I would appreciate it if someone could advise me as to which programming language I should pursue. A little history: I have developed an application that is rather extensive in Filemaker Pro 9 Advanced making me more than a novice. I have started learning Visual Basic 2008 using Visual Studio 2008 Professional because it was suggested that this was the easiest to learn as a first language. Goal: I want to develop a couple of single user applications. One is a simple generic application that will contain graphics that can be compared to inventory for example, and the other is a financial application that can be compared to Quicken as an example. I want these applications to run on both Mac and Windows. Vision: I first see them as stand alone applications, but later as I upgrade the program(s), especially the financial one, I want to be able to use network sharing, not multi-user. I want to have the option of developing an iPhone app for either one of them and have it sync. This iPhone app is more important than network sharing. Filemaker Concern: Can Filemaker, after creating an upgrade, install overwriting the current program but keep the user's data intact? I know that currently Filemaker's runtime is not capable of network sharing from since version 4 from what I've read. Can't find any information on whether the Runtime can incorporate an iPhone app.

Um man I don't mean to be a douche but I've never heard of filemaker 9 and if your just starting vb in my book your still a novice (no offense .) personally I would recommend any C derived language and or python and if your going to be doing extensive work on txt based files I would insist on perl. C is a good choice its powerful and it's big brother c++ has an ungodly amount of libraries . Everybody will tell you to start with vb because it's supposed to make learning c and other languages easier but if you drop vb cold turkey and go directly to c it'll go fast man
C & C++ are widely used so information is plentiful.

Comments
just because you don't know something doesn't make is useless.

I know nothing about Filemaker except that it's exclusive to Mac OS. Also, programming for Mac and Windows are very involved tasks unless both are coded in C++ and use a SQL-based database instead of Filemaker since both technologies are platform independent (in a sense). The C++ libraries handle text pretty well, has decent database connectivity potential (not nearly as nice as C# or Java), and is just a good language to learn and know.

If you need windows and mac and want the option of supporting iphone later then the best tool I currently know of is now called LiveCode and was called Runtime revolution, based on Hypercard. Very easy to use and very cross platform. Cheap to start with although you have to pay some costs for deploying to multiple platforms.

www.runrev.com

If you want something more mainstream then Java, but the learning curves are very very steep for java.

Microsoft's languages are accessible in mac and linux now via the mono project, but I personally wouldn't trust to that.

There are several cross platform basics available, but not use any support or will support iphone or other mobile platforms.

Ignore comments to use c, c++ etc. These are not easily cross platform and there is a huge learning curve to learning both cross platform and learning the specifics of each platform and their libraries. YOu really need a high level language that shields you from cross platform specifics. Also something that allows you to focus on the business domain at hand, and not the low level library specifics.

Perl is no use for what you want either. Python provides some cross platform capability but for your skills and goals I would argue is still too low level.

Nope, for what you have suggested I would look closely at livecode.

There are some powerful tools aimed at business software development, but they are mnostly high cost tools aimed at corporates.

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