I’m thinking the most accessible web dev stack for a complete beginner is:

HTML, CSS, JS, PHP (and whatever sql thing…mySQL or the MariaDB one probably).

The reason why: all of the standard shared hosts are LAMP stack out the gate + it doesn’t force newbies to have to learn Linux servers.

I’ve spent the last 10 years jumping from language to language trying to learn and I get stuck on EVERYTHING else because anything MEAN/MERN etc etc etc require you to “spin up a Linux server on Heroku or DigitalOcean or Azure or AWS or…”

If you have standard shared hosting on A2 (my preferred) or HostGator or any of those other ones that complete newbs almost always start with…

You can immediately be up and running with the latest HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, and MySQL.

This take is gonna piss some people off but I’ve been thinking A LOT about it and I’m gonna say if u mad it’s because you’re coming from the curse of knowledge.

10 + years of trying to figure this bullshit out and I assure you: this is the easiest way for someone to hit the plate running who wants to get building shit fast.

@g I’ve long said that I believe this is why WordPress is so popular and I still stand by that.

@g folks want the gate keeping on their tech and it pisses me off. I think is also why I’ve started using Go for non-web stuff. It’s just so damn easy to actually start building something. That counts for a lot to me.

@chris man I’m over here doing the opposite.

This whole thought came from me lately trying to figure out “how do I get people building their own stuff as FAST as possible?”

I’m not trying to open the gates; I’m tearing down the whole fucking fence.

Everyone should be learning to solve their own problems with programming.

@g And you can start with plain HTML and then sprinkle in little bits of PHP. You don’t need to learn an entire giant framework to be productive. You can learn bit by bit.

This is not great for maintainability, but for ease of learning, there’s nothing better.

@jalefkowit absolutely true! Start with just PHP for your navigation! Simple and helpful.


Used to be a PHP dev and I respectfully disagree

PHP has become pretty complex. It's bewildering for a beginner. Shared hosts are quite old fashioned IMHO

I'd say best stack for beginners: Node (if you need it but better serverless) + JS + tailwind + Firebase

Why? Node is good enough. A single language for FE and BE saves you time and brain cells. CSS is also super complex these days, tailwind takes the pain away. Companies like Vercel are much more accessible than some shared LAMP host


@g that's exactly how I started and now I'm containerizing apps, running Kubernetes clusters and working with multiple different frameworks.

I definitely could not have picked any of that stuff up while trying it to learn the basics and making new people do this (and likely ending up causing them huge AWS bills because their billing is difficult to understand) is a bad idea

@g not so much a hot take as a widely accepted truth...
PHP is popular only due to low barriers entry. It's easy to get started. And it kinda sorta works...

@borup Personally I don’t think it’s a hot take either but there are people disagreeing with my post.

@urusan @g I dunno. Modern php is pretty alright. They got rid of the stupidly dangerous functions, and it has a package manager now. It's still got an ugly syntax, but someone went around and put trigger locks on all the foot guns

@urusan @g totally fair. The big advantage of PHP for beginners is that you can drop your scripts on any lamp server using FTP and immediately see results. Pretty much every other language you need to faf about with containers, or learn what a WSGI is, or run a custom server and learn why you can't bind to port 80 for some reason; and also what is a port and what is binding it?

These aren't really problems for people who are already experienced server side web programmers; but is a high enough barrier that people who want to learn to write a little code are going to throw up hands and go do something fun, which is a shame.

It would be really great if there was like a python server pages module in apache that behaved like php and was widely deployed, tho

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