Little background info:
My site is gaming related; xbox 360, ps3, wii, pc an so on. I have big plans and ideas for the site. Since I can't afford vb right now, I've opted for php to code the site. The friend I did have to code the site was only able to get the forums up and running (php forums) before having to quit the project for personal reasons. I've had the idea for this community site for little over a year. I just recently regained my interest back into the project. Anyway, my piont is that it's ultimately left to me, to get this site up and running enough that it's something I can work with right now and build on it as it gains activity and so on.

I would like nothing more than to have someone code everything I need and want for my site. But I have nothing to ffer right now and would never ask someone to do it for free. I'm sure the web design/codeing field is somewhat competitive. I will gladly take any help or advice I can get through this process. So please bare with me through my many questions.

I know there are alot and some may seem redundance but I ask them cause I don't understand them. Also If you decide to answer any question(s), please place the question in "quote marks" and the answer below it so that I know which question is being answered. Thanx in advance for your help, time and patience with all of this.

Descriptions and Questions:
- Is MySQL good enough to keep up with and organize data so that the database system can send, store and retrieve data fast and effectively?

- I assume that the database will have to be coded specifically to handle w/e info I need stored in the database system?

- How is the database system coded exactly? Any specific type of coding, like php or w/e?

- Any good tutorials about database management and how to code it so that it performs the tasks I need when I need it?

- I can do website layout designs, tho I'm not an expert at it. I use PS CS4 to make them, I know the design has to be broken down into smaller, usable pieces. So when you code in php, I'm assuming theres a definite process on how to break the pieces down so when u code it, it all works together seemlessly? I'm just having the problem of figuring out when you do that, how to actually code it together.

- I know some html and that php is coded within that to provide the customizations the user wants and some of the framework for the site layout. However, putting the code together so they work "well" together and it gives me the outcome I want, is the problem I'm running into. Since I know nothing about php, I guess my question would be: Any advice, tuts, guides and so on that I could look at, that would help understand it's inner workings? I'm still browsing the site and checking out any tuts, advice and guides it offers. Besides the obvious, are there external sources anyone uses here that could be of some use?

- Is there such a thing as an easily codable webpage design?

- Are there any elements in web page design that may have potential problems or future upkeep problems? (java, flash etc.)

- I recently searched for free servers to get things started and eventually upgrade when the money is available. There are free template skins/layouts out there, how would I code it into the php forums I already have set up?

- I managed to load the files of the template onto the server BUT I don't know if it's possible to code that in or if I need to do something extra before the skin can be coded and used properly. If so, what needs to be done and how do I go about doing it?

- Within the vision for my site, there will be alot of self created features that will serve important purposes in the sites success. I know without alot of detail you may not be able to help but I will ask anyway. When codeing insite features, can php be used for most of it, mixed with flash, java and any other necessary coding to make it work properly?

- Is vb easier to code with than php? I've heard vb is but I can't afford it just yet. That is the main reason why I'm using php at the moment. Is php worth sticking with even when I can afford vb, or go with vb when at all possible?

A few comments:

1. It would be helpful if you could clearly identify what you need this site to do. If it is an information site with forums and so forth, then you should be looking at implementing a Content Management System (CMS) and/or a pre-packaged forum system. There are lots of these available as open source systems. They require some technical knowledge in order to implement them but it a whole lot faster and easier than trying to build something yourself. If you are aiming for something very flashy or if you are thinking of actually coding some sort of online game yourself, then you will need a level of expertise that you don't seem to have at this point (and takes quite some time to develop even if you have adequate natural talent). Your needs might go beyond what PHP can do on its own (as a server-based system). In that case you might need to look at javascript / Ajax, possibly in combination with PHP.

2. I don't understand your references to VB. The two most common script languages for online development are PHP and ASP. Maybe I haven't been paying attention but my experience with VB was as a PC desktop application development system.

3. PHP isn't too difficult to use but you do need an understanding of programming basics, the language syntax and the environment that it runs in. I had many years of programming in other languages when I first got involved with PHP. It still took me 6 months to a year before I started to be comfortable. I was able to do useful things fairly quickly (at least simple things) but it took time because there was a significant need to read the documentation, research and experiment. I understand the wish to start doing high-end stuff right out of the gate but for most of us, that isn't realistic. If you also need to start learning all of the other associated stuff (html, css, javascript) then you have a significant learning curve and that certainly takes time.

4. MySQL is a good reliable database system that is used successfully in some very high volume sites. There is support built into PHP for the interface to MySQL (mysql_connect, mysql_query etc). Most web hosts limit your use of MySQL. Free hosting may not provide any MySQL access.

If I was in your situation, I would start small, get something simple running and then build on that in phases. PHP and MySQL are good choices for online development because they are open source / free and there are many tutorials, help forums and free systems available to you. If you are able to implement an existing (PHP-MySQL) package, that will be your fastest path to getting something running quickly with more bells and whistles than you might be able to put together yourself in a reasonable amount of time.

A few references:

Pre-built systems (PHP and others):

What I need is an understanding of php. Whether I actually do any of the coding myself is debateable atm. If I can learn enough not to be dumb founded when errors come up. I can at least fix them and not be totally lost. Yeah I know I can't learn it all in a short amount of time...that would be It's a community gaming site much like It's a simple site but has everything it needs to offer its members everything they want. My site is a community much like that one, I have already come to the realization that I can't have EVERYTHING I want to start off. All I want is some parts to be customized to start with. I know I can build on it once the site is up and running and gains activity and is generating a good amount of money through sponsors and affiliates. The site will in no way be "flashy", it will be simple, easy to navigate, user friendly and so on.

I didn't know anything about the CMS or that there are prepackaged forum systems. How much do they usually cost? If there pre packaged like that I'm sure I can get someone to simply put it into the site easier than building from scratch to start with.

As for the vb comment, I asked a friend of a friend if they can code php. Told me he only knows how to code into vb, which I was sort of lost. I thought it used the same type of coding regardless if its php based or vb based.

I have forums but I want a front page to the site, that displays news, popular posts, community news and so on. Nothing complicated of course, just something more than just forums to start with. Thanx for you comment and suggestions, they are somewhat helpful

With respect to CMS systems, this site will give you an idea of how many CMS's are available out there.

The most popular ones are Joomla, Drupla, Mambo and Wordpress (that has morphed from a blog system into a quasi-CMS). I have used a system called Website Baker for years because I find it easier to setup, maintain and modify than some of the better known ones (but you will find people who will make the same case for each of the options out there). They are all based on PHP and MySQL and they are all open source / free.

Most of the CMS's have the ability to include a forum as an add-on. If you want to go for a stand-alone version see the link below for a list: Many / most of these are also open source PHP-MySQL.
Forum List

If you go with a package, then the most PHP you will probably need is to modify the config module with the parms for the database and few other things. This will give you a lot of bang for the buck right out of the box. The setup of the pages is generally done through an editor (somewhat like a Word interface for text and graphics pages) so you don't need to be writing code.

Thanx for the information, I will browse all the links given. Do some more research, I'm sure I'll have more questions but atm, I think I have somewhere to start from, where I was a little lost before.

Much appreciated.

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