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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast Clare's Avatar
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    Question ASP.NET - is this a non-starter for complete beginners?

    Hi All

    This could get long, so I apologise in advance. I am in a real mess, and need to sort myself out with the help of you good people.

    I am the website manager for the classic VW club I am in. Long story, but I'm a complete beginner, and so we got a pro to set up a website which could hold our membership database securely, and be quickly and easily edited.

    Unfortunately, he wrote it in ASP.NET; he thinks it is the bees knees, but I cannot make head or tail of it. I can just about plod along in HTML/CSS with the help of the two sitepoint books I got a while ago.

    I want to change the backdrop, but I cannot even work out how to access the correct file, and dare not do it in case I break it, so I just use the WYSIWYG that is built into the website, FCK editor, to change the body content. I can add pages, and pics, but otherwise I'm stuck with it as it is.

    Right now, the site is down, and I have no idea how to fix it.

    Is it possible to have the same level of security, write a "shopping basket" type function, use NOCHEX banking, etc, without ASP.NET? Is there something less awkward to use for a beginner?

    I really would prefer to write a whole new site by myself, with a little good advice of course, so that at least I know what I have done, where and why. I wanted it to look very different all along, and I cannot do a thing with it at the moment. Worse, the members are not 100% happy and that was the whole idea - please the members!

    If it gets back on it's feet (say, if the server had gone down at the ISP and it recovers shortly) the site is at www.vwt2oc.com. Please do not answer to criticise the appearance etc at the moment - it is part of the reason why I want to know if there is another way!

    Thanks in advance - I know of old that you guys are probably the best chance I have of getting sorted and staying sane!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    yes, you'll find it tricky.

    no, you can't easily make similar features without either using asp or php and a database.

    PS there is still a server problem...

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast Clare's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    OK it is not going to be easy. I kinda worked that out! I always manage to bite off more than I can immediately chew with these things...

    Right, so:

    Is ASP difficult because I am a complete beginner, or is it just a bit heavy-handed generally? There are a few posts I've seen that suggest this might be the case.

    Is PHP the way to go if I'm to start from the ground up?

    Which database programme is best for holding membership details and interacting reliably with PHP?

    How much do you reckon this would cost to get a professional in who did what we wanted?

    Not to put too much of a downer on the guy - he did essentially do it for a favour - but I think our pro got carried away with what he is personally excited about programming-wise, instead of really considering what would be best for someone less talented to take over once he washed his hands of it!

    As to the problem with the site, I think that the server has melted...

  4. #4
    #titanic {float:none} silver trophy
    molona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    OK it is not going to be easy. I kinda worked that out! I always manage to bite off more than I can immediately chew with these things...
    Nothing is easy, everything has a learning curve... and if you are just a bit like me, you will learn it and forget it no time at all

    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    Is ASP difficult because I am a complete beginner, or is it just a bit heavy-handed generally? There are a few posts I've seen that suggest this might be the case.
    ASP is very easy, but .NET is a bit harder to grasp. ASP is just like any other script language. .NET is a framework. This means that it has a higher level of abstraction. In practical matters and simplifying, you don't touch the HTML or CSS code directly (only real experts in .NET know how to do this )... you are given a number of objects with properties and methods which will create the code for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    Is PHP the way to go if I'm to start from the ground up?
    I think that you will find it easier... although if you want to go the ASP or the .NET route, you could do it too. Sitepoint has a fantastic book about ASP.NET (you could buy the PDF version, if you like)
    http://www.sitepoint.com/books/aspne...1f4ac06d799b9d

    You can also download the sample chapters and check if it is going to be of any use for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    Which database programme is best for holding membership details and interacting reliably with PHP?
    Any database, including the one you are using. PHP has worked better with MySQL, but it can handle any database, really. So you don't have to change that part if you don't want to. If you do, but you are going to keep the data and structure of the old database, exporting/importing data should not be very hard.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    How much do you reckon this would cost to get a professional in who did what we wanted?
    I don't know the kind of functionality the site has, and what were the exact requirements of the project, and his level of expertise, the amount of members you have, how long it took him, etc. There are too many factors to give a price.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    Not to put too much of a downer on the guy - he did essentially do it for a favour - but I think our pro got carried away with what he is personally excited about programming-wise, instead of really considering what would be best for someone less talented to take over once he washed his hands of it!
    Probably! We are humans, after all

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast Clare's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for that!

    The site host has now recovered from whatever meltdown it had suffered, so it should be possible to view it.

    I know that it is too wordy, needs way more pics and some serious DDA compliance work. That is a fact. It is not beyond my powers, just a case of a bit of a slog.

    The problems I am having are identifying which files in the default appearance control what part of the design. I use Visual Web Developer to view them. The developer says change one of them at random and see what happens! Personally, I think that's a very bad idea...

    If I knew what file extensions to look out for, or someone could look and explain what is pointing to where by doing a "view source" command, that would be great. However, I'm sure that there will be far more to it than that. I will be downloading the free ASP/.NET chapters a.s.a.p.!

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast Clare's Avatar
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    I forgot to say - I have decided that now I know the differences between ASP, .NET and PHP, I think being a complete beginner means it makes no real difference to me where I start. As long as I can do what I want to do with a bit of advice and a book, I will try to work with what I have.

  7. #7
    #titanic {float:none} silver trophy
    molona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    The problems I am having are identifying which files in the default appearance control what part of the design. I use Visual Web Developer to view them. The developer says change one of them at random and see what happens! Personally, I think that's a very bad idea...
    Personally, I think that it is a bad idea too

    Even if I had a link at your page, it would hard for me to find out what controls what because I would see the result. You can post the source code (use the[CODE][/CODE] tags) for that and We'll try to help. Although I would try to ask this question in the .NET forum.


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