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Why do programmers know more than one language?


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#1 Just_One_Question

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:30 AM

complete noob when it comes to programming

Why are various apps, programs & websites written in more than one coding language?
If a programming language is generally 'a way to speak to and instruct the hardware', then why do coders need more than one? Bi-lingual people are usually able to express their thoughts and give instructions just as well in either language.
I see that JavaScript is the most used language in the world. Why do people learn other languages, can't they write the whole application or website in JavaScript? If I want to create my own website after I've learnt the basics of computers as a whole, can't I learn JavaScript (I presume that it's the easiest language, since so many people know it) and just write the whole website in JavaScript?
Also, on a little side note, what does front-end and back-end mean? Does front-end stand for the appearance of a website and back-end for the inner fuctions, which happen when you click a button and numerous instructions are set in motion, for example? :)

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#2 Just_One_Question

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 04:02 AM

Update: I actually understand now that the 3 most popular coding languages for making a simple website are HTML, CSS & JavaScript. I got it that HTML can create the website as a whole, but it won't be interactive with buttons and everything, CSS will further format the appearance of it, if you'd like to do so, and JavaScript is more complex and 'heavy' and is used for making a website interactive with its users.
I also now know the difference between front and back end - it was like I described it in my original post. So no need for further explanations there.

I still don't get though, why can't you write a whole website or application in JavaScript? Is the case that you are indeed able to do so theoretically, but it wouldn't be worth the effort and in this sense it is much better to combine a couple of programming languages in order to create your desired results?
Thank you!

Edited by Just_One_Question, 12 April 2017 - 04:03 AM.


#3 britechguy

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:41 PM

I suggest you do some reading on the history of programming languages in general.  The overall thrust was very frequently combining what language X could do well and language Y could do well butp that neither did what the other did particularly well very well itself into language Z.

 

Programming languages are cyber-tools and, as such, are often to a greater or lesser extent designed with doing a certain class of task or tasks well, not unlike regular tools like screwdrivers or hammers.   Each does its respective job very, very well but you try combining a screwdriver with a hammer and coming up with something that anyone would want to work with.  Certain combinations make for very clumsy results.

 

The history of the now ancient programming languages FORTRAN and COBOL make for some interesting reading (if you're into that sort of thing).  Their very names, FORTRAN - FORmula TRANslation, and COBOL - COmmon Business Oriented Language, speak very directly to their intended uses and those intended uses don't have a heck of a lot in common.  You could write something written in FORTRAN in COBOL or vice-versa, but doing either would be an exercise in madness.

 

Very few "Swiss Army Knives" of programming languages have had long and illustrious lives.  I'd say C comes the closest, and it would be miserable to use for certain things.

 

Look up Lisp, which has dominated the AI arena for decades and take a look at the code.   Then try to envision, if you can, trying to write programs to generate financial reports in Lisp or trying to write AI programs in COBOL.  [I cannot begin to describe how I loathed Lisp and if I never see a cons, car, cdr, or s-expression again in my life it won't be a moment too soon.  My idea of hell would be being condemned to code in Lisp.]


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#4 Just_One_Question

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 06:11 AM

Thank you for your detailed response! It is clear to me now that doing a whole application in JavaScript, for example, would be like eating every meal with a spork which has been further sharpened on the side in order to also act as a knife, thus ultimately cutting yourself or being extremely slow in eating out of caution not to mess your mouth up.:lmao:

Just one follow up question, if you don't mind: Which one of the following programming languages do you think is easier, in general, for someone who might want to start learning coding in the future, has no prior knowledge and wants to create websites, not apps - HTML, JavaScript, Python? Or some other language?

#5 britechguy

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:40 AM

I am not the person to ask regarding website development.

 

Though HTML is the bedrock, there are so many webpage creation programs now that are WYSIWYG that I question the value in knowing HTML in depth.

 

And, again, it really depends on precisely what type of website one wishes to create.  This is not a question I can answer and I doubt a good answer can be had without having more specifics about what one wants to achieve in terms of a website.


Brian AKA Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

 

     In a modern society where everyone thinks their opinion deserves to be heard nothing annoys me more than individuals who mistake their personal preferences for fact.

         ~ Commenter TheCruyffGurn on the The Guardian website, 8/13/2014

 

              

 


#6 Just_One_Question

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:55 AM

Though HTML is the bedrock...

This is all the information I really wanted. Thank you! :)
I have found that while I don't really participate actively in the 'tech community', I oftentimes return to it as a hobby every 2-3 years. I guess the next time, when I find some time on my hands, I might pick up a book on HTML and finally create my own simple website as this has always been of interest to me.
Thanks!

#7 Jamiemcg

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 10:20 PM

Though HTML is the bedrock, there are so many webpage creation programs now that are WYSIWYG that I question the value in knowing HTML in depth.

 

And, again, it really depends on precisely what type of website one wishes to create.  This is not a question I can answer and I doubt a good answer can be had without having more specifics about what one wants to achieve in terms of a website.

 

Like Britechguy said, HTML is definitely the "bedrock" of any webpage. HTML is what is used to display and layout the content on a webpage.

