Starting out in programming

Hi guys, new member and just wanted some advice please.

I am a finance manager and we use a large amount of spread sheets to help us analyse data as to how the business is performing. I am looking to consolidate all this data into a database with a front end that other senior managers can use easily.

I have spread sheets that analyse purchases, sales, revenue by salesperson, revenue by category, checks to ensure bills are correct etc. On top of that i was hoping to tap into an existing database to access other information.

So my question is…with all the different programming languages out there, what would be best for a beginner (but quick learner) to use to help bring this all together? This is just for my use and some other senior managers at the moment.

I’ve been looking at C++ and Visual Studio with an SQL database to hold all the spread sheets i have, or is there something better out there?

Thank you in advance for any tips and advice people can offer, and if i haven’t explained this very well, please let me know and i will try to explain things a bit better.


It sounds like basically database work and manipulation of data, so I think C++ might be a bit of overkill here, and the learning curve is pretty steep for C++. I would probably go with PHP/mySQL for the backend and HTML/CSS for the user interface with perhaps some JavaScript if needed.


Hi Webmachine, thank you for the comment. That would certainly be a bit easier to learn, i dabbled in HTML some years ago so wouldn’t quite be starting from scratch, so thats always a good thing.

Thanks again for replying :+1:

Php and Mysql/MariaDB is a perfect fit for what you want to do.

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First decide if you want to create a website (whether it is a website that is only used within your LAN or it is is used in the internet) or desktop applications; probably both. PHP is different from nearly every other language in that it includes server functions; the type of thing that ASP.Net does for IIS. PHP is equivalent to a combination of C# and ASP.Net. So PHP is inappropriate for desktop applications. C++ is appropriate for desktop applications but seldom used for websites. C# and Java are about the only languages used in both desktop and website applications. And note that the original designer of PHP is far from a computer language expert; he does not consider (his original at least) PHP to be a computer language. C++ is by definition object-oriented but PHP was not originally and still does not fully implement OO features. The PHP language was carelessly designed and still is not defined as rigorously as a language such as C++ is. The vast majority of programmers experienced with PHP and another language such as C++ or C# prefers the other language (C++ or C# or whatever).

I think that C# is the best language for website programming. There are many things I do not like about it but I sure prefer it over PHP. If you go all-in with Visual Studio and SQL Server then you can also go for Entity Framework for database programming. All that can be used in desktop and website applications. It will take time to learn all that but you will then be using the tools that professionals use.

As has been said in another discussion around here, database design is important and relatively independent of the other things. It would help to learn database design at a relatively conceptual level. I think the Data Models in the Database Answers might help you imagine how to design your database.

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Thank you so much for all the feedback guys, it is very much appreciated.

I will take a look at the database answers site for some ideas. We currently use a financial package and a practice management system, but neither talk to each other and neither are very detailed in what they give out, hence the number of spread sheets i currently use and the requirement to make something that does a better job for us.

Why aren’t spreadsheets enough?

MySQL for the database. It’s free and it’ll do most of what SQL Server will do.

I think it is more important to learn about Data Modeling and databases before programming a front-end.

Your Data Model IS your new system.

The learning curve for PHP is much easier than C++.

If this is for the intranet or Internet, you’ll need HTML, CSS, JavaScript.

Would help to understand what problem you are solving before offering more IT advice…

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It is difficult to compare them since C++ is seldom used in websites and PHP is seldom used outside of websites. And as I said before, most developers experienced with both prefer C++.