December 22nd, 2012, 06:48 AM
Idea for a website - don't know what to learn
I have ideas for a couple of websites that I'd like to set up, but I have no idea the best way to go about it.
One would be a simple business directory where members could edit their own profiles and their locations would be shown in a searchable map.
The other is similar but would be like a survey where I give out individual log in details to people and they come along and fill in a form. Their responses are then displayed on an individual web pages, or in a blog format, and also the responses as a whole can be sorted and displayed by the various form categories.
I know both of these types of sites already exist, but have no idea how to begin! I'm a complete programming noob. They tried to teach me matlab and mathcad at uni (I'm a mechanical engineer) but I was having none of it. I wish I'd tried harder back then but for some reason I just didn't 'get' it, and still now when I read tutorials or code other people have written I'm often totally lost.
I understand that ready-made software can be bought to do this, but am not too familiar with what's available for free/cheap as I don't want to spend much money. On the other hand I don't have masses to time to spend learning and writing code, so I guess it depends how much learning I'd have to do vs the cost of ready made, bearing in mind I'll probably be a slow learner. Also I'd prefer to be able to understand how to manage/modify the site after it's set up.
Anyway, and tips or advice would be gratefully received!
December 31st, 2012, 02:27 PM
If you don't know where to start then saying a 'simple' business directory is a bit of an understatement. While yes this is a very simple site to build you have to understand that modern day websites involve alot of work, alot of knowledge of many different languages. To get started first you will want to study static website development(websites that you edit manually) Of course this will not allow you to create websites you are wanting to create but its a start. And to build these websites you must learn a markup language most commonly HTML(Hyper-Text Markup Language). This will allow you to build very simple website designs when used with basic graphic design skills however to make complex modern designs you will also need to know a little CSS(Cascading Style Sheets). And to add a little more user interaction such as hover over menus, small dynamic features etc. you will need to learn Java Script.
Now after you at least know HTML you can look into learning dynamic website development which will consist at the least of HTML, a database, and a server side scripting language. Personally I like PHP(Hypertext Pre-Processor Language) with a MySQL database.
So with all of this said let me add a little side note. If you are looking to learn all of this for a handfull of personal projects then it is often much more cost effective to hire a developer to do this work for you.
January 1st, 2013, 02:09 PM
Hi, thanks for taking the time to reply in such detail. Having looked into it in a bit more detail myself I'm also coming to the conclusion that the time/frustration of learning what's required would probably outweigh the cost of paying someone else. I would like to learn PHP & MySQL at some point though.
I think maybe wordpress is a good starting point for me, as there seem to be themes you can buy to do most of the things I want.
Thanks again for the advice.
January 1st, 2013, 03:07 PM
No problem. I wish you luck and if you need any help with the development of these sites. Or help learning php let me know. Also let me suggest w3schools.net.
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