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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Where Should I Begin?...

    Hello,

    Before we begin, FYI I have very little computer programming experience, and I am 14.

    I want to create a social networking website that will be somewhat similar to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. I don't want it to be a flash website that takes up your entire CPU, but I don't want it to be a crappy HTML site either. It is my understanding that sites like this use Javascript, PHP, My Sql... is this correct? When and How should I learn the programming languages that make up these sites? How do these sites work?

    Also, what degree should I get if any(computer engineer, etc.)?
    And what is a Java applet?

    Basically what I am asking, is how do I get educated enough to build this website, and where do I start?

    Thanks! Any info helps!

  • #2
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    welcome to CF.

    I hope you stick around as some others have done, since they were about 14 or younger.

    Most people around here seem to have learned using these and other forums. they basically decided upon a project, such as you are doing, and used it as the learning environment. Much better I think, to do it that way than to try to learn from a book on its own as you need to relate each new piece of learning with what is already stored in your head.

    (I'm not suggesting you ignore formal study btw. It has its place).

    Building a site to do as you describe could be done in the languages and programs you mention.

    How to start - well php (or other server-side language, eg Perl), both/all work with MySQL so you would pretty much learn the two as you go along since they need to interact so closely when running off a db.

    Were I beginning again, I would start with the db and programming language leaving JS and AJAX until later. I don't agree that we ned to jump in with AJAX coz it's the latest thing. Much better to get your project working and then to add such functionality.

    for learing about databases - the starting point, read up on:

    referential integrity
    normalisation
    entity relationship diagrams
    primary keys
    foreign keys
    foreign key constraints
    surrogate primary keys
    composite primary keys.

    Sounds like a lot but once you get an understanding of those, you'll find it quite straightforward, i think.

    As for learning php, I can't help coz I stuck with perl. But there is plenty of friendly help in the specific forums.


    good luck

    bazz
    "The day you stop learning is the day you become obsolete"! - my late Dad.

    Why do some people say "I don't know for sure"? If they don't know for sure then, they don't know!
    Useful MySQL resource
    Useful MySQL link

  • Users who have thanked bazz for this post:

    NickAustin (07-22-2010)

  • #3
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    Thanks! I do agree, I think forums are better than books in some ways

  • #4
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    I think the right books are incredibly important. O'Reilly's SQL in a nutshell is SUPER helpful when you're starting out in SQL because it helps you remember your syntax and it gives you ideas to experiment with by explaining things succinctly. I think books that try to teach you something are boring. Books that try to tell you something are way more valuable.

    There is no book like this for PHP because PHP's website does this. If you decide to learn PHP, use their website religiously. Read the documentation starting the beginning, not just the functions you're using. You will learn a lot about how the language works.

    Realize that the tools we use in programming (languages, conditionals, loops, etc) are "opaque" tools. A hammer, a saw, a drill, screwdriver nails, screws. These are "transparent" tools. We can see how transparent tools work by using them. We cannot see how opaque tools work by using them. That's why copying code and pasting it to get something working isn't the same as hitting a nail with a hammer. You don't learn something by copying and pasting, but you get clues. This is why a reference like PHP.Net or SQL in a Nutshell (or K&R for C) is vital to your self-teaching. You get a hint, you read about it and learn how it works, then you run a few tests (experiments really) to test your knew knowledge. Now you've learned a new tool. Hammers are much easier.

    I will disagree with Bazz. If you've never programmed before, ignore the database. You've got a long way to go just getting started, and you don't need to be learning database stuff while you're trying to understand basic programming. If you manage to get WAMP installed on Windows (or if you're already using Linux, you rock at being 14), then you can start creating PHP pages to just do basic things like say "hello", create an array and loop over it to echo what's in the array, etc.

    Experiment with the language of your choice.

    Check out this site: http://sixrevisions.com/resources/10...amming-skills/

    Understanding how to program in a language like PHP or Python is good because you can start with imperative programming and move on to object-oriented programming, which are the two most widespread programming paradigms out there.

    Once you get that, then you can move to SQL and learn a whole new thing while you're at it. And it'll be much easier, because ultimately, all you're getting out of the database is arrays of data, and if you're already familiar with arrays in your language, BAM! easy fosheezy.

    Good luck, welcome to CF, and keep experimenting!

  • #5
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    Well, Youtube's home page is
    Code:
     http://www.youtube.com/index.php
    Google:
    Code:
    http://www.google.ca/index.html
    Facebook:
    Code:
    http://www.facebook.com/index.php
    .
    Remember that php is simply HTML with database and constantly changing, live data. I recommend learning 'Crappy HTML' and CSS first.
    Also, you may want to take a look at http://w3.org for web standards.

  • #6
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    PHP is certainly not simply HTML with a database and changing data. You can do PHP with any HTML at all.

    PHP is a 3rd-generation programming language. HTML, CSS, and SQL and 4th-generation languages. They are as different as night and day.

    But I agree that anyone interested in making a website does need to learn HTML and CSS first before using a programming language to generate HTML and CSS for them.

  • #7
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    So learn HTML and CSS then PHP and then Databases?

    Update: I am learning HTML at http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_intro.asp
    Last edited by NickAustin; 07-23-2010 at 07:40 AM.

  • #8
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    There are literally hundreds of places to learn HTML around the web. My suggestion is that after you've taken a look at a few tutorials and guides, you start experimenting. Go to a website and download the source code, see how they do it and try implementing similar things yourself.

    After you've really gotten the hang of HTML try using PHP to generate HTML. Then from there move on to bigger and better things.

  • #9
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    i know nothing about coding, but if you want to make a social networking website that similar to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or else, you can use widely available open source social networking script:

    http://www.honeytechblog.com/top-20-...king-software/
    http://www.vivalogo.com/vl-resources...g-software.htm


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