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Where to go from here?

Posted by CaiteeAnne [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 10:32:21 AM

I've been doing webdesign for five years, and know HTML, a little javascript, and lots about graphics. I want to be able to take my websites to the next level though.. make them more dynamic and interactive. What languages do I need to use? I mean, there are so many out there, and I need a good place to begin. Would you recommend javascript? java? dhtml? xml? c++? cgi? I really just don't know where to go from here...

Posted by taubz [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 03:10:45 PM

To help you sort out where you might go...
JavaScript is client-side, which means its run by the web browser. That limits its functionality to only things that the WebBrowser knows about. So, you can customize forms and have neat things happen on a page, but that's its limit.

DHTML isn't a language but more of a type of programming. DHTML, which is basically making changes to the appearance of a page on the fly, could be implemented with JavaScript .

XML isn't a language either, but instead a way to organize data - the same way that the content of a web page is structured in tags that the browser can understand. So if you have databases or other data to manipulate, XML might be handy (I've never found it handy myself).

C++ is a language, and while some will say it's good for the web, I think most would agree that it's overly complex. Other languages are much more suited for web programming.

CGI is also not a language, but a "reason" for programming. A CGI program is any program (regardless of the language) that is run server-side (ie, the web server runs the program and sends the output back to the client -- the user sees whatever the program prints out). Common languages used for CGI are Perl (my personal favorite), PHP, Java (using servelets like JSP), and of course C++.

Perl and PHP aren't similar in syntax, but are similar in complexity and power. Maybe PHP is a bit simpler. I strongly recommend learning Perl (or PHP). There should be some info on perl.org or perl.com.... or php.org. A good tutorial will get you started. Beware, tho, that you'll either need to have access to a UNIX-based webserver or download ActiveState Perl if you're running MS Windows on your own computer. If you're running it on your own computer to test, then you'll probably want to download a free web server to make your life easier (I used OmniHTTPd a few years back, but I don't know if they're still around.)

This is a good idea for a QuickStart guide for the front page of the site, so I'm gonna take my reply and turn it into one. Check back in a few hours to see if I add any more useful information to it than what's in this post.

Hope this helps.

- taubz

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 04:03:25 PM

Why are you so dead set on making web sites? The interesting stuff lives far away from there.

Posted by taubz [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 04:35:00 PM

Somehow in the process of uploading that article I managed to delete my previous article and I can't find a local copy on my computer.... anyone happen to have a copy/backup (Psion)?

Posted by grandsnafu [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 04:41:32 PM

I think the link should be "php.net".

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 05:51:14 PM

Yeah, I fished it out of a database backup. http://home.tpu.org/~psion/out

Posted by CaiteeAnne [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 09:15:34 PM

taubz.... thanks so much for the suggestions. I will definitely look into Perl and PHP. Thanks for the tips

Psion... I'm not dead set on making web sites. In fact, I'd love to explore technology unrelated... what to do you suggest? what do you find interesting? I haven't really found exactly what I want to do with computers... all I know is that it's not hardware or networking. I have a good base with web design so I thought I could pursue that some more... I'm interested in what you'd suggest though.

Posted by gian [send private reply] at December 27, 2001, 10:55:45 PM

Psion finds abusing small children on web communities interesting.... stay away from his type.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at December 28, 2001, 09:02:25 AM

Caitee, I enjoyed making this in my high school years:

Posted by gian [send private reply] at December 28, 2001, 05:45:44 PM

Xcode was a very cool project....

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