I’ve got background in PHP and SQL and i am wondering what would be he next logical language to pick up in order to develop simple applications that can easily make and display SQL queries.
.NET for Windows platforms. Java for cross-platform jobs (though this may or may not fit your definition of “simple”).
You can even get graphics libraries to do GUI apps in some scripting languages, such as Python.
I see a lot of companys looking for people with .Net experience rather than the others so that may be the way to go then.
You tie yourself to Microsoft and Windows by going down that path. This may or may not be a problem, though it’s something to be aware of. Yes, there is Mono, but I don’t think its market share is very significant.
Mono is getting very good traction on *nix for desktop apps these days, so I don’t think you are as tied as one might think.
I’d also argue that once you know how to build apps properly, language skills are the easiest thing to pick up.
I don’t know of anything for desktop apps that’s really similar to PHP. Java and C# are the logical desktop languages, but they’re sort of the opposite of PHP. More difficult to learn but teach you a lot about best practices (ie they don’t let you get away with the sloppiness of PHP). It’s therefore ironic that you want to put together a “simple” desktop app, as that’s the kind of light application which PHP might make more sense for. Java and C# are awesome when you’re doing something more complicated because the app will kill you if you’re sloppy in building it.
Seems off-topic, but I agree that Mono (.NET for *nix) is catching on. I was working out some MySQL issues for my C# app and kept running across recent posts from guys on Mono, so it’s a small but growing segment. I did not see these guys a few years ago.