Programing advice


Beta member
Not sure I am in the right place but was hoping I might find some help. I am a teacher and am looking to create an online test bank review program that I can use for my students. My goal is to have students take different tests and for them to be automatically graded and those grades to be uploaded to my grade book. I would also like to be able to run diagnostics on students to determine areas of weakness. I know such programs exist but I really want to have the freedom to input my own data (questions etc.) also I need it to be compatible with my grade book so may need to create one of these as well. So far have looked at simple solutions like Excel and Access but have no little success. As this thread probably suggests, I have no programming experience and do not anticipate this project of mine to be quick or simple. I just really need help in figuring out where to start.:confused:


In Runtime
I own don't have much programming experience but have seen these kinds of project developed in java creating a servlet and using front end as html and back end my sql.. and for server apache tomcat.. as you would need local hosting only..
but these are advanced java concepts..


N. Calif.
If you don't want to buy a commercial product and want to roll your own then you are going to need to learn some sort of programming syntax. I believe that the Excel/Access route would be the simplest and easiest to learn and implement. Learning Java or some other language/db would be a pretty huge undertaking for someone with no programming background. There are lots of tutorials on how to accomplish things in Excel/Access so I would use Google or your favorite search engine to find some of those tutorials and go from there.

Good luck.


Fully Optimized

Yeah I think your going to have to jump in at the deep end and pick a language.

Excel VBA and Access is a good combo but doesn't have some of the benefits that a web based version may have.

Personally (because it's my strong point and relatively easy to learn) I would be looking at C# .net and MS SQL

You can get free Visual Studio and MS SQL Express which should be more than enough for what you want to do.

** Of course i'd be happy to do a bit of free lance work for you, at a small fee :)


Fully Optimized
As has said already, this is a big undertaking for someone with no programming experience.

I know you're keen to do things yourself, but I'd take a bit of a step back initially. In my experience, people learning to program because they want to undertake a mammoth task almost always fail (at both learning to program and the task.) Sure, that rule isn't 100% reliable, but as a general trend it seems to work. What tends to happen is, instead of learning to program first, the user tries to do both things in tandem, eventually getting to the stage where they're just copying / pasting code snippets together they found online and wondering why things don't really work.

You correctly observe that if you were to do this, it would be a long time before you ended up with something usable. I'd accept that, and actually shelve the idea for the time being until you've learnt "to program" (loose term, but at least until you can get code reliably compiling and you're not stumped by syntax errors.) That will take a while - with a lot of work perhaps a year or more.

If you're not prepared to do the above, or you're thinking of cutting corners, then I'd go down a commercial route and find something that does at least some of the task you need for you. There's no shame in that. (Of course, have a look and see if there's any open source tools that do a similar job already.)

I could sit here quoting a million and one languages, web frameworks and associated technologies at you but overall I think I've ended up at a point where I'd recommend taking a look at the sticky I wrote in this section a while back - because if you now want to continue, you've really got to the question of "I want to program, where do I start?"

Of course, you're more than welcome to come on here as you're learning to program and ask for help with anything you're stuck with :)


In Runtime
Well, this wouldn't really work for automatically being uploaded to your gradebook, but you could use something like Google Docs. The major downside about this is that you would need to use a few workarounds to get it to grade it automatically (if it's even possible).

Does your school have something like Moodle or Blackboard? If so, it would probably be easier to use that. If your school doesn't, you can host a Moodle install yourself (by purchasing hosting, using a free host, or running your own server).

The reason I suggest these options instead of programming your own is because you said you have no programming experience. If you know someone who knows PHP and MySQL, it probably wouldn't be too hard to program, but it would be much easier to just setup something like Moodle.


Solid State Member
There are many languages,but .NET is better than other because there are my scope in .NET language and very easy to learn it.


Site Team
Staff member
The trouble with saying that something is better because it's easy to learn is that nine times out of ten it's neither better nor easier to learn for a given application or person...

Arguably .net languages are a good starting point for a person who has never done any code work before, but if they've never done anything before and are just starting out even the simplest of useful programs are going to be years away.