I have a very very limited understanding of SQL and PHP. I have a few projects I want to try and work on, which will require doing some web scraping for data collection and then storing, sorting through, and analyzing the data. I would like to also have this data available on my website so others can sort through it as well.

My question is which direction I should go to learn the skills necessary for this. I am willing to put the time and effort in, but want to make sure I am going about it the right way. My first thought was to take an online Standford Intro to Databases course, then some web scraping tutorials, and then some PHP tutorials.

I then stumbled onto the software called "Orange", which is "Open source data visualization and analysis for novice and experts. Data mining through visual programming or Python scripting. Components for machine learning. Add-ons for bioinformatics and text mining. Packed with features for data analytics."

Would it be better to scrap the SQL and PHP learning and focus on learning this "Orange" program? Or any other programs? Any help would be appreciated. I am willing to work hard at this, but do not want to spend a lot of time learning SQL and PHP if I should focus elsewhere.


I'd go the PHP route--learn some good database theory (how to set up properly normalized tables, etc.), regular expressions (which you'll probably use for extracting the data), and other things related to the process as you find you need them. You'll learn a lot more that way than by using some other piece of software. It will also have wider applicability--just think of all the use cases for PHP, SQL, and (you will soon find) regular expressions that are removed from data collection and analysis.

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