New User - Old User - struggling for direction

OK - so, I’ve been programming for 45 years, starting way back as a trainee in COBOL on a UNIVAC mainframe. The company put me on a training program for an IBM System 34 in RPGII, to convert an existing system for Wool Processing. Then to a bank in NZ supporting a Share Registry. Worked on many systems since then moving on to IBM AS400. 30 years ago started using MS Access and using a lot of Visual Basic code with my background. Made a connection 30 years ago and started writing an application for Architects (being one) and have had over 200 clients across Australia. My problem, essentially is this. After many false starts with 3rd parties I need to convert my application to being Web based. I have started a lot of Tutorials recently - mainly Visual Studio and Android Studio but come unstuck when the tutorials drifts or is much older than the version I have (always have the latest download) - the tutor show something, but mine doesn’t look like it and I don’t know where to go…

Welcome to fCC!

As a lover of vintage computing: That’s an impressive history, I loved to read through this.

What you are experiencing is the mess web development has grown into for a about a decade now: Far too many frameworks that are deprecated faster than you can turn your computer on. Many tutorials just a year old are already worthless, it’s that bad.

If you give us a short rundown of what your app needs, maybe even have a live site, others and me might suggest a tech stack that isn’t that volatile.

Really good and up-to-date education for web frameworks are hard (impossible?) to find. For the most part, I would say that those of us who deal with web frameworks use tutorials etc to get a grasp of how the framework more or less works and then sort of figure the rest out as we go. This is definitely one of those cases where knowing several similar technologies lets you fill in the gaps.

My advice is to first focus on HTML and JavaScript first. At the end of the day React, Angular, Vue, etc all boil down to JavaScript and HTML. Comfort there will make it much easier to abstract web framework tutorials and compensate for out-of-date instructions and knowledge gaps.

Thanks for the replay Daniel - something I forgot to say in my intro. (didn’t want to make it too long) was that I created a website for a “client/family member” who sold 2nd hand food processing equipment, 25 years ago, using HTML and .asp (Active Server Pages) - and did that simply using a text editor and browser to check. My current application / need is much more complex. It has an MS SQL back-end and around 30,000 lines of Visual Basic code in the front-end - hence my drift towards Visual Studio because it seemed I could continue to use VB without learnign C#. Here’s a snapshot of the first page, in Access. It is a Practice Management system for Architects/Project Managers (building)

I also want to create a small phone based app for timesheets to sit in front of that so users can do them off-line - in the train or bus etc… this kind of thing

JavaScript will the best option for you, both backend, UI, mobile. You will hear that JS isn’t the fastest solution for the backend. That’s true. However, for a single developer it’s a blessing, you don’t have to learn multiple languages.

My suggestion:

Backend/ servers Node.js:

Fronten/UI: HTML, Bootstrap CSS and plain JavaScript.

If you are not familiar with Bootstrap: It’s a very practical CSS framework that will save you a lot of time when styling your app. It will help you to make your app responsive.

For the mobile app:

Based on JavaScript, you don’t have to learn Java/Kotlin/Swift.

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