Topic: Some Web programming advice required...  (Read 4123 times)

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Offline PJ

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Some Web programming advice required...
« on: August 17, 2009, 05:36:45 PM »
Hi all. Just looking for a bit of advice here....

I'm looking to do some of my own web coding - primarily to do some user account management, backend database handling (mySQL probably) retrieving and modifying lists for each user. I'm familiar with HTML and have used Frontpage & Dreamweaver in the past, but on looking into developing some dynamic code have found a bewildering array of code standards & acronyms - PHP, ASP, .NET, PERL, JAVA, XML, Javascript etc etc - and that's before you even start looking at any of the 3rd party development tools.

Could anyone here who has some experience in this kind of stuff take pity on me and point me in the right direction as to what I'm best concentrating on to develop to modern web standards ? Something along the lines of - 'learn PHP and SQL is your best bet' - is what I'm looking for. Once I have the right direction I'm sure I can find enough web-based tutorials and books to take me forward, I just don't know where to start.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Offline Dave_Jones

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 08:35:01 AM »
I personally use PHP with the ADODB extensions, and they haven't let me down yet.  I have little experience of the others except Java / Javascript, which always strikes me as a bit clunky and relies on the end user having appropriate things installed.

http://www.php.net/
http://adodb.sourceforge.net/

Offline Andy

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 09:41:40 AM »
A good start is a LAMP system.

Linux
Apache
MySQL
Perl/PHP

You dont need a powerful machine to run it, and best of all its completely free!

Offline combatking0

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 11:42:37 AM »
Here's a quick run-down of the acronyms you have listed:

PHP - A Server Side Scripting Language. It's syntax is similar to JavaScript and C. It runs on the server and can be used to make descisions, process form data, generate images and interface with SQL databases. It is also capable of many other things. It can run on almost any web server.

ASP - A Server Side Scripting Language. It's syntax is similar to BASIC. It runs on the server and can be used to make descisions, process form data, generate images and interface with SQL databases. It is also capable of many other things. It usually runs on Microsoft servers, but 3rd party versions of the language exist.

.Net - I'm not sure about this one, but it seems to be added to the end of some of the other acronyms to represent a large step forward over a previous version.

PERL - A Server Side Scripting Language. It's syntax is similar to JavaScript and C. It runs on the server and can be used to make descisions, process form data, generate images and interface with SQL databases. It is also capable of many other things. It can run on almost any web server. It is quite different from PHP both in its initial set-up and in many of its commands.

JAVA - A Client Side Applet Language. It's syntax is similar to JavaScript and C. It can be used with a free Java Compiler to create Java Applets, which can be embedded in web pages. The available functionality is similar to Flash, but it can be tricky to learn if you have not programmed before.

XML - A Client Side Markup Language. XML is essentially quite similar to HTML, but it requires a DTD file to be referenced before it will render in a browser. Alternatively, you could use a Java Applet, JavaScript or Flash program to use the data in the XML.

JavaScript - A Client Side Scripting Language. It can be used to modify the content of a web page, change the position of elements, validate forms before they are submitted, etc.

An excellent site to learn from is W3Schools. It has many tutorials for the many languages available.

There is a free Flash editing tool called Flex. I will post a link to the Open Source version if you are interested.

What sort of computer (Operating System and hardware spec) are you using to learn?
Retroman!

Offline PJ

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 08:25:12 PM »
Chaps, many thanks for the excellent advice here. I appreciate you taking the time to provide it. The links in particular.

@combatking - thanks for the insight into all the acronyms. I wasn't sure if PHP and Perl were the same/variant of the same or completely different so appreciate you clearing that up. I've always been a bit mystified with the .NET thing - even my home desktop downloads MS updates to the '.NET framework' whatever that is.... I'll have a look at that W3Schools link, thanks. Dont think I'll be using Flash just yet, but would still appreciate the Flex link for future reference. Also, in XML what does DTD stand for ? And is the DTD file client side or server side?

@Dave_Jones - had a look at the ADODB link - very useful, many thanks.

PHP sounds like the thing to go with too - so many web sites seem to be using it. With any luck I should be able to pick it up OK as I've done programming in Assembler, C, VBA and C++ in the past (among others)

I think what I will be doing is following AndyTs advice and using an Intel PC with Linux, Apache & MySQL to learn on - I've got one I can re-use and the 'free' aspect of it appeals....:-))

Cheers.




Offline Andy

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 08:37:09 PM »
At work, we develop our applications on C++ and .net. (im not a developer - im the evil sysadmin!) Also a bit of ruby on rails...

In my eyes, .net is an extension on top of C++. .Net is like a large collection of libraries and precompiled stuff. Thats why you need the .net runtime libraries.  So our applications have web frontends, but there are also compiled binaries underneath.

Im probably talking rubbish - im not a developer!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.NET_Framework

Offline Andy

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2009, 08:38:55 PM »
I think what I will be doing is following AndyTs advice and using an Intel PC with Linux, Apache & MySQL to learn on - I've got one I can re-use and the 'free' aspect of it appeals....:-))

I would suggest Ubuntu server if you are new to linux. If you are a bit more adventuros, go for Debian. If you are really hardcore, gentoo!

Offline combatking0

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2009, 08:48:33 PM »
If you've got Windows XP Pro, and the installation CD, you can install IIS (a web server) which allows you to run ASP scripts. A PHP installer can be added to it, but it can be tricky to make it work some times.

Mac OS X comes with a built-in web service which is disabled by default. It can be switched on without the OS X disc, but you need to be an administrator.

Your best bet, regardless of the operating system, is to download an open source web service such as Apache, which comes with PHP support as standard.

If you want to practise integrating databases with PHP, the MySQL service can also be downloaded.

Most modern browsers have JavaScript enabled by default, and few people turn it off. You won't need to modify your server at all to support it on your web page.

Downloads:
Flex
Apache
MySQL
Java
Perl
PHP
Retroman!

Offline PJ

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2009, 09:55:45 PM »
Top notch ! Many thanks.

Should keep me busy for a few hours......


Offline Dave_Jones

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 10:50:33 AM »
Regardless of what you use, be sure to read up on SQL Injection attacks because people, sadly, are gits.

Offline combatking0

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2009, 09:39:33 PM »
Bah! I'll have to re-write parts of my shop code. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Retroman!

Offline PJ

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2009, 09:44:25 PM »
Looks like this could be more complicated than I thought. Thanks all....

Offline combatking0

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2009, 10:04:19 PM »
Essentially, if you have a form which will be submitted to a database, and the content of the form includes the words "INSERT" and "INTO" in that order, or "DELETE *", then it might run those entries as if they were valid SQL and mess up the database.

All it takes is a few extra lines of code to filter out the potential security problems.
Retroman!

Offline Andy

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2009, 10:20:02 AM »
SQL injection is very common for forums. phpbb had a massive bug a while back.

Offline woody.cool

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Re: Some Web programming advice required...
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2009, 03:22:00 PM »
DELETE * FROM <table> ................ WHOOPS! :D