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Website programming langauge: where to start?

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Joe's Nemesis, May 26, 2014.

  1. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 ~ Prestige ~

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    tl;dr—ADD version: what programming language should moderate beginners learn if he or she wants to create a website (rather than using templates from various other places).

    ----------

    I've been tasked with updating/rewriting the website for the NFP (not for profit) I'm working for. Since it's a government grant NFP, we have very little money to go outside the group, and that means it falls to me to actually rewrite the site. What they have currently is pretty bad, so I want to go back to the beginning and create something brand new.

    I've played around in HTML and have a very basic understanding (IOW, I can cut and paste code, and manipulate it here and there to change something) of the language. I've also used WYSIWIG programs and website building websites to help create flash and HTML based websites before, but all of that seems too limited.

    So, what I'm wondering, however, is in which programming language or combination of languages would my time be best spent learning the ins and outs of it to create a decent website?
     
  2. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    Pure basics? HTML (a structure of a website), CSS (its appearance) and JavaScript (adding more interactive elements). That's all you need to make a simple yet professional in its appearance website. Here you have a link to tutorials.
     
  3. Oz

    Oz For Zombie. Moderator DLP Supporter

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    If you post a list of requirements (everything you need the site to do) as well that would be helpful.
     
  4. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 ~ Prestige ~

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    Celestin - thanks. I found another tutorial as well, and started through it, but I gave the one you linked a look and will definitely use it as well.

    The Wizard - Yeah, um, not quite there yet. I think that's part of the issue. I need to know what I can do, before I decided what the site needs to do. I know, that's backwards, but . . .

    Here's what I'm thinking, however. Overall, the site will be a portal for information. I'm going to try and get local businesses (and maybe even some chains that have stores in this area) to put links to it on their site, so it needs to look more professional than just a page with links.

    I'm thinking about having something like a large circle in the middle, split five to seven ways. Each section is a different portal that when clicked, will react like this (click on a picture in the main part of the article). I know I could click "inspect element" and steal the coding, then make it work, but I'd rather learn how to do it properly. It still looks like straight HTML coding, rather than something else running scripts, right?

    I would also like to have two parts on that page where my two coworkers could type a paragraph and load some pictures without them having to mess with coding. Not sure how to do that, though.

    I'm planning on doing some other stuff as well, but that's at the heart of it for now. Of course, there's some style stuff and "Who are We" or "Contact us" type links with their own pages, but that's pretty easy to figure out.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  5. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer DLP Supporter

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    My advice: Learn HTML, CSS, the basics of Javascript. Honestly, if you use CodeAcademy or similar it shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours a day for a week.

    Then find a good tutorial on Bootstrap. It's a UI framework written by Twitter and despite some limitations, it'll let you make a good looking site in far less time than it takes to become a reasonable designer.

    Check out the bootstrap expo to see the sort of things you can make if you're inventive with it.
     
  6. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 ~ Prestige ~

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    Codeacademy is the one I found and am working through. Thanks for the advice on Javascript and bootstrap. I'll check into those after I get decently proficient at HTML and CSS.

    In truth, it almost seems that for HTML, as long as I have a list of commands, it really is pretty simple to use. Just make sure the commands are nested properly and that all of the tags are closed. Am I missing something?
     
  7. Photon

    Photon Order Member

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    Yes, HTML is quite simple.

    It is markup language, not a programming language. Also CSS is not a programming language. But JavaScript is one.

    What are you using to edit files? I would strongly suggest Notepad++ - http://notepad-plus-plus.org/
     
  8. Dark Minion

    Dark Minion Bright Henchman DLP Supporter Retired Staff

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    There are more questions to be answered beforehand:

    Who will look after the site? Just you or other people as well?
    How often will you / someone else add / remove content?

    If it is a rather static site, with almost no changes over the month, it's ok to write it manually in HTML/CSS/Javascript.

    If you have to change a lot of content regularly, you should go for a content management system. There you have to set up the site once and then you or someone else can change parts of the content without going through the source code.
     
  9. FreakLord

    FreakLord Professor DLP Supporter

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    You need a backend to do this. Try PHP. It's easy for beginners.
     
  10. T3t

    T3t Purple Beast of DLP ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Don't bother with PHP unless you hate yourself (unless you hate whoever is going to be working with the website after you even more).

