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Ask HN: How to return to programming by helping a friend with a web portal?
4 points by diviaki 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments
A friend of mine had a yoga video portal designed and now needs someone to build it. I'd like to help him myself. I never worked on such a task, but always wanted. Time is not constrained, and I would learn along the way.

I was an asm then C game programmer for a decade but that was a while ago. Later as I worked as a sysadmin I refactored a jquery-php-mysql internal site and developed a ranking db backend with node and mongo. Then years passed.

I know I like simple tools and toolchains, and would go with php,ngx,sqlite,html,css,minimal js. Php is the thing I'm most familiar with and the techempower results of the php-ngx-pg stack is fine for me. I would choose Stripe to deal with money, and a Hetzner dedicated behind Cloudflare for hosting.

The unknows I see are signing in users with Google, working with Stripe and it's mystic to me how would I let the user switch commentary and background audio tracks on/off. With SO around these will get resolved. But reading HN I often come across vue, alpine, svelte, preact and see them usually praised and minimal but I have no idea if I need any of them or not. Oh and do I need solutions like video.js or are html,css and js would do the job alone in 2023? Do I need other sign up options besides Google and email for the targeted western audience? Should I let 'new' things like cloudflare workers take my attention?

And I wonder what are the unkowns I do not see?

Hmm, before you take your precious time to help me by answering my questions, let me note this as well. While I like minimal dependencies and owning most of the codebase, I'm almost at 50 I do not really want to redevelop anything. Been there, done that. :) If there are stable and not that bloated building blocks or frameworks out there, I'am happy to use them. The focus is on getting it done. :)




No time constraint? Check out both of these resources, choose the one that gives you a better first impression, and do it. By the time you're done, you'll know how to get started on your friend's site.

https://fullstackopen.com/en/ https://www.theodinproject.com/


Thanks for the recommendation. I agree it's best to learn now before making my decisions. Searching for answers earlier led me to "25 best practices for..." sites I could not embrace and just left me more confused. This two looks really good for my needs.


A couple thoughts based on my own 25 years of building software:

• Working with many new tools and technologies on the same project is dangerous. There is a significant risk of running into too many unexpected issues with your tools, getting mired down, and never finishing. It is usually better to work mostly with technologies you already know well, and just add 1 or 2 new ones on a single project.

• You asked if you need to look into Cloudflare workers. In general, choosing a hosted 'cloud' platform means your friend will not have to keep hiring contractors down the road to administer a server on his behalf. At the same time, it means that his fortunes will be tied to those of the company which provides the platform. If they are acquired and the platform is shut down, or prices are jacked up, etc. it may be difficult to move the site to a different hosting provider, and your friend will be in an undesirable position. You can do your friend a great service by helping him to navigate those trade-offs in the way which makes most sense for his business.


Great advice.

Yes I keep forgetting I might not be around forever. :) A dedicated is overkill for the start so I'll look for something managed.

This project will introduce many new things to me, but no rush, I can add them one by one.




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