Web Development

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What should one learn for web development?

What should a web developer learn as far as languages and scripting, etc. goes? There is so much out there besides HTML, CSS and JavaScript. ASP? VBScript? VB.NET? C#? Perl? PHP/MySQL?

What are the best things to get some background in?

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A little inacurate

by Ken Cox In reply to an approach to learning w ...

Your Quote "ASP.NET, VBScript, VB.NET, and C#.NET are appropriate only for single-platform Windows development with only Internet Explorer being used by all your clients" is not entirely accurate. While these platforms certaininly take advantage of "familial" connections, they are far from "platform" dependant. I work on both sides of the MS/Java fence but in this case I have to call this misinformation and have to support MS even though I hate to do it.

I have designed and implemented over a hundred websites now that are fully firefox, opera, netscape and IE compliant using the .NET platform so I would have to say that it is more a question of knowing your tools and not buying into any single persons opinion of what those tools are capable of. I also develop on the PHP/MySQL/Linix/Apache platform, probably about 30 sites so far, and personally find that .NET lends itself to a far better structured environment then is present in most "WEB" development projects.

I would say your best tactic when looking at what you should study would be to pickup a little of everything and focus on those languages and tools that present themselves. You never know what environment you will be working in, and never, never, never discount any tool in your toolbelt, or someone elses, because of someones perceived notion of what they think of it. Find out for yourself what works in what situation. If you want to stay working be prepared for anything you will discover and dont be afraid to learn as you go.

You will find a lot of people that have firmly dedicated themselves as JAVA or MS platforms. This platform war is stupid and does no one, especially the client a service. Be a fence sitter and keep a foot on each side of the rail and benifit from what both have to offer. Then you can decide what is the best tool for the situation in a non-predjudical manner.

I would focus on XHTML, CSS, XML, Learn T-SQL with minor variations this is how you will connect to all dbms, Learn both PHP and ASP.NET. Be prepared to study and learn any of a hundred variations of languages and methods that you will encounter as you are working.

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re: platform dependence

by apotheon In reply to A little inacurate

When I said "platform" I was referring to the server. Obviously, you can access ASP.NET websites from browsers other than IE running on operating systems other than Windows on the client side.

Also, I said that ASP.NET (and related tech) is only appropriate for single-platform development, not that it was only possible for it. Keep in mind that Mono and proprietary .NET knock-offs don't have access to the full range of proprietary .NET libraries on Windows, the .NET specification is a moving target so that what works on another platform today may be broken tomorrow, and as long as Microsoft has even just de facto control of the .NET spec you can bet money this is leading to a market dominance strategy that will leave people developing for Mono wondering why their websites are suddenly broken in IE.

It wasn't inaccurate at all, thanks. I chose my words very carefully when I said "appropriate".

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First, you need to make some decisions

by mdhealy In reply to What should one learn for ...

First, you need to decide whether you intend to focus on the front end, the back end, or both, because that will determine where the complexity will be. My own experience is mostly with the back end, not with fancy front ends. Do be aware that with fancy front ends you are much more likely to have compatibility issues than with simple HTML front ends; the fancier you get the more important it becomes to test with multiple browsers (at LEAST Mozilla and MSIE, but also I recommend testing with Opera and with the Lynx text-mode browser).

The web applications I have built are for the use of scientific researchers, and behind them are various complex back-end applications: databases, bioinformatics analyses, etc. With all that complexity on the back end, I've tended to make rather simple front ends -- just HTML forms to collect input data from the user, then the results get presented as simple HTML reports. Some use of frames and a few simple graphics when appropriate, but not much use of bells and whistles such as JavaScript or Flash.

The database stuff is in SQL, not because I particularly like SQL as a language (it's almost as ugly as COBOL or FORTRAN), but because nearly all serious database engines use it so I don't have much of a choice. My code is nearly all Perl, since that's my language of choice. I won't claim Perl is the perfect language, it's got its share of quirks, but I find I can get things done in Perl much faster than in any other language I have tried -- and I have tried quite a few languages since I first learned programming in FORTRAN with PUNCH CARDS a while ago.

I've done some coding in Java, which has some elegant features, but it always seems to take me a lot more lines of code to get something done in Java than it takes me to get it done in Perl. I must admit, however, that my Java code can be somewhat more readable than my Perl code -- the enforced verbosity of Java does sometimes read better than the line noise Perl I sometimes catch myself writing.

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re lynx and fancy front ends

by Jaqui In reply to First, you need to make s ...

I can tell you what the result will be for any fancy front end:

useless in lynx.

lynx only supports html, without frames, without tables, without javascript, without flash, and without graphics. I use lynx to browse online most of the time, because the fancy crap on websites has no interest for me. If a website is useless in lynx, then there is no content worth my time on the website.

Lynx doesn't even support css, so it really is a basic site only that works with it.

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A bit of everything, alot of a few things...

by williamsmytheiii In reply to What should one learn for ...

In my experience as a web dev, it is truly all about JavaScript.

Most development for a page or a site ends up being coded in JS, like it or not. The reason is obvious - client side coding is a necessity for dynamic web pages - it is not an option.

As far as backend, server languages, it is important to become familiar with MS's .NET platform and at least one .NET language. C# is a good choice for those with C/C++ experience. VB is good for those with no experience or experience with another scripting language. Python is good for those who desire to work with an 'open source' language AND be able to work within a .Net environment.

PHP is probably the simplest, most comprehensive language to use on Linux servers running Apache - you can do most things quickly, with relative ease, and with minimal use of libraries/import/includes. For the novice or beginning web developer, PHP is the answer.

Good Luck!


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