Topic: Advice for complete newbie - Website development

Hi everyone. I would like to build a website that would function
similarly to youtube. I see that a tutorial is posted on this site that may help me a bit, but the thing is, I have absolutely no experience with computer
programming at all.

Basically, I'm trying to get an idea of my options at this point. I'm
leaning toward hiring a developer (since I would like to be up and
running in about 6 months). I am also looking at doing some of the
programming myself. So, I have a few questions and any help or advice
would be greatly appreciated.

In terms of a DYI:

1. How difficult is it to learn Ruby on Rails from the absolute
beginning and progress to where I could build and maintain and further
develop a website similar to youtube with my own custom tweaks?

2. How long would the above take starting from no experience at all?

3. Where should I start? Any good books or tutorials for the absolute beginner?

In terms of hiring a web developer:

1. How much (ballpark) would it cost to develop and maintain such a
website?

2. How long would such a website take to build?

3. Do you have any recommendations in terms of developers and/or
companies I should work with or contact for help?

General questions:

1. What are the steps involved in building a website?

2. What is actually programmed when you build a website and how is this
process different from the artistic design of a website? Are they two
different stages and two different processes or do you program the
artistic design as well? I'm not sure how to draw the distinction. An
example would help.

Any info would help me greatly, and thanks for your time.

Re: Advice for complete newbie - Website development

ngn wrote:

1. How difficult is it to learn Ruby on Rails from the absolute
beginning and progress to where I could build and maintain and further
develop a website similar to youtube with my own custom tweaks?

Building a Rails App is easy to do from scratch.  Building YouTube is going to be very very hard.  I say that primarily because of the time it will take to convert videos from which ever format they are given to you (mpg, wmv, divx, flash) into a format you will use.  Software to do that conversion is very expensive.

ngn wrote:

2. How long would the above take starting from no experience at all?

The hardest part about coding will be setting up your development environment.  If you can do that and understand basic HTML programming, you should be able to *start* with rails in no time.

ngn wrote:

3. Where should I start? Any good books or tutorials for the absolute beginner?

I would recommend checking out peepcode.com right now.. they've got an intro series though it is tailored for people who have some programming knowledge.  Chris Pine wrote a book called How To Program which might be a good place for you to start

ngn wrote:

In terms of hiring a web developer:

1. How much (ballpark) would it cost to develop and maintain such a
website?

2. How long would such a website take to build?

3. Do you have any recommendations in terms of developers and/or
companies I should work with or contact for help?

These all vary depending on how many developers and how experienced they are.  I would say that YouTube is an ambitious target for a first project.  Somewhat simpler would be a site that allows people to upload videos, but did not try to display them in-line.  This would be a basic site with the attachment-fu plugin..


ngn wrote:

General questions:

1. What are the steps involved in building a website?

2. What is actually programmed when you build a website and how is this
process different from the artistic design of a website? Are they two
different stages and two different processes or do you program the
artistic design as well? I'm not sure how to draw the distinction. An
example would help.

Some people like to do the functionality of the site first, but I like to get the design right and then build the features.  I'm not sure that a distinction here is so important.

Anyway, please don't be discouraged by my answers.. I think Ruby is a great way to start programming and it's always great to have an ambitious goal.

Re: Advice for complete newbie - Website development

I agree with viniosity. If you really want to do it yourself I definitely recommend RoR. I have some basic programing experience and I've pretty much learned Rails in about a month and I'm working on a pretty involved project. Look around for some tutorials get familiar with terminology and concepts. (warning: some tutorials are a bit out dated.) It's funny that you are interested in YouTube because I found a decent set of tutorial videos here. There are about 90 3-6 minute videos that cover a lot starting from the VERY basics. Once you are into it alittle Ryan Bates' "railscast" are very helpful as far as tips go and this forum is a great resource.

I'd say if you had the time to dedicate to it you could get a decent YouTube clone up in a few months and then just keep adding functionality as time passed on. Keep in mind what viniosity said though. Making a video sharing site might be doable but if you want the full YouTube experience I'd say go for a developer and just try to be involved with the code as much as you could.

I also agree that you should get your design down first. You have to know what you want (and I mean really know not just think you know) before you can start to build it.

Last edited by JackVandaL (2007-07-03 00:02:44)

Re: Advice for complete newbie - Website development

for me, it took about 9 months to get comfortable with RoR and i am still learning alot! i spend about 1-2 hrs daily, and on the weekend a couple hours. if you have the time, id learn RoR, mainly because after you get your foundation, you can easily bang out sites in a few days.





ngn wrote:

Hi everyone. I would like to build a website that would function
similarly to youtube. I see that a tutorial is posted on this site that may help me a bit, but the thing is, I have absolutely no experience with computer
programming at all.

Basically, I'm trying to get an idea of my options at this point. I'm
leaning toward hiring a developer (since I would like to be up and
running in about 6 months). I am also looking at doing some of the
programming myself. So, I have a few questions and any help or advice
would be greatly appreciated.

In terms of a DYI:

1. How difficult is it to learn Ruby on Rails from the absolute
beginning and progress to where I could build and maintain and further
develop a website similar to youtube with my own custom tweaks?

2. How long would the above take starting from no experience at all?

3. Where should I start? Any good books or tutorials for the absolute beginner?

In terms of hiring a web developer:

1. How much (ballpark) would it cost to develop and maintain such a
website?

2. How long would such a website take to build?

3. Do you have any recommendations in terms of developers and/or
companies I should work with or contact for help?

General questions:

1. What are the steps involved in building a website?

2. What is actually programmed when you build a website and how is this
process different from the artistic design of a website? Are they two
different stages and two different processes or do you program the
artistic design as well? I'm not sure how to draw the distinction. An
example would help.

Any info would help me greatly, and thanks for your time.