So...when it comes to web programming I'm a bit of a N00b. I understand the basics of OOP and the very basic basics of communication via the web (using sockets/ports). I've messed with actionscript enough to know my way around a bit. I'm wondering where I should start, what language(s) would be best/fastest, etc.
I'm aware there are commercially available game servers (SmartFox Server, Electro-Server), but I'm on a shoestring budget and I think it would be a positive learning experience to try programming my own software server.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?