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Hello all. I, like other members I have seen post here, am looking to learn programming. My motivation is perhaps a bit different however. I do not expect to make a career of it although having some basic programming knowledge would enhance my effectiveness in my current field.

I have been in the IT field for 5 years and have learned 99% of what I know based on my exposure via the workplace and what little tinkering I have done on my own. My area of expertise is hardware/application support mainly dealing with servers and web applications.

I have had limited exposure to programming over the years, starting with writing programs in BASIC on a TRS-80 when I was 10. When I started work for my current company, their legacy system was DOS 6.22 and COBOL based. I never had to learn COBOL as we had a programmer for that but all of the DOS batch processes were up to me. Call it a trial by fire if you will. I was able to suck it up and learn (basically overnight) how to support the existing system and, more importantly, make improvements to it.

Quite often, I come up against situations at work where I need to automate a simple file handling process and, of course, am given no development resources to do it. Because of this I have become increasingly reliant on batch processes and while they are efficient and usually reliable, I would like to be able to write my own simple programs to perform these operations.

All that being said, I have seen the advice given to the other posters asking this same question and honestly am a bit unsure of where to start. I am aware that a particular person's goals play a role in what advice is given to them regarding where to start. I can also see that many of the members have strong opinions on where to start and what is important to know. Given all that I have put forth in this post, what advice does the community have for me? I do not expect to learn programming overnight, quite the opposite actually. I would like to learn the fundamentals and have a strong foundation first. I have the luxury of time and want to go about this properly.

Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks in advance to those that took the time to read and respond to this.

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Last Post by turbostang
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PHP has a nice set of string/file functions you can use. Of course, I'd recommend Perl beforehand, but PHP is easier and I believe has a bigger community than Perl. Are you looking to develop a web application or a desktop application. Also, can you be more specific on what you say about automating "a simple file handling process"? Lastly two more questions: what operating system are you talking about, Windows? What kind of budget are you dealing with?

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Are you looking to develop a web application or a desktop application.

For that particular purpose, I would want it to be a desktop application.

Also, can you be more specific on what you say about automating "a simple file handling process"?

One example of that would be taking files from one or more source directories, making a copy to an archive directory, and finally moving them to one or more destination directories. This is a process I have maintained with a batch file thus far. I am using several variables including file masks and multiple source and destination directories. I also include extensive logging so I can track down any files should they end up missing.

Lastly two more questions: what operating system are you talking about, Windows? What kind of budget are you dealing with?

The servers I maintain are all running Windows 2000 Advanced Server. I get no development resources so I have little to no budget (hence me wanting to learn to do this for myself). Keep in mind that the process in place works so there is no urgency. I just thought it would make more sense to learn to program using a real world situation.

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This is interesting to me. I am in the same boat, but I dont have quite the same experience. I even posted a similar thread (If I would have seen this one I wouldn't have made mine). I have already started to tryto learn C++ - but so far is has been quite a challenge. I'll keep pluggin' away and askin' questions. What are the more common, widely used/accepted languages?

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The most widely used languages vary with the type of programming you want to do. If it's application programming (i.e. commercial software) - there is C++, C#, Java, etc. If it's web development programming (i.e. software that powers interactive web sites such as this one), then PHP is a big one.

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The most widely used languages vary with the type of programming you want to do. If it's application programming (i.e. commercial software) - there is C++, C#, Java, etc. If it's web development programming (i.e. software that powers interactive web sites such as this one), then PHP is a big one.

Thank You.. that is the exact answer I have been looking for.. I just didn't knwo how to word what I was looking for..

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