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Computer programming Opinion Wanted

     
6:17 pm on Jun 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi All, Hope everyone is having a good day.
I have a question, I am looking to branch out on my own and learn a new computer language. My future dream is to design a Customer Management software tool all myself then market it. I know I will be using a SQL database. I don't know alot about computer programming (this is gonna be an ongoing project for quite a few years) What programming language would you recommend learning? C, C#, C++, VisualBasic, VisualBasic.net, etc........? What are major differences? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
6:37 pm on June 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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PHP.
6:54 pm on June 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It depends on what kind of application you are looking to make. Is this going to be a web-based customer management software?
7:19 pm on June 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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if it's webbased: perl. great language, great community, great freedom. as usual, freedom comes with responsibility, but still: it's freedom. work the way you want, learn the way you want. plus: there are ready-to-use-modules for so many things, you don't have to worry about reinventing the wheel.
9:10 pm on June 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yep. If it's a web app, definately Perl. Perl stands for (P)ractical (E)xtraction & (R)eporting (L)anguage. It was designed entirely for handling data and this it does extremely well.

C++, VB etc are generally used to write Windows applications.

[edited by: Dabrowski at 9:11 pm (utc) on June 4, 2008]

10:03 pm on June 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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C sharp in Visual Studio if you aren't forced to use freeware.
10:26 pm on June 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you are ever wanting to apply your skills to a job I would recommend C#. If not, I would go PHP.

I love PHP but there are a ton of jobs for .NET every where. PHP will probably have a wider base for your product, but .NETers might be more willing to pay for it.

11:26 pm on June 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I love PHP but there are a ton of jobs for .NET every where. PHP will probably have a wider base for your product, but .NETers might be more willing to pay for it.

i think that depends on the target market. if you're targeting small businesses, they probably won't be happy to have to change their hosting environment to run your product, which will have to be necessary most of the time if you're selling .net . if you're, on the other hand, targeting medium to big companys, they won't take the technical stuff as a primary criteria, since those decisions aren't usually made by IT-people. If you can market it, have the features and the buzzwords to sell them, you can, from a sales-point-of-view, sell it on any platform.

4:14 am on June 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I used to sell pre-built web software packages myself years ago (similar in nature to the OP). Many targeted at small companies and a good amount for medium sized companies and large universities. Though I only did this a few years, not once did anyone change their production environment. However, if it was a going into a dedicated server it would sway what environment was used on that machine. However, the software I developed had competition in many different languages which does change things. Typically, the technical staff had a fair amount of input into the process and would usually go with a language they were familiar with to start with.

On a side note: Any way you go, anticipate modules to work with other software and systems to be requested. It occurred pretty frequently.

11:45 am on June 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Don't go for perl.. its almost past its shelf life when it comes to web development (still great for shell scripting though).

I would agree with the others and say PHP or .NET, PHP is easier to pick up and very flexible (which makes it easy to write bad and unmaintainable code, so read some good tutorials) on the other hand .NET does seem to have a bigger job market (though PHP does pay well as good developers outside of London are like gold dust).

12:01 pm on June 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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perl ain't dead - it just has no marketing department.
there's a reason amazon runs alot on perl, and there is some active development within the community, check out [catalystframework.org...] for example. Personally, I think it's really just a PR-issue, there's alot going on in perl but it's not so much communicated to the outside world.
2:57 pm on June 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thank you all so much for your input. It has been extremely helpful!
4:34 pm on June 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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perl.. its almost past its shelf life when it comes to web development.

How can you possibly make this statement? Do you have any indications that support for Perl is going to end that the rest of us don't know about? The PHP/Perl argument is beginning to sound a lot like the Mac/PC argument, with both sides so adamantly entrenched in their position with very little knowledge of the other.

People select PHP because it's easier to learn. Not "better", easier - and many of the functions we build by hand in Perl are pre-defined in PHP. There are STILL things Perl can do that PHP cannot. I program fluently in both.

Consequently, some of the PHP projects I've taken over are the most security-ridden, sloppiest code I've ever seen. Also true of Perl projects, but seems much more prevalent in PHP. It's absolutely true that "a little bit of knowledge is dangerous." PHP allows you to do some very dangerous things on a larger scale without even knowing you're doing them.

In the context of this project, Perl will allow you to take your applications offline if you like. There are many apps out there that are ported to Windows and Mac very easily by using a perl-based engine behind a platform-specific GUI.

So if you want easy to learn, PHP will work. You may or may not encounter things that PHP can't do - but a small clue, the structure and syntax of PHP is very similar to Perl. When we first started dabbling in it many old schoolers simply described it as "Perl, but in the page instead of back-end."

A decent foundation in PHP will be insightful to learning perl for those that bother, a background in Perl gives you a very easy transition to PHP.

A side note: Yes, you CAN program web apps in C - most don't for the very same reason PHP is preferred over perl. C is a **serious** programming language that compiles an executable program. If every programmer out there (including myself) dumped the scripts and programmed everything in C, we would have far fewer attack vulnerabilities. (IMO)

Second, if you do learn C or it's variants, this will port itself very easily to platform-specific programming. Your web apps will often need only a re-compile for the specific platform.

So if you want the broadest programming knowledge, you may consider getting a little C programming under your belt too.

7:57 pm on June 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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RIGHT ON ROCKNBIL!

Less people use Perl. Not because it's not good, not supported, or not available.

It's freeware so for some reason people think less of it. Oh wait, so it PHP! ;)

There are less people that know it because it's difficult to learn. But, as Rocknbil said, because it's more involved code written with it is usually of better quality.

And...less supply means higher prices - you can get paid more by knowing stuff other people don't.

So, if you want a job learn Perl. If you only want it for your own use, learn Perl.

Not wishing to dumb down PHP in any way, I just prefer Perl


But....again, Perl is really suited to web apps and shell scripting, not for Windows applications. If you're planning to write a Windows based app, the best one to learn is C++ as it's far more versitile than the others, but again is more difficult to learn.

However there is a demand for .NET, so if you're looking for a job then maybe that would be a better choice.

[edited by: Dabrowski at 8:01 pm (utc) on June 5, 2008]

7:52 pm on June 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Consider Python because it is useful for so many things: it is used for web apps, for scientific computing, for GUIs, for systems administration, and a lot else.

It is a nice clean language to learn. It is cross platform so you can write software that will run on Windows, Mac, Linux, etc, usually unaltered.

Also, the really good programmers seem to advise learning to program is a wider skill than learning a language: if you learn the principles and skills, learning languages is easy.

11:31 am on June 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Consequently, some of the PHP projects I've taken over are the most security-ridden, sloppiest code I've ever seen.

This is in part due to the fact that PHP is easier to learn - somewhat more WYSIWYG. Perl attracted many profficient C programmers as they immediately recognised the power in it, so the quality of the developer in the Perl World is generally higher in my experience.

If this is likely to become a business I would suggest you start with something reasonably easy to learn rather than looking for real under the bonnet horsepower. Most VC's don't give a hoot what it's written in as long as there is a clear addressable market and profit opportunity for the idea. If you have a good idea, learn what you need to get it built as quickly as possible. It's the idea that matters, not the underlying code that delivers it.

Several succesful technology start ups that I can think of substantially re-wrote their core applications after receiving funding.

 

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