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What language does what? Which one is the best? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am very new to programming, but it seems interesting to me and something I want to learn.  I get confused when I look in book stores at all the available books on different languages.  What language does what?  What is the best language for a specific task?  I have seen VB (which I know some), VB.Net, C#, Java, .JSP, ASP.  Do they all do the same thing?  I guess if I had to learn one, I would like something that would enable me to design functioning web sites, like a commercial type of site I am also interested in web-based school information systems.  From my understanding so far, VB is for building programs that can operate on a computer and perform some task.  I am not sure what the others are for.  Any guidance would be helpful.

    Thanks,
    Del Dobbs
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 3:49 PM

Answers

  • JSP and ASP are not languages. If you need help in software engineering, go to a software engineering community such as the comp.software-eng newsgroup.
    Please mark the post answered your question as the answer, and mark other helpful posts as helpful. This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 6:15 PM
  • Hello Dalhart,

    Visual Basic (VB), C#, and Java are all programming languages. With the right kind of computer software (called a "compiler"), statements written in any of these languages can be transformed into an executable program that you can run on your computer. In this sense, any programming language is "for building programs that can operate on a computer and perform some task."

    Java Server Pages (JSP) and Active Server Pages (ASP) are not actually programming languages. They are software systems that can be used to create dynamic websites.

    If you are already familiar with Visual Basic, I would recommend that you learn Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET). There are number of excellent books that will get you started. I would recommend the book "Beginning Visual Basic 2008" from Wrox Press by Thearon Willis and Bryan Newsome. Here is a link on Amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Microsoft-Visual-Basic-Guides/dp/0470191341/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246391552&sr=1-17

    You can also download free software from Microsoft for writing and compiling your VB.NET programs. The software is called Visual Studio Express and is available at the following link:

    http://www.microsoft.com/express/vb/default.aspx

    I think you'll find that once you've learned a programming language, learning the next programming language becomes a lot easier (and the computer section of your bookstore becomes a lot less intimidating).

    Good luck,

    - Daniel
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 8:05 PM
  • At their very core, all high-level programming languages, such as Visual Basic, are a means to an end: to express computer instructions in a manner that is legible to humans. Ultimately, the computer only understands binary (ones and zeros). So other programs (compilers) translate what you write in Visual Basic into a series of ones and zeros that the computer knows how to read.

    Very simply, different programming languages have different features that may seem better or worse to you as a programmer. Languages may execute at different speeds relative to one another; they may treat basic elements of the language differently than others; their syntax may be more or less appealing than others. You may want to leverage existing code for performing certain tasks, and find that the community of people developing in one language has an enormous, easy-to-use library of code for performing those tasks.

    VB.NET is Microsoft's implementation of the Visual Basic language that targets their .NET framework. It's a very mature language, and because it targets the .NET framework, it has a very large library of existing code for performing a lot of tasks.

    ASP pages are written using VBScript (another dialect of Visual Basic). If you learn VB.NET, you can use Microsoft's newer, more advanced web technology, ASP.NET. I would encourage you to focus initially on learning VB.NET and then turn your attention to web design once you've mastered that language. There are many more issues and languages involved in web design that you'll ultimately need to learn, but you'll definitely need to know how to program to design a dynamic website.
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9:15 PM

All replies

  • JSP and ASP are not languages. If you need help in software engineering, go to a software engineering community such as the comp.software-eng newsgroup.
    Please mark the post answered your question as the answer, and mark other helpful posts as helpful. This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 6:15 PM
  • Hello Dalhart,

    Visual Basic (VB), C#, and Java are all programming languages. With the right kind of computer software (called a "compiler"), statements written in any of these languages can be transformed into an executable program that you can run on your computer. In this sense, any programming language is "for building programs that can operate on a computer and perform some task."

    Java Server Pages (JSP) and Active Server Pages (ASP) are not actually programming languages. They are software systems that can be used to create dynamic websites.

    If you are already familiar with Visual Basic, I would recommend that you learn Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET). There are number of excellent books that will get you started. I would recommend the book "Beginning Visual Basic 2008" from Wrox Press by Thearon Willis and Bryan Newsome. Here is a link on Amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Microsoft-Visual-Basic-Guides/dp/0470191341/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246391552&sr=1-17

    You can also download free software from Microsoft for writing and compiling your VB.NET programs. The software is called Visual Studio Express and is available at the following link:

    http://www.microsoft.com/express/vb/default.aspx

    I think you'll find that once you've learned a programming language, learning the next programming language becomes a lot easier (and the computer section of your bookstore becomes a lot less intimidating).

    Good luck,

    - Daniel
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 8:05 PM
  • Thanks,

    So I am hearing that there are not really any differences between the program languages?  Why the different types?

    How is VB.Net different from VB?  If my ultimate goal was designing web-based student information database systems then what would be the language to learn?  So it seems that .JSP pages are written using Java and .ASP pages are written using ________?  Would .JSP or .ASP be the way to go if I wanted something dynamic and web-based? 

    Thanks again,
    Del Dobbs
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 8:36 PM
  • At their very core, all high-level programming languages, such as Visual Basic, are a means to an end: to express computer instructions in a manner that is legible to humans. Ultimately, the computer only understands binary (ones and zeros). So other programs (compilers) translate what you write in Visual Basic into a series of ones and zeros that the computer knows how to read.

    Very simply, different programming languages have different features that may seem better or worse to you as a programmer. Languages may execute at different speeds relative to one another; they may treat basic elements of the language differently than others; their syntax may be more or less appealing than others. You may want to leverage existing code for performing certain tasks, and find that the community of people developing in one language has an enormous, easy-to-use library of code for performing those tasks.

    VB.NET is Microsoft's implementation of the Visual Basic language that targets their .NET framework. It's a very mature language, and because it targets the .NET framework, it has a very large library of existing code for performing a lot of tasks.

    ASP pages are written using VBScript (another dialect of Visual Basic). If you learn VB.NET, you can use Microsoft's newer, more advanced web technology, ASP.NET. I would encourage you to focus initially on learning VB.NET and then turn your attention to web design once you've mastered that language. There are many more issues and languages involved in web design that you'll ultimately need to learn, but you'll definitely need to know how to program to design a dynamic website.
    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9:15 PM