Need a starting point for learning about web applications.

Posted on 2015-02-13
Last Modified: 2016-05-09
I am a bit outdated in the field. I want to jump start giving myself a little project creating a simple social network application. That simply maps users on a google map.

I am pretty comfortable with academic C++ and Java. Javascript and similar. But have little and very vague experience of being on administrator end of web server applications.  I'm self taught, but pretty much been out of the job force for about 10 years.

What language do you recommend for self learning for this, PHP? And what web database? MySQL and what is a good service provider to buy some space on to make this smooth as possible?

Question by:Shana H
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LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 83 total points
ID: 40609376
Depends on how deep do you want to jump. If you want to go deep, get a Virtual Private Server (VPS) and configure your own services (Apache or Litespeed/nginx, MySQL/MariaDB, PHP/Ruby, etc.).

PHP is easy to learn, easy to make mistakes into. But if you have a proper programmer's training you shouldn't pick up many bad habits out of it.
Ray has a very good article about starting with PHP:

MySQL (and its fork, MariaDB) is still a very popular choice and widely available with any hosting plan.

In my opinion, LAMP is still a very good choice to begin with. Once you're comfortable with them, you can learn pretty much anything web-related.

LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Derse
Andrew Derse earned 83 total points
ID: 40609525
I would recommend using PHP and MySQL.  Since you already have a solid foundation in other languages, this should be a really quick thing to pick-up.  Also check out jQuery, jQuery mobile and AJAX.  Those are three languages that will make your applications super nice.

Check out  You can get 10 days of service for free.  This website is where I learn my new languages and keep up with the old.  Super fast place to learn new languages and concepts.  Completely worth the $25 I pay every month.
LVL 42

Assisted Solution

pcelba earned 83 total points
ID: 40609726
You may start reading some articles which can help to achieve your goals:  (update the link to get more...)

The most difficult part is to decide what tools to select... PHP+MySQL is easier for a quick start, ASP.NET has much longer learning curve but good option for professional development, Python and other tools are more modern and cool with large community etc.

The hosting means $5-10/month but you may also find many free hosting services (with PHP, MySQL, and advertisements obviously). One of them is

Good luck!
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LVL 34

Accepted Solution

Slick812 earned 85 total points
ID: 40609972
greetings Shana H, , , you ask about what are the "Best" ways to get up your web pages (I prefer Not to re-define web sites as "Apps" or "Applications" or "Services"). The developers here at EE use JAVA as the server side coding, and they are experienced and knowledgeable. But as you know, the language used is much less important than the developer's talent using it. When I went into server side programming, from windows application programming, I picked PHP for server side, Why?  - because there were more than 10 times as many web hosts using PHP, than the other sever languages put together. Here are some stats for server side languages -

Ruby has become some what popular for Rapid Web development, worth a look.

As to database, all PHP host sites that I have ever seen, that use PHP have MySQL. MySQL is good and dependable, but because It is now under Oracle, the "Open Source" dudes came up with MariaDB,
My personal preference is PostgreSQL (a more knowledgeable developed DB, ahead of MySQL in concepts and implementation, in my opinion), here are some DB rankings -

About "what is a good service provider", , there are too many web hosts services available now, to even get a consideration for "make this smooth as possible". If you want to learn, there are some "free" to sign up server hosts, but you get what you pay for at those, there are even a very few, free ones now, that offer tomcat JAVA or windows server ASP. But you may need to research and get what your requirements are for your host service, before you ask this questions, if you pick JAVA for your way, then the web hosts services to use would be different than if you pick ASP C#
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Assisted Solution

by:Gary Patterson
Gary Patterson earned 83 total points
ID: 40611241
The LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/php) stack is popular for obvious reasons:  all the major software components are open-source, and thus accessible to anyone without a significant investment.  As a result, there is an enormous number of sites deployed using the LAMP stack.  Additionally, there are some pretty incredible open-source content management systems and eCommerce systems avvailable that use this stack, including the incredibly-popular Wordpress, Joomla!, Zen Cart, Magento, and more.

You can also develop and deploy for the Java web stack using open source tools, but I think the admin complexity is higher than LAMP - and that's where your weak point is, based on your comments.

Regardless of the stack you choose, you can get a small virtual server on some free usage on Amazon's cloud (search "AWS free tier") for a year.

Finally, if you can qualify to join Microsoft's BizSpark program, you can get free MS tools for a while, and some free usage on Azure, though eventually you'll have to move to a paid service after the introductory period ends.

Assisted Solution

by:Ali Eslamifar
Ali Eslamifar earned 83 total points
ID: 40654594
Hi, Since you are familiar with C++ and Java I would recommend working on Python, which gives you a very simple way for object oriented programming. Recently Python got a lot of attentions in the world of programming, Google focused on using that because of its reliability and simplicity. You can find google's lessons on that here:

There is also some other good sources that you can easily start your first Python project:

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