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Need direction for developing website and hosting it.

Posted on 2011-04-18
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I have a background in server admining mostly Windows and VMWare with some Unix thrown in. I have done some simple scripting but nothing major, I took a VB class years ago and I think I have the aptitude to learn but just haven't put much in to programming the last several years, wish I would have kept up with it.

I need to create a few websites and was hoping you all could lead me in the right direction of what languages, tools etc. I should look at to start learning. And what platforms to run the site off of if I go that way and don't just hire a hosting company, I will most likely host it with a online company but I'm not sure how common it is for you to get involved with the server side of things.

Most likely I will still need to hire someone to help but I would like to do as much as I can though.

Basically I need to be able to just make a site that looks nice and I can easily secure and have secure accounts and users are able to sign up with a new account from the home page and I will probably need to program it to do some specific tasks like keep track of appointments and send emails or texts to a phone for example.

I need to create pages that the user can some what customize and make it easy to sort through the data. Like task 1 is under category 3 and I need to sort so I can see everything in category 3 and color code it.

I know there are sites that do what I mentioned above but there are many other things I am trying to do with it (following in future threads I'm sure).

So any direction you guys can give me on where to start would be greatly appreciated. I just want to learn something that is easy enough to learn but can still do what I need to do with it.


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Question by:REIUSA
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linuxo earned 500 total points
ID: 35422110
Hi,

for coding and development use PHP for tools and ide  or even RAD use  (scripcase) or dbqwiksite, and for powerful cheap hosting use www.hostingzoom.com 

thanks
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Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 1500 total points
ID: 35423502
Sort of came across this question by accident but it's one I have some opinions about.

Web hosting: I use and am glad to recommend ChiHost.com.  They have a strong sense of security and good support.  I have also had good experiences with Liquid Web and HostGator.  I have had terrible support experiences with GoDaddy and SiteGround.  You don't need support very often if the web hosting company is doing its job, but when you do, you cannot overestimate the value of getting someone competent on the other end of the phone call.  I have hundreds of web sites and I am never involved in server administration.  Almost all of my sites are in shared hosting environments.

Use PHP and MySQL to develop your web site.  Some may debate whether MySQL is as "open" as it once was, now that it is controlled by Oracle, and I take their point in the debate.  If you isolate and encapsulate your data base code behind some kind of abstraction layer, you will have programming that can talk to other data bases, just in case someday you want to use PostGreSQL instead of MySQL.  If you have a background in computer science you will be starting ahead of most PHP programmers.  This book will get you from zero-to-sixty in the language, syntax and some useful design patterns.
http://www.sitepoint.com/books/phpmysql4/

Use error_reporting(E_ALL) right from the start.  PHP, for better or worse, is a loosely typed language, meaning that values of zero, empty, NULL, FALSE all evaluate the same in if() statements.  And since the default error_reporting() for PHP is to suppress Notice-level messages you may find yourself dealing with undefined variables because of a typographical error in the spelling of a variable name.  Don't waste your time with that.

Build a teaching library of programming examples.  Every time you solve a problem, make an example of it and document the example well enough that you could teach a colleague how to solve similar problems.  You will be amazed how quickly your library will grow into something that is actually quite useful.

Choose tools that you like and use them often; explore the options.  While some of my colleagues like the Eclipse IDE, it's not my cup of tea.  My development environment is either Textpad or Notepad++ for coding, any FTP client for uploading, and a test bed on my web site for testing.  I tend to like to write code a few lines at a time and test the function points as they are developed.  I believe in unit testing and often write automated test sequences.  But my work activities are the essence of simplicity: Code, Upload, Test.  I leave the version control and commit activity to others.

HTH, ~Ray
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Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 1500 total points
ID: 35423526
Sorry - I almost forgot.  Get a copy of phpMyAdmin and learn how to use it.  It will save you a lot of time over the course of app development - excellent for data visualization in the data base.  ChiHost provides it free, installed, ready-to-go in their control panel.  If you ever work with the PostGreSQL analog to phpMyAdmin, you will see just how valuable a large open-source community can be!  The MySQL tool has every feature you could ask for.  The PostGreSQL tool is a little lame by comparison.
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Author Comment

by:REIUSA
ID: 35444360
Awesome thanks for the advice both of you. Still want to let it bake to get as much advice and opinions as possible and will give points to all good posters.

One other question related to the posts above. I don't think I mentioned it above but I also will need to create a retail based web site, considering that would the above tools and languages still work best for me to create a retail type site?
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by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 1500 total points
ID: 35447435
For a retail web site, you might want to start with eBay or Amazon stores.  They have sort of done all the "heavy lifting" in this space.  If you want to make your own store, you should probably learn about PayPal's X.com site and learn about Magento or OSCommerce.

The web site is the easy part of retail.  Fulfillment and logistics are the "hard" part, where hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed just to begin to distribute any product at a rate that produces meaningful profitability.  If you have a completely unique niche and expect to sell substantial volumes you may find that UPS can help you with the logistics, but you will probably have to commit to a minimum monthly payment.
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Author Comment

by:REIUSA
ID: 35472370
The x.com site looks very interesting, I'll check that out too.
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Author Comment

by:REIUSA
ID: 35472394
Something else about the retail business, I know exactly what you mean. I've been selling products in Japan for about two years with a company similar to Amazon and it has done really well but once I get my own site up I would like to start selling independently as well as through the other site. I like the idea of having more than one resource for selling product.

Now the biggest challenge will be to get enough produce to justify my own site, I'm not too far off from that now but it will take some time, hopfully I can get a good site up and tweaked first. Logistics will be a challenge too but I think will be doable, really the biggest pain will be working out returns, oh-well, thats how it goes I guess.
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Author Closing Comment

by:REIUSA
ID: 35766567
Thanks for the info.
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