Hi guys, I am awfully sorry for yet anothr newbie post. I searched the forums in depth for somthing related to my situation but could not find anything.

The situation is that I am in the final year of my degree and I have to do a final year project. I have thought long and hard about various types of projects to take on and their value in return.

So I have decided to create a website that allows people to search for tennis partners where personal details and playing ability details are kept, and the ability to create tournaments/competitions. I am also thinking about adding a forum or something too (if that is plausable).

The thing is, I have ZERO programming experiance and past students et all seem to pefer PHP or ASP to create their website. I am normally repelled by the idea of programming but this project actually interests me since I may take this project live after finishing uni.

I need some advice on what direction I should take on going about doing this poject in a learnable, user-friendly website programming language. Something that I can comeplete in 9 months that doesn't take up too much of my time since there are a lot of other subjects to focus on with all their courseworks, exams and lectures.

What programming language is suitable for a project like this for a complete novice?

Can it be done within 9 months?

I would appreciate your feedback greatly since I am really keen to suceed. :icon_smile:

If you have no programming experience why does your final project, most likely the purpose of which is to show off accumulated knowledge, involve programming?

Its a Business Computng degree so its a mixture of both fields. In all honesty my strength is on the business, HCI, UML aspect. We did programming on the first year in Java but it completely put me off programming, I just don't have the mind to do that. I have interest in website design so I thought lets do this.

Research based project was another option but those type of projects are rarely rewarded decent marks so this seemed to be the plausable thing to do.

All I can say is planning your project will reduce the amount of time to code it. Perhaps start by designing the database of players - what details do you require from a new member and how will they go about searching for a partner? Start with the basics of the site first and then once that is all working correctly add extra features such as the forum.

I think PHP would be a good choice, and MySQL should serve as a good database engine. You will also need to read up on HTML and CSS. I think your site is certainly doable in 9 months but it will take a lot of planning and design before you worry about the code.

Just so you know, I started website design around 10 years ago with a strong interest in the design aspect ... when I started coding it was to be able to do cool stuff in Flash ... the programming side of things kind of grew from there. If my introduction to programming was dealing with that thing called Java -- I would definitely not be typing this right now.

Pointers ...

I agree, planning is very important, but that assumes you know what to plan since planning requires some experience in the field you are working in.

It is tricky trying to guide someone who is self acclaimed as having no experience though. A project like this could be done in a week by someone who had the skills of ten years :-) and I suppose you could do it in 9 months, but you will have to actually work and learn this stuff in order to do it.

If I were you I would start by making a list, in order of importance, of what features you want to have on your site. Look around at other sites and get some ideas, as well as some sense of what works by your own experience -- planning.

Maybe sketch out the basic layout of those elements, and where they will go on a page, and across the multiple pages of your site. Maybe color-code them by importance and, as mentioned, be clear about what you can live without if you don't end up having the time to include those features before you project is due.

Pick up books and do some Google searching on the technologies you will be using for your site. Be selective here, find people that explain things the way that makes sense to you and give you complete and working examples -- you will need them to apply them to your site. Also, make sure they are not out of date examples -- things have actually gotten easier with the latest methods in use these days.

What technologies will you need ...

HTML -- even if you use a WYSIWYG, you will need to know how to use markup for this type of project.

CSS -- the easiest way to layout a page and style the contents, once you get the hang of it and if you have good examples. (check out this site for inspiration and a sense of the power of CSS -- http://csszengarden.com/)

SQL -- I recommend mySql for various reasons, how well it is supported, how many people use it and thus can help you solve problems you run across, and more.

PHP -- to tie the pieces between mySql and the browser and do the heavy lifting.

JavaScript -- you might get away without this, but don't count on it if you want advanced features on your site.

I don't envy you ... if you did not need to use a database for the type of site you were designing we would be down to HTML and CSS and maybe JavaScript -- you might want to rethink your project?

If you still want to go on with this project and once you got all your books, found your online tutorial websites, made a ream full of sketches of your pages for your site, browsed through stock photography for imagery for your site -- I do assume you already have suitable software to do this stuff -- and you will want to be optimizing those images for the web mind you, made a number of flow charts to organize everything, and spent a month playing around with the ideas and not even trying to make your site until you have a clue what you're doing ... then you might want to start putting your project together.

Not that you have time for this, but every time you redo a piece of code, a layout, an idea, whatever -- you learn how to do it better each time. And there is almost always more than one way to do almost everything -- which is good to remember when you've been banging your head on a piece of code for hours and just not getting anywhere with it.

Good luck

I don't think I could put it any better. I agree completely with Langsor - planning is the first step. When I first started web programming, I tried skipping that step called planning and just started building - I got two pages done and everything was in a disorganized mess.

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