I have a small question and perhaps a suggestion. Why are you using old controllers like the 89c51? Why don't you consider new variations like the AT Mega 168? I don't know the difference in cost but a Mega 168 cost me Rs 700 in Saddar, Karachi. Secondly, you should consider a programmer like the AVR Dragon or AVR ISP. The advantage is that it will allow you to program the chip while it's in the circuit. You have just have to include a ISP header. All of these modern programmers are USB.
If you use an even more advanced controller like, say, AT Mega 1284 you can just JTAG for programming and debugging. The advantage with JTAG is that you can actually debug your code line-by-line. A huge advantage over old programmers which only offered ZIF sockets for programming and you had to physically take the chip out of the system. A very nasty way of doing things - why frustrate yourself? You will only lose interest if you keep troubleshooting and not innovating.
Thirdly, consider doing SMD stuff. Through-hole is, effectively, 80s electronics. Open up your original Playstation - even that had SMD electronics. The ATARI, however, had through-hole. SMD will allow you to have more options when choosing components, they use less space and more stable mechanically. Soldering 0.8mm TQFP chips isn't hard, it just takes some practice. It's a one-time investment but it should make your life easier.
For what it's worth: I've never programmed or even learned to program on a 8051. I started with a AT Mega 168 and a AVR ISP programmer. In m current project I'm using a Mega 128 and programming it via JTAG.
Don't consider a DIY programmer. Why? Well, if something goes wrong and IT WILL go wrong, you're only going to be wondering "well is it my programmer that's malfunctioning or the my chip in the circuit or something else?" Not what you need when you're troubleshooting a difficult problem.
I found this AVR ISP programmer for Rs. 1100. It's not an original Atmel product but worth a try:
And here's a AVR Mega 168 for Rs. 350: http://digipak.org/z...&products_id=39
Looks like those Saddar people swindled me. Oh well, I buy stuff online now anyway!