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Learning to Program Advice

Posted on 2011-03-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a client who is running a FoxPro database and I am learning to program.  They want a small program that sits on the screen and displays the formatted results of a query refreshed at intervals through the day.  I had previously though a C program would do this nicely, but I though before I went and started learning C, maybe I would ask the experts what language they thought would be the best for this.  

I have learned a lot of PHP and some ASP, but never tackled something like C.  I thought this would be a good project to get me started.
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Question by:hydrazi
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sarabande earned 125 total points
ID: 35130328
if you know about php and asp maybe java or c# is the easier way for you and give better result for the client.

if you want to go more into direction of C  i would suggest for c++ and gui libraries like qt, windows forms or mfc.

Sara
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by:dpearson
dpearson earned 125 total points
ID: 35135280
C++ is a perfectly reasonable choice for this.  It's still the language of choice for many desktop applications.

Java and C# are great choices if you want to buff up your web skills, but if you learn C++ your skills as a developer will be strengthened considerably because it's a harder language to learn than any of the others you'd encountered so far.  The main difference is you need to take over managing memory yourself - which means understanding what a pointer really does, how to allocate memory, when to free it and how to do that all safely.

I wouldn't learn C specifically.  C++ is a better choice in 99% of cases.  Once you know C++ you'll easily be able to read C code if you encounter it, but it'll teach you much better programming practices (like Object Oriented Development) than learning C would.

Good luck!

Doug
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by:JimBeveridge
JimBeveridge earned 125 total points
ID: 35144353
A C/C++ program can certainly do the work, but dealing with databases (ODBC) in C/C++ is a challenge even for a C/C++ developer with a fair amount of experience. You need to deal with ODBC, MDAC, SQL drivers - it's really a challenge if you don't have someone who can show you the ropes.  It definitely is not a beginner's project.

Also, be warned that FoxPro is a dead product. Microsoft announced several years ago that there will be no more updates for it. Don't spend a lot of time learning it to get this project done.

(And don't think I'm anti-C++. I'm a Microsoft MVP in Visual C++.)
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LVL 11

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by:cup
cup earned 125 total points
ID: 35163251
Have you ever thought of using AJAX with PHP?  You can grab the data off your source and redisplay it without any timers or even flickering on the screen.  It is just a standard ODBC interface which will work as long as there is an ODBC driver for your database.

Alternatively, convert the Foxpro database to SQLite.  SQLite is built into PHP so you don't need to install anything: just enable it in the php.ini file.

Nothing against C if you wish to learn it.  You could do it both ways and see which one is easier to maintain.
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Author Closing Comment

by:hydrazi
ID: 35342341
Many thanks!  I believe we need to basically FIT INTO the customers environment.  So we are actually going to do it in C++ and then make a similar one in Java to illustrate language differences.
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