Old-school programmer wishes to get up-to-date

By tblit82 ·
I last programmed about 15 years ago (for about 15 years) in 3GLs when the web was in its infancy. For years, I have tried to figure out the best 'starting point' to play a little (or lot!) of catch-up to current technology. I have a bit of OO programming in my background, as well as SQL, so I don't believe I'm a total novice.

Where is the starting point for programming on the Web? For simplicity's sake, I've rather arbitrarily chosen the Microsoft platform of tools. So should I get an ASP.NET book? Should I go more basic and learn HTML first? Should I try out a product like DreamWeaver (I know this is not MS). Frontpage? Is there any "hierarchy" to any of this?

Thanks Loads!
Confused in the Desert...

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Online Application

by jared.ochs In reply to Old-school programmer wis ...

It depends on what you want to build. If you have the SQL knowledge then you should pursue .net 2.0, mobile 5.0 developement. The cutting edge in this day and age is online applications that move as the user move through the internet.

Flash developement, html, java etc.. these are great things to know becuase you almost always run into an opportunity to use these skills.

Dreamweaver is OK but visual developer would be my advise to you.

good luck

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It's a damn big field nowadays

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Old-school programmer wis ...

You can earn your corn just with SQL (and XML probably nowadays), just client side tech, HTML , Javascript et al.

Server side APS/JSP or PHP, you will need at least basic SQL for that side of the job, presenting database content is the bulk of it.

XML/XSL will get you a job as well.

Then on the coding from .net and Java are the established chaps with a future, you'll still need SQL.

The talent that let you do it and enjoy it for 15 years is still very valuable.

I'd recommend you hit

Do the tutorials, see what fits.

You'll probably find you need at least XML and SQL, unless you are going to go for graphic design.
If you specifically want to do web, start with HTML and simple. There are lots of good free editors, Dreamweaver is a bit heavy for a starter, it would be hard to see the wood for the trees.

FrontPage, you couldn't pay me to use that.

Visual Studio Express and SQL Server Express are both freely downloadable from MS.

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have fun

by bigbigboss In reply to Old-school programmer wis ...

HTML is not a bad starting place, and it should take you very little time to get started. In the web, whatever you do, you will produce a html file at the end. So, knowing how these things will behave, and what are the limitations will help. You can quickly advance to XHTML and XML, and other output formats. Learn about CSS while you are at it.

Get your IIS running on Windows so that you can see how a web server works.

Next you should learn some JavaScript so that you can do some AJAX stuff. You can then go to ASP.NET to produce those XHTML and JavaScripts through programming. And you can use the MSFT products to do this.

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Learning curves

by exit104 In reply to Old-school programmer wis ...

Dear Confused:

You will have a couple points of culture shock re-entering the field after 15 years. In the old days, hardware was more expensive than software. Programming time was cheap reletive to the cost of memory, CPU and disk space. Now, software and it's development is the most expenseive part of a computer system.

Because it is so cheap, we can afford to "throw hardware at the problems" rather than trying to optimize code. At the same time, code that we would lovingly craft like stack stuctures, sorts, and hashing algorithms come with the language or the OS.

Here is a plan of study to get you going. I assume that you have 3-5 hours per day to study and play with the technology.

1. Web Tech - 2 weeks
Get a cheap (Linux based) web hosting account and build a web site (I use Site5). Start without fancy tools; notepad/wordpad and the FTP client are all you need. After you hack together a couple of pages, get something like Dreamweaver and enjoy how much more productive you are. Make sure you learn a litte Javascript.

2- Knock the rust off - 1 week.
Get the Microsoft development tools. The Express edition of Visual Studio with C# is pretty ideal. Make sure you install the "lite" version of SQL server.
Now, play with the tools. Write some SQL using the Northwind database.

3- C#/VB and .NET. Caution steep learning curve ahead! 1 Month
There really is no "easy" way to approach learning CLR and .NET. If you were an old C hacker, C# is what you should pick up, otherwise VB.NET is a better choice. It makes no difference, really, the same object code comes out of the compiler.
Not only do you have to (re)learn the language, you have to get used to the .NET framework and doing things in a ".NET manner". Play with Windows Forms apps for a little while and then...

4. Learn ASP.NET - 1 Month
Pick up another book on ASP.NET and start working through it. You can serve up the web pages on your own machine so you do not have to buy fancy/expensive hosting.

5. Pick up some PHP/MYSQL. 2 Weeks
Using your hosting account, learn PHP. You do not need to be an expert, but familiarity with the technology is pretty important.

There are myriads of resources on the Web to teach you, provide source code and as references. Learning this stuff is a fantastic adventure! Best of luck to you.

Andy Otto, Pennilond Development Co.

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Slight disagreement

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Learning curves not VB, the only reason to use the latter is for the transition to proper OO from VB6 et al. Otherwise, don't touch it.

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I agree

by nuSkool In reply to Slight disagreement

C# has a much cleaner syntax and is easier to learn. It's what I am learning now. The syntax is similar to Java, C++ and PHP, from my limited self learning experience.
Here's the link to download

and more MS resources.

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