I'm reaching the point in my high school class website development where scripts are going to be necessary. For example, I want to be able to generate e-mail messages from a "contact us" page defined by HTML FORM elements. Another example is yearbook photo's; I expect to put them into a database where they can be searched and where other images of the same individual over time can be stored.
Since I'm learning as I go, I need to know how to choose a scripting language. I will probably have GoDaddy host my site. From what I see reading their FAQ, I'm leaning toward PHP. Is this the right one? Why? Why not? What others should I look into? I will use online tutorials to get my start in whatever scripting language I choose.
As I understand it, setting up a hosting account is recommended BEFORE delving in scripts. I don't know why this was recommended other than the effort required to download and install PHP and MySQL on your own system. I would appreciate an explanation. Why can't I write and test PHP scripts like I do HTML and CSS code? I would prefer to defer setting up an actual hosting account until I feel more confident that I can produce a useful site.
If it helps, I think I've progressed to about the elementary level (6th grade) with HTML and CSS. By the time I'm through with this exercise, I anticipate being at the 12th grade level but doubt I'll ever perform at the bachelor's or master's level ('tho, who knows?). I was a mainframe COBOL programmer back in the '70's; so coding, testing, etc. aren't new concepts for me.
Sorry to be so long-winded but thought the background info might help focus responses.
TIA for any help!