Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Where to Start

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    47

    Where to Start

    Can someone please provide guidance? I want to learn to build inter/intra net based applications that include database queries etc. Im not a programmer by trade but have expertise in MS Access 2007 and SQL and have built a number of applications. One is currently being sold at Japanese Language Learning Software- Japanese Language Software| Blended Learning Sources but want to take my skills to another level. The problem is that I dont know where to begin.
    Should I use C++, .ASP, .NET, etc., etc.? Or some combination of these? I want to use/learn the latest and greatest technology.
    Guidance would be appreciated.
    Jack Kent

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    There are more answers to this kind of question than there are languages. Everyone has a unique set of skills, different languages offer different features, new langagues can be developed and frequently are developed when existing languages don't work well enough to suit someone that can create a new language... The possible combinations approach infinity.

    You can certainly do what you want using almost any of the languages provided with Microsoft Visual Studio, and if you are comfortable with Microsoft Access there is some incentive to stay with the company/methods that you know.

    You can also do what you have described using simple customizations of many of the CMS packages such as Drupal, XOOPS, and even WordPress. If you pursue this route, you'll probably want to learn CSS, PHP, and one or more dialects of SQL.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    47

    Where to Start

    Pat,
    Many thanks for your reply. Although I know MS Access it does have some limitations and I don't mind learning a new language (i.e. one that is more marketable). Since C++ is so widely used I was thinking of learning that; but I'm not sure what else I need to complete projects as described on earlier posting. My questions: If I use C++ do I need a seperate database (I guess I can use MS Access)? Do I need a seperate report writer? Do I need seperate software to convert it to web pages (such as ASP)? Does .NET do all of these things? I've done research on the web but after reading about these different packages I still don't have a clear understanding of their capabilities. Your response would be much appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Jack

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    There's a pretty fundamental problem that YOU have to resolve before I could answer you. Your resolution will determine how many questions and help me suggest answers.

    There are three distinctly different approaches that you can take to get an application to the web. Each has its own requirements, costs, and benefits. You need to resolve which approach you want to take. The problem is that web pages use at least three (database, programming, and delivery) and usually a dozen or more fundamental technologies. Each one of the approaches controlls these technlogies in some way, usually via a framerwork or a programming language of some sort.

    You can certainly use C++ to build an application "from scratch", and that application can run on anything from a microcontroller in your camera, a PC, a zOS manframe, or an app/web server. In order to write an app from scratch, you as the programmer will have to learn enough of the languages or APIs needed to control whatever technologies your application needs. This requires the least cash (both up front and ongoing) but the most time and effort of all three approaches.

    As a completely different track to the same point, you could invest your time in a CMS that will provide 80% of the functionality that you need out of the box and another 10-15% of the funcitonality via add-on modules. This leaves you with a relatively small amount of functionality that you'll have to code, but it means that you'll have to learn whatever pieces you need to complete that functionality from the ground up... This is what my favorite college professor used to call "a non-trivial task" that can be back breaking especially if you are under a time constraint. This requires little or no cash up front or for licensing and much less time to write. but it tales an ongoing commitment of time or money to manage and administer.

    Another approach that I think better fits what you've described so far is to commit wholeheartedly to .NET or a similar framework. This pretty much means you'll "climb into bed" with the vendor and will become wholly dependant on their tools, but your learning curve to get your application to production will be TINY in comparison to using either a CMS or (heaven forbid) writing the whole application from scratch. Based on your experience with MS-Access and your desire to learn only one language, I think that Microsoft's Visual Studio product and their .NET framework are the best fit for the needs and expectations that you've described so far. The language choice within Visual Studio isn't material, but I'd recommend using C# instead of C++ because the language learning curve is much smaller and the integration into the .NET framework is tighter.

    Any of the approaches that I've described can do what you want. Some will help you get there with less effort on your part than others will. An integrated environment like VS will cost more cash up front to buy the package and more to deploy (for the server, OS, etc), but will cost so much less for the people involved that in the long run it will probably be both the cheapest and the easiest solution to create and manage.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    47

    Where to Start

    Pat,
    You obviously have a great deal of knowledge regarding the approach I should take, and I very much appreciate the time and thought that you put into your answer. I will take your recommended suggestion and go the .NET route. I don't mind working with one vendor's (MS) tools especially given the cleaner integration etc. Again, thank you very much.
    Jack Kent

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    47

    Where to Start

    Pat,
    If you don't mind answering another question... There are so many versions of Visual Studio (including some free versions) it's quite confusing. I may not need all the bells and whistles but I don't want to be caught short later. I purchased a book Pro C# 2010 and the .NET 4 Platform by Andrew Troelsen. Very comprehensive. Could you please recommend a version to either download for free, or to purchase? Of course I want to keep my cost as low as possible.
    Thanks,
    Jack Kent
    Lavallette, NJ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    The Visual Studio Edition needed by any particular developer/project is really a judgement call. The easy answer is to "go all the way" and use Visual Studio Ultimate. The cheap answer is to start with Visual Studio Professional and only upgrade if you must. The right answer could be either of them, or somewhere in between.

    Your best bet if you are within easy reach of a Visual Studio User's Group is to go to a meeting or three. Getting involved with developers that are using the tool you plan to use is the quickest and surest way I know to get you on the path to the correct Edition for your needs. I'm pretty sure that it will also be a phenominal help with other issues as you go forward with your development plans.

    If you are absolutely sure that you can't find a user's group to help you, hire a consultant. At this point, you can waste weeks or thousands of dollars pretty easily and a good consultant ought to be able to help you work this out in a few hours for a few hundred dollars. While this might seem like a lot of money, the time and false starts would probably be much more expensive than the consultant.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    47

    Where to Start

    Thanks Pat, again your help is much appreciated.
    Jack Kent

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •