I hope this is not out of line with the community here but I have no idea where to begin and I was hoping some experts could point me in the right direction.

Recently I have been tasked with the challenge of creating a web based interface for a small group of users. Basically, I have no idea where to start.

Which language would someone use if they were going to create a site like youtube or uploadingit.com? Any books or online tutorials I should take to learn how to do server side programming. Where and how do I set up these servers to accept interaction. Where are the SDKs? Would this language allow for real-time displays of information like a stock-ticker?

I think some of it is Java but I am in no way certain. I am a career commercial artist. I did some Visual Basic programming in high school but never found it very rewarding. There are just so many terms about web development flying around out there that I hope this forum could help a confused mind to sift through most of the haze. Thanks for anyone willing to take the time.