8th July 00:04
HELP ! ipfw et natd
[note: and indeed, here I'm talking to ferdy]
Just start off with getting a webserver up and running, and then find out
how to write _proper_ (x)html. That's hard enough as it is, and you'd be
amazed what you can do with stylesheets alone.
Dynamic stuff is a bit silly in a way: lots of people really dislike
websites that require cookies, java(script), flash and other random
plugins. ESPECIALLY when it's apparently for no good reason at all.
After you've learned to do that you can start and do some cgi'ing.
Now, what language should one use for that?
That depends really much on 1) what languages you know, 2) the problem,
and 3) the environment the CGI is to run in. Not necessairily in that order.
Python seems a good language to learn. Some people prefer starting
with scheme (see SICP). C is a valuable language to know but it
has many pitfalls and isn't really suited to learn the ropes.
Perl is really powerful but alows you to shoot yourself in the foot
in all sorts of wacky and weird and wonderfully interesting ways.
You probably don't want to start with that.
Then there's a host of other languages but I'll skip over them.
Bjarne sez C++ is easier to learn but many beginners insist on writing
C-in-C++, thus falling in all C's pitfalls, twice. C++ allows you to do
<buzzword-alert> Object Oriented Programming </> which is a really cool
technique if you can master it. Which isn't easy. But it's still only
a technique, not a religion. And there are more languages that allow OOP.
You can do CGI in python, so why not start with that. You can add languages
after that with not too much (less and less, actually) effort, and you'll
learn new ways of thinking about programming with each exciting new language.
I liked php quite a bit for ``cgi'' or ``dynamic'' pages, and it has lots
of database routines and Stuff.
For your generic systems administration, you want to be able to do
shell scripting. At the very least for /bin/sh, the bourne shell.
Then there's sed and awk that are useful to know. Lots and lots of
computing people would feel ***** with hands and feet tied if they
couldn't use regular expressions.
You might want to look into awk. I liked the book quite a bit, it
is about the same size as K&R. And the language looks and feels quite
a bit C-ish, while allowing lots of string munging and regexpen.
And it is nicely small, too. Both in language and in executable size.
I tried not to make it sound like I'm on a soapbox. :-)
 _Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs_
 And many long-time beginners too. Notably those who talk about
``C/C++'', which does not exist.
 I do have to warn you: on many linuxen they've installed the bourne
again shell, or bash, and renamed it `/bin/sh'. Do not make the mistake
of writing #!/bin/sh scripts that only run under bash. All the world
 _The awk programming language_, Aho, Weinberger, Kernigan.
j p d (at) d s b (dot) t u d e l f t (dot) n l .