 

However, if you're just using HTML alone, you can be pretty limited to the way content can be laid out and displayed to the user. That's where CSS comes in, as it enables HTML elements to be styled and laid out with much more control than just HTML alone would provide.

 

JavaScript, which is a client-side programming language, can be added to a website to make it more interactive. For example, if you wanted an element to drop down or move across the screen when a page is loaded or when a button is clicked, JavaScript could be used to accomplish that.

 

A server-side scripting language, such as PHP or Python, could be used to interact with databases (like a MySQL database) or do processing on the server itself, and not on the user's computer.

 

An example of a use-case for all three of the above would be creating a guest book website, where users can post a message that would appear to others who visit the site. HTML could be used to create the basic style and display any static text to users when they visit the website. JavaScript could be used to make the website more interactive in general; perhaps clicking on an "Enter Comment" button displays a previously hidden text box. If a user wanted to post a comment to the guest book, this is where PHP (or another server-side programming language) would come in, as anything they type and submit would then be processed using PHP and then inserted into the database (which would also require some SQL code).

 

With web development (and other development jobs), it's often the case that one works with multiple languages and technologies. In fact, many web developers are what is called a "full stack" developer, meaning that they focus on the front end (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), as well as the back end (PHP, Python, SQL, databases) of web development. 

 

Is there anything that you're interested in creating in particular?



#8 Just_One_Question

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 06:20 AM

Is there anything that you're interested in creating in particular?

Thank you for your response!
I have a couple of ideas on my mind for the future, but for now I would just like to create a simple static personal website which displays in plain text, without any graphics or other customization, my CV and that's all. :)
Also, do you think such a webpage can be hosted on a smartphone, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8? I already asked Brian and he strongly disagreed that this would be a good idea. What's your take?

#9 Jamiemcg

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 10:30 AM

I have a couple of ideas on my mind for the future, but for now I would just like to create a simple static personal website which displays in plain text, without any graphics or other customization, my CV and that's all.
:)

 
If all you'd like to do is create a simple static website to display your CV in plain text, HTML should be sufficient for this. With the styling available in HTML (like bolding, tables, lists, etc.), you should be able to accomplish what you're looking to do.

 

Also, do you think such a webpage can be hosted on a smartphone, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8? I already asked Brian and he strongly disagreed that this would be a good idea. What's your take?

 

Regarding hosting your website on a smartphone, like the Samsung Galaxy S8, I would also advise against that. Smartphones aren't really designed to host content like that, and in order to serve your page to users, it would have to be consistently be powered on and connected to the Internet. Additionally, the file would have to be accessible from outside of the device.

 

I'm not too familiar with the file system on an Android phone, so I'm not sure if this sort of thing is feasible, but one of the easier ways to do this would be to use a webhosting provider and simply upload your HTML page and provide users with the link.

 

While many webhosts (like GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc.) require a monthly or yearly payment, there are some free options, as well. One such option would be to put your HTML page on Github and use Github Pages to host it and share it with others. There is some documentation on how to do this right on the Github Pages website, should you choose to use this option.

 

Another option to get your CV online would be to use a free webhosting provider like WordPress.com, which offers users the ability to create free blogs and other types of websites. There are a variety of free themes available on WordPress.com that you can choose from, in order to make your blog or website look and feel the way you want. And, should you decide later on that you'd like to upgrade your plan, WordPress.com does offer several paid options that offer more storage, additional customization options, and more.

 

Best wishes!


Edited by Jamiemcg, 15 April 2017 - 10:30 AM.


#10 britechguy

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 10:56 AM

Just FYI, as far as web hosting goes, Amazon Web Services free tier is perfect for this sort of thing (even though the interface is, shall we say, complicated - but given all the things you can do it has to be).

 

I've been hosting my website via AWS since the first day, using the S3 service, and have never had to pay a penny due to the low hit volume a one-man business in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia receives.

 

When I was part owner in an art gallery we also hosted our website in the same way.   I now also use AWS for image and file hosting since, while I love Google Docs, there are times when I need a URL that can be directly embedded in, say, a web forum and Google Docs just doesn't provide those (or I haven't found a way to get a URL for an image they're storing that I can embed).


Brian AKA Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

 

     In a modern society where everyone thinks their opinion deserves to be heard nothing annoys me more than individuals who mistake their personal preferences for fact.

         ~ Commenter TheCruyffGurn on the The Guardian website, 8/13/2014

 

              

 


#11 Just_One_Question

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 10:58 AM

Thank you very much for your input! All is clear now. :)
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#12 razz3333

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 08:35 PM

Just_One_Question, I have used https://www.yola.com/ for years and have found it very easy to use and allows you to develop a decent website for free.  Note: the free option only allows 3 pages.


Edited by razz3333, 23 May 2017 - 08:43 PM.


#13 GoofProg

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 09:48 PM

Maybe learn how to console program or use powershell first.  I recommend using opensharp for C#.
I work with more than one language because I have to.. I program in the console and use C/C++.  (that is two languages)  I tried perl, java, and PHP.  PHP is pretty good. 






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