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I've only just started learning web design/development (it's been about 2 months) and I've got a decent understanding of HTML and CSS and I'm trying to learn javascript (those are apparently the 3 basics of web design).Only after a month did I find out about all the other scripting languages and now I'm just confused :|


I planned on learning PHP and that after that I'd be all ready to go,but it seems that I was wrong...How do I choose what languages to learn?

What are the differences between them?

And what else do I need to know(I've heard about MySql databases,apache,Perl,ruby,Ajax,but I don't know what I really need)


Any advice would help and thanks in advance.

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Scripting languages come in two types: client side scripting and server side scripting.


Javascript is an example of client side scripting -- it works in the user's browser, and is best used for changes to the current page -- animations, effects, hiding and showing elements, etc. Because it is client side, the user has the ability to turn it off, meaning that you can't always guarantee it will be available (though it's usually enabled). For example, while using Javascript for form validation is convenient for the user, you shouldn't use it for something something that needs to be super reliable, since the user could turn it off.


PHP (and other languages: ASP.NET, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, etc.) are server side -- they function on the server, outside of the reach of the user. The server side code gets processed by the server, and whatever HTML was generated then gets displayed in the browser. Since a user can't turn it off, it's much more secure. It also gives you a range of functionality that Javascript doesn't offer -- file uploading, user login systems, sending email, etc.


There are a range of server side languages you could learn, but I'd suggest starting with PHP first, then learning more about MySQL (which you use to access a MySQL database), then AJAX (which combines Javascript with a server side script like PHP).


The more experience you get, the easier it will be. Web development is a very broad topic, and you'll probably never be done learning. Technology is constantly changing, so you'll be constantly updating your skills.


In regards to dealing with Internet Explorer, it has gotten easier over time -- you probably don't have to worry about IE6 now, which caused big problems, and IE has gotten better over time. I'd suggest learning about IE conditional comments (http://www.quirksmode.org/css/condcom.html) which allow you to target specific versions of IE. Also, while you're learning, I'd definitely suggest checking your HTML (http://validator.w3.org/) and CSS (http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/) code using a validator of some sort. In many cases, inconsistencies between browsers is caused by different browsers handling invalid code differently. Dealing with IE is something you'll get better at over time with more experiences.

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Thanks a bunch!

I googled around a bit and found some stuff about ajax and if I'm right it's a way to communicate with the server without changing the page (or something along those lines),right?

So since JS is so popular,should I use it for ALL client-side scripting or with another?

And should PHP be used on it's own or with other server-side languages?('cept for MySql and that "stuff")

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Yes, AJAX is a way to communicate with the server. For example, it can access a specific page on your server, retrieve the results of that page, and then insert those results into the current page -- all without a page refresh/reload.


As far as I understand it, Javascript is the primary client side scripting language.


PHP (and all server side languages, really) are best used on their own -- unless you have very specific needs, I doubt you'll see anyone combining multiple server side languages. However, you'll still be using things like HTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX and accessing a database (MySQL) alongside PHP.


Hope that helps?

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