since I'm starting from level 0 whatever I choose, is the time spent on learning PHP now worth it in the long run, or will I have to jump to something, I don't know, more complicated, like maybe PYTHON, a year later?

    Not that this is a bad thing, just want to make one choice and then stick to it instead of jumping about.

    And what about later porting the whole thing to android (so java?) and iphone (so objective-c?).

    I already have cheap-o hosting selected that supports many scripts, so no issues there.
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    First question: Yes! Learn PHP. It runs on a server, and mostly used in conjunction with HTML to produce more interactive and dynamic sites. PHP and MySQL has been used for big projects, and been popular amongst web developers for years (I first dabbled in PHP/MySQL 6 or 7 years ago). Try to find a Hello World tutorial for PHP.

    Also, picking a language to learn first really depends on what you want to do in the long run. Seems like you want to do some web stuff. If so, I'd go with PHP, MySQL, and Ruby.

    Python is a popular language, although it's debated whether a good first language. I personally wouldn't recommend it as a first language. Once you get comfortable with a language of your choice, it's no harm to pick up another.

    Also, since you're starting from Level 0, would you like to check out Lesson 0, a quick guide my buddy wrote for beginners? It explains terminology, and answers some questions beginners may ask. I think it'll give those with 0 experience a stating point, at least.
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    Originally Posted by dobro
    is PHP powerful / rich enough to still be used for that goal mentioned above even if the app grows and grows to include more features?
    One of the languages used by Facebook is PHP, and a lot of larger systems out there work on it, so scaling isn't an issue.

    Of course there's always more that you can use. In your situation I'd be looking at a couple, trying a few different languages out and seeing what one/ones you feel the most comfortable with. Be sure that you do a little bit more then just a standard "Hello World" script so you can also check out how well the documentation and resources for the languages are as well, because that can make a huge difference to how easy something is to learn.

    If you want to port to iPhone/Andriod later, then you can learn the other languages later. Or the other option is to make your system compatible with mobile browsers, which is really just making sure that you do the layout the right way from the start. That way you don't have three or more separate systems to maintain.
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    Thanks so much for your input guys,

    PHP + MySQL it is, and yes, I will gladly try out any tutorials you may recommend.

    Also, is it possible that a ready-made modular platform like Drupal (PHP-based, right?) could be a right choice for me, given my needs outlined above? Ease of adding new content is an important consideration for later on in the project, when content will be co-managed by the community.

    And one last thing, I've heard something about project templates(?) that can help me identify/outline the right steps to managing a potentially big project right from the start, to avoid costly mistakes - point me in the right direction please?

    Thanks for all the advice thus far, you've been awesome.
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    Drupal is good, and so is Wordpress.

    However, I found this CMS called GetSimple which is super-easy to make your own themes for. So, when you learn more PHP, consider checking that out.

    Example of GetSimple in use on an actual site: http://www.solarking.com/index.php .

    Wordpress is a bit harder to make custom themes and templates for compared to GetSimple.

    "Project templates" is just code tailored for specific types of applications. It includes common patterns in certain applications in certain platforms. For example, when you use a C++ IDE, there is often an option to start with a console app template or a Window app template.

    There's a link to a tutorial in my last post. But I'll see if I can get a PHP or MySQL tut up on the site there.

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