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Develop webapp with MS SQL or MySQL with clean interface

Hello,

I currently develop using ASP (classic) and MS SQL as backend. For as much as I want the site to look clean it has certain limits it seems to me.
As compared to how other applications I have seen around like:

https://www.mindbodyonline.com/
http://www.zendesk.com/

The interface is gorgeous and clean, almost like a wordpress website. Only has a database backend ...

I am thinking of learning either ASP.net or PHP, but I am not sure if PHP will allow me to develop an application that will have that look and feel or if there is some other tool that would allow me to do so ?  

What do people use to develop wordpress sites and apps ?   I am sorry if I sound like a beginner but outside the classic ASP/SQL environment I am not too saavy.  
I use Dreamweaver CC which allows to develop using PHP but not sure if by using DW as my tool I can do web apps like the ones I mentioned.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Aleks
Asked:
Aleks
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6 Solutions
 
Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
PHP is a server-side script.  Look and feel are front-end things handled by HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  To the extent PHP or .Net is involved, it's to store user preferences or previous choices and output the desired text or page accordingly.

WordPress is built with PHP but also makes heavy use of JavaScript, including JQuery.  Themes can call even more JavaScript depending on needs and design philosophy. Dreamweaver is simply an IDE and can be used to edit your files but it's not going to make you a better designer.
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AleksAuthor Commented:
What is used to develop applications with that look and feel ?
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in the hands of skilled professionals.

If you want to see which common libraries or frameworks are referenced, you can always use Built With.

http://builtwith.com/
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Ray PaseurCommented:
Might be worth mentioning that Facebook is a PHP machine, too.  If you want some getting-started resources for PHP, this article can help.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/PHP/A_11769-And-by-the-way-I-am-new-to-PHP.html

And if you want to get started on the right foot, avoid the antipatterns and antipractices noted here.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/PHP/A_12293-AntiPHPatterns-and-AntiPHPractices.html
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AleksAuthor Commented:
Those are great resources thank you.  Say I learn how to use PHP. Which seems the way to go at this point. Is there a way to use PHP with MS SQL Database ?  I can only find a way to connect to MySQL which is not as robust.
And I don't think DWCC supports a design like the ones I sent. What do designers use for creating Wordpress sites ?  I know those are also PHP with MySQL backends.
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Ray PaseurCommented:
Yes, PHP supports MSSQL.  
http://www.php.net/manual/en/book.mssql.php

But I would choose MySQL over MSSQL if you're going to use PHP.
http://www.php.net/manual/en/book.mysqli.php

And before you mistake MySQL for something less than robust, consider that Facebook is a PHP + MySQL machine.  MySQL gets 70,000 downloads a day and is embedded in over 12,000,000 installations, including every WordPress site on earth.  If MySQL were not "robust" it would never have enjoyed that kind of popularity.
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AleksAuthor Commented:
True ... I just downloaded a good DB Manager for MySQL ... so ... Ill start playing with it.
I am still to find a good designer for making my site look and feel like the links above.
Would DW CC have that sort of templates ?  to make them look and feel like wordpress sites ?
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Ray PaseurCommented:
DW might have templates you would like, but why not just use WordPress?  It has a database back end.  WordPress "look and feel" is developed through the use of Themes.  There are lots of Themes available - both free and paid - and you can build your own, too.
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AleksAuthor Commented:
Yes, but How can I modify a theme to use it for my web application ?
It can be customized through their interface. Which tool can be used to create Wordpress templates so that they can be modified ?
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Ray PaseurCommented:
You're at the threshold of a substantial learning curve, no matter what path you pursue.  There are several good books about WordPress on Amazon.com and the community has reviewed them so you can see which books are the best respected.  A Google search for "Learn WordPress" will turn up links like these.  
http://learn.wordpress.com/
http://codex.wordpress.org/New_To_WordPress_-_Where_to_Start
https://managewp.com/learning-wordpress

Please understand that the questions you're asking will require weeks if not months of study before you will be able to understand the answers.  In respect of your time, you might want to think about hiring a professional developer.  You will get good results much faster that way.
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