    For front-end stuff, what's been suggested already is sufficient. If you end up needing back-end... Go with C#/ASP.NET (if your nfp is willing). I realize that MS technology isn't exactly popular in certain circles, but it unquestionably has the most moderate learning curve and extensively documented support (both internal and external).

    Barring that... Ruby, or Python if you plan on moving to Northern California, ever.
     
  11. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 ~ Prestige ~

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    I'll be the one primarily responsible for it and will the only one making any major changes. However, there will be at least two others that I want to be able to add content in their specific areas.

    I was thinking about doing this by creating an iframe and seeing if I could link the latest facebook post. That way, they only have to post in facebook and it crosses over. Of course, I realize that's probably a pretty backwards way of doing it.

    Tempting, but I think your questions above means I need to go a little beyond that, since there'll be updates.


    Not familiar with a Content Managment system. I'd ask here, but I figure the time it'd take for someone to type it out, I might as well do a quick Google search and read it myself. No reason wasting everyone's time on that.

    ___________

    This is very helpful. Many thanks.
     
  12. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer DLP Supporter

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    That's a weird attitude to take. Not to turn this into a language fanboy argument, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with the programming language that's underpinning half of the internet.

    That said, PHP is something that's entirely unneeded, as is a CMS, unless the website is going to be routinely modified.
     
  13. World

    World Oberstgruppenführer Moderator DLP Supporter

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  14. Oz

    Oz For Zombie. Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I'd argue that for a beginner creating and maintaining a single site that php is better. The LAMP stack confess set up as default on even the cheapest host and deployment is as easy as uploading the files to public-html/.
     
  15. World

    World Oberstgruppenführer Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Getting herpes is easy too, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

    HTML, CSS and Javascript will serve you for the frontend, and if you need some database-like functions, you can use CouchDB or similar nosql-stuff. A document-based database has the added appeal for you that other people can add content by just dropping files somewhere.

    Or use a CMS like Kirby.
     
  16. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer DLP Supporter

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    Every language has its own foibles, limitations and flaws. I wouldn't claim that PHP isn't a horribly flawed but it's still entirely useable, very easy to learn and extremely well supported.

    Also pretty sure Kirby is written in PHP :p
     
  17. theronin

    theronin Order Member

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    You know I had always heard php was bad, but holy shit... How does anyone write serious code in it. I think this alone is enough to make me run away and never look back.

    Actually wait that wasn't the worst thing in the article. This was:
    "array_search, strpos, and similar functions return 0 if they find the needle at position zero, but false if they don’t find it at all."
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  18. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 ~ Prestige ~

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    Damn.

    Here I'm getting excited because I can now make blocks appear and move them around with CSS, then I go and read World's link.
     
  19. World

    World Oberstgruppenführer Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Don't worry, CSS is good. Here, have a cup of CSS:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Dark Minion

    Dark Minion Bright Henchman DLP Supporter Retired Staff

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    LMFAO - yeah that hits the bulls eye.


    Yeah, php is bad - though it's not the problem that strpos returns 0 (a number) for pos. zero and false (a boolean) for no result - the problem is that 0 == false is true - but then you should always check if the returned result is identical false. It's like comparing apples and peas: Both grow on trees, yes, but if you want to check if they really are the same you have to check if they are identical.

    PHP is a cheap whore. You can do a lot of things which shouldn't be allowed - like comparing numbers and strings and booleans without converting them first, and if you don't know what you are doing it doesn't end well. And yes, the naming is illogical and inconsequent and I will never memorize how certain commands and their counterparts are written, i.e.:
    • html_entity_decode — Convert all HTML entities to their applicable characters
    • htmlentities — Convert all applicable characters to HTML entities
    • htmlspecialchars_decode — Convert special HTML entities back to characters
    • htmlspecialchars — Convert special characters to HTML entities
    • quoted_printable_decode — Convert a quoted-printable string to an 8 bit string
    • quoted_printable_encode — Convert a 8 bit string to a quoted-printable string

    But - man - cheap whores have so much experience, they really know how to blow you. Over the last six years I coded about a dozen different database frontends in php for my workplace, and I never encountered a problem I didn't find a solution (or a workaround) for on the web. Its widespread use with just one set of commands without numerous variations makes it one of the best documented languages.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
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