View Full Version : Choosing the best programming language for my needs

05-12-2008, 07:45 AM
I am having trouble figuring out if I am using the right programming language, so it would be great if I could get some suggestions.

Basically, I would like to have a lot (a very large amount) of data stored together in one place, and be able to use a calendar-based navigation system to display different portions of the data. I would like the navigation to work in two ways: first, there should be some sort of function for jumping to a specific date, month, or year (and I would also like to be able to make this part hideable); and second, there should be "next & previous" functionality, as well as "broader & narrower" functionality (for example: if a user is viewing "Jan 1, 1995", they can "broaden" by looking at an overview of the week month or year that the date falls into).

The site won't have any fancy images or anything, in fact, the goal is to make it as simple to the viewer as possible, however the underlying structure of how the data is displayed may get quite complex (different positioning based on the content of the data-part, for example) & there may be images and other media included in the data to be displayed, but I don't expect this to need any fancy presentation.

I hope this gives a fair idea of what I have in my head, I can't think of what else to say about it, but please ask if it doesn't make sense.

Currently, I have been experimenting with xml (and related), css, and ssi. I have a sneaking suspicion there may be a simpler way...?

05-12-2008, 07:52 AM
If you have a lot of data, a database makes a lot of sense. The combination of using PHP and MySQL is a fairly common and one of the simplest methods available. These are the server side languages, meaning they are parsed by a program on the server, and then it sends the HTML code to the browser. This website is an example of a PHP based website with a database. You may use a different database if your host provides something different, and they also have to support PHP, but most do though.

XML could be used instead of a database, but if the data is sizable then XML probably isn't the best. CSS is only to help your page display pretty, and SSI is not a language at all but rather some code which includes another file into another file.

Others can suggest other things, but PHP and MySQL is a very common setup which has a lot of support available. I would say if you are serious about learning how to make this happen, jump on your favorite bookseller's website and look for a book which does both PHP and MySQL. I've got one or two myself.

I wouldn't really know how you are doing it now with XML CSS and SSI, but if you want a robust and practical system, PHP is a favorite. Just look at how many more threads are in the PHP forum on this site than all of the other server side languages!

05-12-2008, 06:48 PM
Thanks very much, I'm looking into it.