This is my first attempt at .net. I just inherited a site which is primarily .NET and the code behind is VB.NET. I picked up an older book "Muarachs's Beginning Visual Basic" and I am on chapter 2. I am confused and overwhelmed everytime I have to look and the VB code. I am not sure if I should keep going forward or quit and save the stress. I have been unemployed for 5 months so I took the first job that gave me an offer and at about 12k pay cut too. Now I am confused if my decision was right. A portion is definitely being rusty and not working for so long. My experience in development is front end, graphics, and design. I no experience in programming. In order to understand the code I picked up this book even though it is rather old. Updating the code to C# is out of my league and would not know where to begin without a good understanding of what it is now. I have been working just 2 weeks today and I do not want to waste my employers time or mine. Please advise. Thanks.
First of all, don't worry about it so much. The .NET ecosystem is very complex and I find the barrier to entry for any .NET language to be far higher than that for the likes of PHP. If you've jumped straight into a .NET role without any prior experience I'd be surprised if you didn't feel overwhelmed when dealing with a full website.
However, I'm not going to lie to you in that the task you've inherited is a massive one, and that it's going to take you at least a couple of weeks of solid reading and playing with the code to have any idea of what's going on. You'll need to pick up a basic ASP.NET book tailored to working with VB.NET. Luckily, SitePoint offers a book that is tailored towards the beginning programmer with code in both C# and VB.NET, titled Build Your Own ASP.NET 3.5 Web Site.
Your first port of call is to your employer to state that you're naturally not a programmer and that for even experienced coders it would take a while to get used to the code. Secondly, you'll have to put in the time to get yourself up to scratch with the code itself. If I were you I would take a two week period to read the book I mentioned (or similar) to acquaint yourself with the stuff you'll be using, and to then start toying with your code.
It may seem like a monstrous task, but if you've got the willpower and the interest to learn this stuff then it is possible for you to train yourself up enough to maintain it and work from there. It'll be hard work, but I'm sure you can do it.
Thank you for the encouragement, I really appreciate the kind words. I am trying to do exactly as you mentioned and tying to get used to the code. It does not help either the site code is just a huge mess with code liberally scattered. I find it a difficult task to do on top of all the other development I need to orient myself with including: mobile representations, search tools, and others. Sometimes I think this company hired the wrong guy. Nowhere on my resume to I have aspx or even hint at knowing back end programming. I can spend the next 2 or more weeks reading but it is not the only job tasked to me. I like your advise to communicate with my supervisor but at at the same time I do not want to disappoint him. He has many expectations for the website which I do not mind researching and learning but some have to communicate with the back end code. If he offers training which language should I learn for me to understand the website code. These are good people and I would feel guilty abandoning them but at the same time I do not want to put myself or my family at risk.
BTW: just ordered the book
The site is in web forms or MVc? What version of asp.net?
It is an older site so it would be web forms and the .NET version is 1.1.4322.2443
For example, I spent the past hour breaking down a page rewriting it to correct the CSS just to make changes. The code is not semantic and not compliant. I still am not done but if i have to drive into .NET then I must where a different hat. I hope I do not sound like I am whining. I just want to be truthful to myself.
Wow that's a very old version of .net. Truth be told I don't know why you want semantic code and stuff if the application works. If you wan to rewrite the html output you have to rewrite the output of the controls used or to replace them with other controls. Truth be told if it's possible, the application would benefit to be re rewritten in asp.net mvc.
If it's impossible then try to see if it work on asp.net 4 or like (you need VS 2010 I think for that), asp.net 4 makes it much easier to generate 'good' html
Yes there are portions of the applications that work but the small bugs will be more apparent to me as to their source after I get the code correct. It does not make sense to me to continue the bad code. Your assumption of updating the code is probably correct but my experience is the roadblock. I just made a small edit in the .net code a little while ago and eventually it will make sense but the unknown part is the amount of time and effort it will take. My preference is not to be a back end developer so I do not want to stray away for my professional path. Right now it is necessary for developers to know both sides but I do not want to get too deep in the back end.